Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode 23 · 3 weeks ago

WB S1E23: Mary Kay Andrews with Pam Dorman and Stuart Krichevsky

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

WRITERS' BLOCK: Mary Kay Andrews speaks with Pam Dorman & Stuart Krichevsky about life in publishing as Agents, Editors and Publishers.

Yeah, it's always the voice. It'salways the characters. Stewart has watched me many, many, many times whenI start something and I get both incredibly excited and incrediblyanxious because at base I'm a very inquisitive person in many arenas. Andas soon as I start reading something I like and you know, sometimes it is justa few pages and I think, Oh, my God, Oh my God, I really love this. Okay, I'mshutting my door. I'm going to just read this, You know, I'll ignore emailssomehow, and then I start getting anxious because I think how am I goingto get it away from all those other editors? Sometimes you're just not theright agent or editor to bring a book into the world if you can't get there.And you know, I will tell you that any time I've taken on an author or a bookand my heart wasn't in it, but I did it because my head said to do it. It'sbeen a mistake. Something has the the adrenaline has to be there. Welcome to the friends and fictionwriter's block podcast for New York Times. Bestselling authors, One rockstar librarian and endless stories joined Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel,Kristy Woodson Harvey and Patti Callahan Henry, along with Ron Block asnovelists, We are four Long time friends with 70 books between us and Iam Ron Block. Please join us for fascinating author interviews andinsider talk about publishing and writing. If you love books and arecurious about the writing world, you are in the right place. Hi, everybody.I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and this is the friends and fiction writer's blockpodcast. Today's episode. We could call it the Living a well lit life. Ourguest today are Pam Doorman and Stewart Trochowski, who are a dynamic marriedpublishing power couple. That's hard to say. I'm going to ask them today abouttheir work roles and where they intersect, how they're very individualtaste shape, the clients they take on and the books they published andwhatever else comes to my squirrely little mind. First off, because Idecided to do this, I had to give it some thought. I'm doing thisalphabetically so as not to cause any marital strife. Pam Doorman is vicepresident and publisher of Pamela Dorman Books Viking In her more than 30years at Penguin, she has acquired and edited the multimillion copy number oneBestsellers. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Me Before You and theGiver of Stars by Joe Joe Moye. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by GailHoneyman, which was a selection of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club. An optionby Reese says Hello Sunshine for feature films. The Memory Keeper'sDaughter by Kim Edwards. Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding. The Deep Endof the Ocean by Jacqueline Bouchard, Which was the first selection of theOprah Book Club. She founded Pamela Dorman Books in 2008, where she hasfocused on fiction especially well written, accessible debut fiction. Itcould go on and on and on. Jay Ryan straddles New York Times bestsellerkitchens with a great Midwest and the logger Queen of Queen of Minnesotarecently. Richard Osmonds, The Thursday Murder Club. I'm pretty annoyed by thatone. Pam The Push by Ashley Aw Drain, which was a Good Morning America BookClub, and Ellie Brazil's Queen Sugar, which premiered on September 26th onthe Own Network, which is produced by Oprah. Pam publishes market suspensefiction There's so much more stuff that we're not even gonna go there, becausenow it's Stewart Stern. Stewart Kosowski represents a wide ranging anddistinguished list of best selling and award winning authors, but he wasoriginally a solo operation. The agency has spent it into a team of eightliterary agents with a growing reputation for urgent work. I'm goingto ask you about that, Stuart. URGENT Work All genre fiction and nonfictionbooks. The women are passed and eliminate our present showcaseexcellent meeting and reach a wide readership at home and abroad. Hisclients work regularly appears on The New York Times bestseller list, hasbeen translated into over 50 languages, has served as the basis for major awardwinning motion pictures, television series and documentaries and receivedliterary awards, including The George Polk Award, the Governor General'sLiterary Award, the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, the National Book Award, theNAACP Image Award, the Wyndham Council,...

Campbell Price and, Oh yeah, thePulitzer Prize. Oh, I forgot to tell you that Pam lives and knits in NewYork while Westchester County and she lives with Stuart Kostovski. Pam Pam isThere's so much I could say, Pam is a cynical loudy. Graduated Wesleyan, andStewart is a native New York City. A graduate of N Y. U and I together lastI heard they have two Children. Still have two Children, a dog and a dog.Cosmo the Magnificent. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I shouldadmit to you that Stuart is my literary agent of 20 years and counting. Is thatright, Stewart? It is 23 years because cam was just just newly pregnant withwith our kids. Yeah, just dating was just stating. Exactly. And so was mycareer. And they've all grown magnificently.Let's talk about the roles of publisher editor, an agent where they intersectand why our listeners should be interested. Okay, Stuart, since Pam'slengthy bio went first, you get to talk about what does an agent do or not dobecause it's so much more than just making a deal, right? Yeah. Thanks somuch, Kathy, for for having us on and and this will be great fun. You know,the question is, what doesn't agent do so many people out there think Well,you send your book in and the agent helps you sell it like It's atransactional kind of thing, but it's really a ideally a career longrelationship. And an agent tries to look at a good agent, tries to look ata writer and say, What are this writer strengths? What do they do? Well, howcan we use those strengths in a way that will create the best results, bothcreatively and in the marketplace? Um, and, uh, you know is really there for,you know, from the conception of the idea, through editorial developmentthrough every bit of the publishing process. As the authors advocatetranslator, um, guide, um uh and, um, shoulder to cry on. And even better tocelebrate with when things are good. Right? All right, Pam, talk to us.People have a broad idea. I think of what an editor does, but you're also apublisher. And I wish you would talk about both of those roles. Thanks,Cathy, because I run a small imprint with my name on it. I have I would saya little more discretion in terms of what I take on and how we publish it.Then I would just as an editor. That does not mean I get to make all thedecisions. It means I go and beg for money to my bosses to acquire books and,you know, cajole the marketing team just like anybody else. But it meansthat I have a responsibility to look at our our imprints list as a whole andsee how we're balancing it. Which books, you know, we're publishing when to makesure they don't, uh, interfere with each other to make sure we have a goodrange of, you know, commercial women's fiction and suspense and somenonfiction. So it's a It's a broader view than just I'm buying this book,and I'm going to both acquire it and edit it as I would as an editor. On theother hand, is an editor, which is still the thing you know, that I kindof loved the most. What I love is finding a new voice, getting excited,going and getting that book before anybody else does. Ideally and thenboth working on the manuscript with the author and then doing my own version ofcheerleading as we get into the publishing process, Yeah, there's somuch more to it. Here's the big question for both of you. How do youknow, how do you know what makes you think an author or a book idea or, uh,synopsis or a pitch? What is the little spiky sense that tells you this has thepotential to be a success? Stewart, Maybe you go first and talk. Maybe do alittle case study of something that you thought Okay, Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thisthis this sure, you know it is Malcolm Gladwell wrote a whole book about thiscalled Blink, and it opens with an anecdote in which the director of theMetropolitan Museum looked at a statue...

...and instantly said, It's a fake. Andthen when you said when they asked, Well, how do you know he had to stopand think? And it really turns out to be the result of kind of years ofexperience. But because we see so many works in progress and hear from so manyauthors, when something is good and speaks to you, it's a very personal andactually visceral reaction. You know, you know, the heart beats faster thatyou know your heart rises in your throat. And it's not that differentfrom that moment that every reader experiences and says, Oh, my God, Ilove this. Okay, let me stop you for a minute. Let's talk for I think a goodexample of this might be Piper Kerman. Orange is the new black, whichabsolutely hyper your client. And, of course, everybody knows the huge show.But talk a little bit about because she she hadn't been published before, right?No, she hadn't. I met Piper, threw her, threw her husband, Larry Smith, aterrific writer himself at the time of magazine editor. And he told me aboutPiper when she was just about to be released from prison and, um said, Youknow, the dirty secret is that my wife is not a writer, but she's the bestwriter in the family. And, um, it was very sweet of him to say, Larry is aterrific writer and we spoke shortly when she got out of prison and she knewthat she wanted to elevate the stories of the other people who were there.This was not going to be about her. This was going to be about the womanwho knew she had some privileges that the women she was incarcerated with didnot. And I said, Well, just write me a scene, and this scene didn't make itinto the book, but it told me that she had one in her. It was a scene of threewomen talking about their upcoming weddings, and it was all the details ofthe bride's maid and the fight with the mother in law and fight with sistersand details of how they wanted to be in the dress and all of that. And then shehad assumed out, and you realize that they were in the coffee break room inprison. So it was just like any conversation among three soon to bebrides talking about, you know, what was in their hearts and their anxietiesand their hopes in a way that was real and you knew how they were all fromvery different backgrounds. And then you realize, Oh, mhm. These are reallives of real people in circumstances that we don't always hear about. And sothat was what I knew is Then we talked more and she wrote more scenes. So wetalked more and she wrote more scenes, and eventually we figured out what thearc of the story I wanted to be and was that an easy sell when you went to sellit, it was not an easy sell. So this was long enough ago, so that it was notyet common for is not yet common for you to hear stories from lesbians. Andit was a time when publishers, you know, we're I'm sure that they could sell abook that was set in prison because they just have not been a commercialthing. And the world has really changed now, and this will get here earlier.Question about books that are urgent. Kathy Piper had a mission. She wantedto talk about who is incarcerated in this country and why. And many, manymany of the women were there because because they had a boyfriend who wasselling drugs and they'd get roped genomic conspiracy charge and sentencedbecause there were a lot of narcotics involved, not because their role wasanything significant. They might have just been cooking dinner. Well, womentalked about feeling and, you know, that was an important agenda to get out,and she was smart enough. And this is something we all worked on. We knew wehad to tell a good and entertaining story in order to get that messageacross. If she was going to get on her soapbox, it wouldn't work. So wefocused on story and character and humanity. And, you know, that was whatmade the book said Terrific and, you know, later creates so much potentialfor the show. I think that's that's such a great case study. All right, Pam,your turn. What? I mean, you have been such a taste maker and publishing, youknow, published bringing Bridget Jones diary. Yeah, to the U. S. And, ofcourse, Eleanor Oliphant. And so many more. Now Richard Osmond. What is itabout a book or an idea that grab your...

...rockets? Oh, it's always It's always the voice.It's always the characters. Um, you know, I Stewart has watched me many,many, many times when I start something and I get both incredibly excited andincredibly anxious because at base I'm a very inquisitive person in manyarenas, and as soon as I start reading something I like and, you know,sometimes it is just a few pages and I think Oh, my God. Oh, my God, I reallylove this. Okay, I'm shutting my door. I'm going to just read this. You know,I'll ignore emails somehow. And then I start getting anxious because I thinkhow am I going to get it away from all those other editors? And StewartStewart always says that's what it brings out the inner schnauzer and me.Can we talk about the meme? I don't know, Cathy. We do. We have four letterwords on this podcast. Well, you can. You can say them whether or not theymake it. No, I've said many times that the biggest books Pam has publishedhave all started with her getting that sense of just being unstoppable. I cantell you there is no peace, um, for anyone around Pam and most especiallythe agents she's dealing with until she owns that book. And I sent her once ameme that I created, which I will offer to share with friends and for fiction,followers of a very cute little schnauzer puppy. But it says, Do notfun with me, so we call it the Do Not funk with me schnauzer. And yeah, soPam, Homo is look out. Yeah, Momo is real, huge, huge. It's a drivingmotivator, but it's also that You know one thing I've had to learn and it'sstill hard for me and my boss is still remind me of this. Sometimes there arebooks that I mean when there's a book I want. I absolutely know it when there'sa book that I think is commercial could sell a lot, but somehow I'm not gettingthat gotta have it vibe. I I still have a hard time saying It's a great book.It's going to be somebody's big book, but it's not going to be my big book.Some friends once, uh, a birthday toast said one of the questions that I'mcommonly asked is, I don't really like this book. Should I buy it anyway,which is, you know, am I gonna miss out on something? So I have to tamp thatvoice down and remind myself that I really know. And what's reallyinteresting is that I work for two wonderful people Brian Tart and AndreaSchultz at at Viking Penguin. And they both know Brian particularly gets outof the way when I come at him. Um, but they say to me, I know when you reallywant something and I'm not hearing that in your voice about this book, but Ithink what it is always is it's a voice that I love. It's a character that Ifall for. Recently, I bought something that was not really voice or characterdriven, but it was this incredibly intricate and twisty plot that I hadn'treally seen before. And it tickled me the way certain kinds of movies do. AndI I thought, I really get this. This is something new. So it's all this. Whatwas it? Can you tell us? Sure. I mean, it's a ways off, but it's a first novel,the first adult novel, I should say, by an author named Ashley Elston. It'scalled First Lie Winds, and it's about a woman who works for a Mr Smith whobasically sends her on various missions under various aliases, and she alwayshas a job to do. And then this book starts and she's on a new job, and shedoesn't know that, really. The one who's being played here is her, atleast not at the beginning. So well, talk to me. Give me a case study for abook that might not have appeared obvious to someone else but was exactly theright wavelength for Pam doorman to snatch it up. Well, I'll tell you mostrecently, Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club, which has been enormouslysuccessful all over the world, particularly in England. And we It's anational New York Times bestseller here, USA Today bestseller. I read that titleand I said, I want to read this book...

And it turns out that it's about fourseptuagenarians in a very posh retirement home in England who you knowfor their spare time, solve cold cases. And then, of course, somebody dropsdead and there's a live case on the ground. And as soon as I started it, Iwas in his world. These four characters were so adorable, so funny, so smart.And as he has said in other in interviews, you just want to knowyou're in a safe pair of hands and I started to like I had two pages. I waslike, Oh my God, I love this and I knew that I bought this before the pandemic,but I knew that people were going to want to be comforted by a book likethis. And boy, was the timing great. So We've now published the Thursday murderClub and the second one, the man who died twice. And I mean, I just want tobe I just want to live at Cooper's Chase with those four and see what'sgonna happen next. Kathy, the that world reminds me a little bit of theworld of your old Callahan mysteries. Um, you know how you just want to bewith these people. They are, you know, easy to underestimate. But, boy, dothey have it all over everybody around them. So it really is grateful. That'sgreat to hear. Um, are you ever wrong? Both of you, Peter, on a book that youcan't do you a case study my wife. I wonder if there's, uh, an author or abook that just it didn't strike you. And then when you look back and go,what was I thinking? Why did I pass on that? There are so many. I once workedwith a very successful editor who had his own imprint, Richard Marik, manyyears ago, and he told me that you weren't a successful editor until youpassed on the best seller. His was a classic Jonathan Livingston seagulljust date myself. You know, he thought it was a piece of dreck and he said nothanks and then sold millions of copies. I'm not telling you the biggest bookthat I have passed on, but there have been many recently, Um, and it's very,very hard to deal with. I'll tell you mine. I'll tell you mine, um, and andand will stand by my statement that I wasn't wrong mind was mutant messagedown under, and I didn't. It's a story anymore. I'm sure it's still out there.And it was the first person book by a woman who went to Australia andAmerican woman who went to Australia and was kidnapped by Aboriginals or gotlost and was taken in by Aboriginals And, you know, kind of went native andhad this spiritual experience. And I thought it was absolute buck. I didn'tbelieve a word of it, um, and flash forward three years, and I was readingmy New Morning New York Times for the physical paper back then and read thatHarperCollins had acquired it for a million dollars and my head hit thebreakfast table with and a few months, and it hit the nonfiction bestsellerlist, and several months later it turned out that it actually was bunk.Um and so it moved on over to the fiction bestseller list. And there yougo. But you know what? I don't regret having passed on that book. Sure, itmade a ton of money If it wasn't for me, sometimes you're just not the rightagent or editor to bring a book into the world if you can't get there. And,um, you know, I will tell you that any time I've taken on an author or a bookand my heart wasn't in it, but I did it because my head said to do it. It'sbeen it's been a mistake. It really something has to. The adrenaline has tobe there. And that's not something that you're I mean. I think it's somethingthat you acquire over years of experience. I mean, you start with someinstincts, right? Or you wouldn't be in the business or you wouldn't be verylong. Yeah, let's talk about how your tastes have changed over decades in thebusiness. Um, and I know that from personal experience. Stewart, when Ifirst came to you, you were you repped quite a few mystery authors, and that'schanged. I think I'm am I still Am I the lone holdout? I I probably probablyare probably are. So talk about talk about how your tastes have changed overthe business and also because you're...

...running a business. How you extractcontracted and expanded over the years. Yeah, thank you. Tastes do change. And,you know, I think you and I got together in the late nineties whenmysteries have been booming, um, for several years and, you know,particularly cozies and particularly, um, you know, books from women. MysteryRaiders were really, um, you know, vibrant back then in the days of SaraParetsky and Sue Grafton and, um, you know, and and Martin Miller and so manyother terrific writers who I love. And, you know, I think actually, what mayhave happened for me is less a matter of taste changing, but the but themarket shifting. And, you know, suddenly it wasn't as easy to sellmysteries, and at the same time, some of my you know, best nonfiction bookscame around and took off the perfect storm in 1997, um, in the heart of thesea in 2000, you know, And so and so I think my attention shifted in thatdirection a little bit. And you know, you and I, of course, um, you know,moved you from from Kathie Hogan Trocheck writing mystery novels to MaryKay Andrews writing women's fiction. And, um, you know, we shared that storywith friends in fiction before, but you had bigger ambitions and writing acertain kind of book, and you asked what you needed to do. And, um, youknow, and I said, Well, you know, you write such terrific character drivenbooks, they don't have to be mysteries. You can work on a larger canvas. And wecreated Mary Kay Andrews. And, you know, she has risen to become the Queen Queenthe queen. So so tastes do change. And in the last five years, we've expandedthe agency, and I wanted to have people who have tastes and interests that aredifferent from mine because mine is not the last word by any means or the onlyword by any means. And, um, you know, we all keep each other interested. So,um, you know So Melissa Natcho is doing some terrific commercial fiction bookby Amanda Giambattista called My Sweet Girl that came out recently where youknow, Melissa had a really intense editorial relationship, you know, inworking on that and has just sold a book by a wonderful writer named GabinoIglesias, who is kind of horror adjacent but is just such a terrificpatron ng story. And he's writing about, you know, it's sort of supernatural, Um,Story called The Devil takes You Home that's set at the Mexican border withsome real horrors that are present at the border, but also some horrors fromthe imagined world that he's created so again that is, you know about bringingdiversity to the to the office. My colleague Ross Harris, who came up withme, has a novel out now from Astra House, um, called God of Mercy by aKenyan writer named Ocasion Mocha. You know, which is a terrific, uh, you know,sort of almost mythological world that's been compared to one of thefirst three years. Called it a new, uh, you know, which is terrific. So it's,um, you know, we're at a moment when there are all sorts of different voicesthat people want to hear from. And my colleagues have been pretty amazing inbringing that in. Pam, let's talk about, you know, your reputation for a whilewas for upmarket literary fiction and commercial also. I mean, Bridget Jonesdiary was nothing if not commercial, and you still do that. But I'mfascinated with your recent acquisition. So would you talk a little bit aboutyour personal taste? Well, you know, I'm not sure my taste has changed atbase all that much. I, um let me just think for a second. I think that Istill really gravitate towards books that I think largely women are going torelate to. They're not all super commercial. I mean, cmon kid is prettydifferent from Helen. Fielding is pretty different from Richard Osmond.Very different from Gail Honeymoon with Eleanor Oliphant. But I think right nowwhat I have sensed in the market and in myself is a desire for books that insome ways are uplifting. I mean, I'm a...

...sentimentalist at heart, and people, Ithink, sort of think of Eleanor Oliphant is an uplifting book, althoughit's quite bar. Yeah, that was exactly the book that came to my mind when youmentioned that word, because I you know, when friends in fiction we have thisenormous Facebook Following of over 52,000 people. And it's interesting howoften Eleanor oliphant comes up and people talk about. I couldn't get intoit. And I keep saying, Just keep reading. Just Eleanor is amazing. So Ilove the idea that that's the kind of thing that appeals to you. But whatelse? Well, I think on the heels of that, and it's interesting. I mean,Eleanor is a very quirky character, and that's what I liked about her. But Ipublished, uh, last year 2020 Clara Pulleys debut novel, The AuthenticityProject, which is about a an aging artist, kind of an eccentric who writesin a little green notebook and says, Basically, I'm lonely and leaves thenotebook in a cafe where upon somebody else picks it up, and soon they go fromhaving a little green notebook full of people writing about themselves to anactual group of people in a cafe who becomes a new community. And I thinkthat sense of of people, uh, touching each other, especially during thepandemic, you know, It's something that I've gravitated to. I think it'scommercially kind of right with the zeitgeist, and I find myself lookingfor books like that. I got a completely different note. I bought two books thatI think you'll see are, um, they're united by character, but totallydifferent in form. Um, I have a debut novel called Yenckel. Where Is yourHusband by, uh, British Nigerian author Lizzie Damilola Blackburn coming outnext year? And it's It's as if it was a British Nigerian woman living in aJewish American daughter's life, surrounded by all these aunties and amother, and all they want to know is, when are you getting married? And youthink is a totally independent woman and you know she's going to find theright person. But within her culture, this is the operative question, and itis completely delightful. So I fell for it because I felt for Yinka, and I knewthat that kind of world is a very familiar one, whether you're Nigerianor American or something else. Um, on the other end of the spectrum, you know,I don't really I published suspense fiction, and I have certainly publishedlots of mysteries over over the years. But now I really mostly published. Hespends novels. Well, I fell for a jar, a quote unquote genre novel in thegenre I don't even read, and it's called A Lady's Guide to FortuneHunting by Sophie Irwin, and the setup is a Regency setup. It's about a womanwith no money who must find a husband, and it is completely delicious. And Ifell for it, really knowing almost nothing about the genre. So you know,once again I felt for a woman character I fell for, you know, a setup. And Ithink it's going to be absolutely wonderful for anybody who likeshistorical fiction. So But you also now you do. Sherry. Is it Latina? Latina?Latina? Okay, tell me, what about her? Because those are Those are some prettythrillers thrillers, right? Oh, yeah, I mean, in fact, it's interesting. Sharryinterviewed Richard Osmond yesterday, and they were talking about thedifferences in their book, and and she said, I love all your characters,Richard and he said, I know and we want to murder all of yours. Her books arereally dark, um, domestic suspense novels, but about situations you couldcompletely imagine yourselves in the first one. The couple next door isabout a couple whose baby disappears and, um, you know, that's like theprimal fear of every parent. Um, I fell for Sharis books because I can stillremember myself walking on the Metro North train platform from the train carup the stairs. And I was reading the manuscript on my Kindle as I went. Icouldn't stop reading it. I mean, she's so good at plotting and pacing, and sothere's this whole different thing going on there, Um, but that's what Iloved about it. But the common DNA strand would be character and voice.Well, not in that book. I think what...

Shari really has is the ability to setup a classic suspense situation and then just keep you really glued to yourseat. We we coined the term once it read when we published the couple nextdoor, and that has been true of all of her books. Yeah, that's something toaspire to, isn't it? You know Well, okay, let's talk about longstandingpublishing relationships, and I guess marital relationships too, So oursmight have almost ended when you know one of the first big options I had whenPam was the under bidder. And, you know, it didn't get the book and burst intotears. And my boss was may have been one of the most generous things he everdid for me. He said, why don't you take him to dinner tonight and and and andsend me the bill? Uh, and we did so without that, it wouldn't have happened.But, you know, Pam and I do different kinds of books, and, you know, uh, wedon't do business together directly because I believe firmly in an author'sGod given right to complain about their editor. Um, and, you know, it would beuncharitable of me to join in if an author were to complain about him. Youknow, I can't say she said that. Tell me about it. Yeah, right. I also, uh,you know, over the years, have I hope, gains the wisdom you know, not to tryto negotiate with, you know, with it within a marriage. Um, and, you know,instead of you know, we'll have it Another 200,000. It might come out like,you know, don't talk to me the way you talk to your mother. So yeah, we we wejust just don't go there. We we support each other from the sidelines. We helpeach other solve problems. We talked through all sorts of things and we havea whole lot of fun. I should say that I should admit that I've told Stuart onmore than one occasion. If he gets hit by a bus and he's no longer my agent,can Pam published me? Yes, Absolutely. Love. No, I mean, I love my publisher,Jenn Jennifer Enderlin. I love and adore Pam. Probably. I don't think mybooks would be Pam's taste anyway, but that's just sort of the jokey thing.And the other jokey thing. I always tell there's another agent friend thatI've always told Stuart, if you get hit by a bus, I'm going out. I'll becalling. Generally, we have many reasons to be staying away from Busses.All right, Pam, let's hear your side of this discussion about the longstandingrelationship and also not just about your relationships, your personalrelationships, but how an editor and an agent over the long haul helped shapeand grow an author's work. An audience Because Pam, both of you have had longterm relationships with some some others, right? Sure. Well, and and andin fact, stew. I thought you were going to talk about your relationship withMary Kay. I'd love to talk about my relationship with Mary Kay and hereditor. Um, and you know, we always have three way conversations about, youknow, about the manuscript when they come in about the idea when it starts,you know, there's a terrific collaborative process in there and, youknow, ideally, an author, an agent and the next ER are always having a threeway conversation about every aspect of it. Yeah, you know what? What? Somewriters who are not published yet might not understand is that your agent iskind of your buffer so that I don't have to. I don't have to put my editorin a bad place. Our relationship is about the book, the work. It is aboutthe career, too. But it's not about what you didn't do this or you gavesomebody else that that I I wanted. It's always about the project and thebook, and it's not about those discussions. Stewart and my editor have.I'll have. He gets to be the bad hat all the time. I get to be the bad hat.But I also do not antagonize editors. There is a It's a collaboration we areworking to, you know, to raise the queen to ever higher platforms. And,you know, when there is something that needs to be handled differently, we tryto, you know, I try to have a constructive conversation. You knowthat conversation when it begins. When your parent says to you I'm not mad,I'm just very disappointed. That's the kind of Yeah, exactly. We love thoseconversations. We love the conversations that make the editor say,your agent is so nice. He made me do this. He was right. I'm not telling youwhat happens on the other side of the...

...phone or the death. We look at theresults campus. Yeah, give us the editors side of that equation ofworking. I'm really interested in. Maybe it's because I have had a longhaul relationship with two editors and with two agents and that have beenvaried to me, successful in fulfilling in different ways. So I'm interested inhearing about how how you feel about a long term relationship with an authorand how you can help grow and and increase the work and the audience well,I think I'm just thinking about various people with whom I've had longrelationships. I mean, right now I think the person who comes to mind isJojo Moyes and I published a book of Joe Joe's that was not her first. Itwas about her eighth called The Last Letter From Your Lover, which wasrecently made into a Netflix movie. It was not a breakout book for her in theU. K. And her agent happened to give it to me when I was on a buying trip inEngland, but I fell in love with it, and after that, Joe Joe knew that shewanted to write something different. She was tired of being a mid listauthor, and she had an idea that was really not typical and very atypical ofher. And fortunately, her new English publisher, who are my colleagues, saidto her, This is great. You should do it, and I have to admit that when I heardshe was writing about a quadriplegic and the person who took care of him. Myheart slightly sank. And then I started reading me before you, which up untilthe giver of stars has was her biggest book today. And it sort of didn'tmatter. Like anything you thought about a book that was going to be commercialfell away when you read that book, and she has one of the most wonderfulagents I know. Besides my husband, Sheila Crowley, a Curtis Brown, Sheilais the ultimate cheerleader and support for Jo Jo. She is wonderful about thebooks, but what she's really wonderful about is being a partner with thepublisher and taking care of her author. And we have a wonderful collaboration,I think, because ultimately we both want to make sure that Jo Jo's careeris growing, that she's well taken care of, that we support her. And, um, inthat case, her role is not primarily editorial. They're actually three of uswho edit Jo Jo, uh, UK editor and her German editor in me. And, um, in thatcase, Sheila is not so much part of the editorial conversation, but she's allabout the publishing conversation, and I rely on her so much for somebody likeJoe Joe who's now so big and doing so many things. Um, you know, as a team, Ihope we work together to help, you know, maximize her career. I'm interested inI'm just stopped for a minute. About three different editors editing amanuscript, which makes me want to go to hell. Mexico. Want to go hide underthe bed? You know, it's so interesting. I I publish a lot of books by Englishauthors and happily, many, Many of them have been very successful here over theyears. Recent years, Um, and as a result, I worked very closely with, um,a lot of them. And right now, actually, I'm working, uh, with an Americanauthor, a colleague of mine named Jenny Jackson, whose book, Pineapple Street.I bought, um, my colleague in the U. K. And my Canadian colleague. All three ofus edited the book, and I have to say we sent her a 19 page editorial letterand she did not fall over and die. Um, so I give him great credit. She thankyou. Now it was I think what's interesting is I learn a lot from myother colleagues. And if the author can if we can present a I sort of unitedfront, the order can pick and choose suggestions. It works very well. Yeah,I I have to say, there's, um, one of the terrific things about you know,having you know, my agent colleagues is that there's just no question that weare smarter together. Um and I mean, we had a lengthy conversation or staffmeeting on Monday about, you know, a novelist at a crossroads and how tonavigate that whole situation, and it was really, really productive to have,you know, sort of other brains and other people's experiences to draw on.But what I what I was thinking a minute ago, as you were talking about that Pamand Cathy, It reminds me of something...

...that I like to say to to aspiringauthors out there who are looking for an agent and who are so eager to quoteunquote get an agent that I think one of the remind everyone that you knowwhen you hear about how intimate these collaborations can be over a longperiod of time, to really trust your heart. And if an agent offers therepresentation, spend some time with that person. Get to know them. Say, doI like them? Do I trust them? Am I happy putting my career in their hands?Do they get me? Do they get my book? Do they know how to do this? Thatchemistry is just so, so, so important. And, you know, I always like to saythat, you know, don't focus on getting an agent, focus on choosing an agent.And, you know, if you have someone say, they'd like to work with you, you know,you know, please say, Hey, can we get on the phone? Can we zoom If you know,if you were able to get to New York or to where to where they live? Say, can Icome sit down with you? I'm talking to other agents to I'd just like to hear,just like to talk more about. You know, what I hope to accomplish with mycareer? Might go what we should do with this book, all of those things. Andjust make sure you really feel that they are. You know, they had that sensein their gut that they want to commit to you into your career. You know, itwhen it's there and you know it when it's not there. Yeah, and I think 11thing as an author. If I were advising somebody getting started in thebusiness, I would say, Ask the agent about their long term authorrelationships. I know, Stuart, you've had. So I mean Sebastian Younger you'vehad for so many years and Nathaniel Philbrick and myself for 20 three yearsand counting counting. Unless you fire me. No way. Let's move on to the lastquestion. And it's the most important one to anybody writing who's listening,which is What are you looking for? Yeah, let's start with you. What are youlooking for? I hate this question. Okay, Stuart, you answer it. I hate thequestion, too. And you know, what I'm really looking for is good writers. Andit is about voice and character and point of view and sensibility andseeing something new. Um, and that is a hard way to guide. Um, you know, toguide, you know, any given any given Writer. Um you know, I don't say sendme this. I have never chased trends. I think trends are beginning to be overby the time you recognize them. I've been proud to, you know, work withauthors who have started trends of their own. And that's because the bookis so generous and the writer is exceptional. And and when the starsalign and we all do our jobs well, you know, the audience recognizes that So,you know, sends me your best work. Send me something fresh with character andvoice. And if I don't like it, I might have a colleague who does. And we gofrom there. Pam, do you want to throw any thoughts in there? Well, I thinkjust along the lines that we've been discussing, which is my taste isrelatively consistent. I mean, I always like books that have strong,interesting women in them. I want a voice that the minute I read it on thepage, I can hear it again in my in my head, and I want to listen to it somemore. I want books that the other thing that is really, really still true forme is that I want books that are going to be great book club books. I I mean,that's become a kind of cliche, but I mean the Jackie Machar's book The DeepEnd of the Ocean was the first Oprah Book Club pick, and I bought books thatpeople want to discuss. I mean, Ashley Adrian's book, The push that Ipublished earlier this year. People finish that book and they can't wait totalk to other people about it. So I want books like that, and then I wantthe pleasure books. Then I want the Thursday murder clubs where you justsay, I mean, I'm reading a submission right now that I started reading it onSunday afternoon. I wasn't feeling that well, and I just sat there and readthrough it because it was fun. Um, and I'm still a sucker for those. Yeah, and,you know, you know, we have to say that, you know, we've been so happy to seethat the Santa suit was New York Times bestseller. And, um, you know, again wetalked about books about urgent books.

Right now, there is an urgent need forthat kind of escape and and feel good, inspiring story. And, you know, and boyis the audience recognizing that that's true. Good to hear Pam, are you goingto buy that book that you just talked about. I don't know. I'm talking to theauthor later today. I hope she likes me. How could she not? How could she know?We are going to leave on that note. But again, we were chatting today withStuart Kosowski of the Stuart Trochowski Literary agency and Pamdoorman, who has her own imprint at Viking. And we can't wait to see whatwhat books will have coming from both of you. Thanks. Thanks so much so much.This was fun. Remember, you can always find all the books by every friends andfiction writer's block podcast guest past and present in the friends andfiction bookshop dot org shop. All sales place there helped to fundfriends in fiction, and a portion of each and every sale goes straight intothe pockets of indie booksellers nationwide. Since its inception,bookshop dot org has raised More than 16 million for indie bookstores, shops,small shop, local from the convenience of your screen with bookshop dot organd tell them friends and fiction sent you. Thank you for tuning in to theFriends and Fiction writer's block podcast. Please be sure to subscriberate and review on your favorite podcast platform. Tune in every Fridayfor another episode, and you can also join us every week on Facebook orYouTube, where our live friends And Fiction Show Airs at seven p. M.Eastern. Standard time. We're so glad you're here.

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