Like our workshop, these faculty interviews focus on youth novels. To read all years’ faculty interviews, see our Directory.
PART 1A writer’s dream agent may be harder to come by than a popsicle in the desert. But if you’ve crafted a novel with vibrant characters and an irresistible voice, then your agent search may endand your writing career spring forwardwhen you meet Andrea Cascardi.
We are pleased to include Andrea on our faculty at the 2007 Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop. Not only is she actively seeking clients, she’s also warm and personable, and an experienced instructor. Andrea has taught in Master’s Degree programs at Pace University (Children’s Book Publishing) and at Vermont College’s renowned program in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults.
Andrea brings an invaluable skill to her work as agent: editing. She enjoys being “involved editorially” with her clients’ manuscripts, and is clearly qualified to do so.
Following 20 years as an editor and publisher of children’s and young adult books with Scholastic, Knopf, Crown/Random House, Hyperion and Houghton Mifflin, Andrea joined the USA office of Transatlantic Literary Agency, Inc. (founded 1993). The company represents 200 worldwide authors and illustrators. Andrea has edited award-winning authors and celebrities including Raffi, Julia Alvarez, Barbara Shoup and Karen Hesse. She has also published two books for parents.
Below, Andrea chats with The Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop.
I. GETTING ACQUAINTED
Which genres are you actively seeking to represent?
Middle grade and young adult fiction that have a strong sense of character. I don’t generally represent younger fiction, or fantasy.
How many middle grade and young adult novelists do you currently represent? Are you willing to sign up new authors?
I have 30 clients; 18 write middle grade and young adult. Eight of my clients had never been published before I signed them up. Several have now been published. Only three are still unpublished.
I’ll be glad to sign up more unpublished authors if I love their work. But many people come to me who already have a contract in hand. I don’t take them on if I don’t feel passionate about their work. It’s very subjective!
What background/interests do you bring to agenting, and how do they inform your work?
As a former editor, I can’t help but be involved editorially with my clients. I let prospective clients know upfront that this is something I enjoy. So, if they are only looking for an agent who will market their work without giving editorial comments, I’m the wrong agent for them.
That said, each manuscript and client are different. I don’t always give the same level of editorial inputit really depends on the needs of the manuscript.
What are some distinctive youth novels you’ve represented in the past few years? What aspect(s) grabbed you from the query and/or first lines?
I can’t say that one novel appeals to me more than anotherthey’re all my loves or I wouldn’t represent them! But I will say that a character has to grab me from the start and feel real and yet compelling in order for me to read past the first few pages. I am especially interested in fiction that has a distinct voice.
I love characters who really jump off the page, and I especially love characters whose voices range within a novel. For example, in Crackback by John Coy one of Andrea’s award-winning authors, Miles deals with some very serious issues, such as steroid use and a family secret. But Miles himself is not always serious. He gets involved with some pranks during football and has a dry sense of humor that often comes out at the most serious moments (to his detriment with his new football coach).