April 11, 2014

Casual Friday: Agent Interview with Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis

Happy Friday, Misfiteers!

We have a special guest at our lunch table today--Literary Agent Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis! She took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us. I'm a bit biased, but Christa's the best ;o) 

A little about her...

Christa graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. since 2009 where she is looking for picture books, middle grade and young adult projects and is currently building her list. You can find her on twitter @ChristaHeschke or visit her blog: http://christaheschke.blogspot.comHere's the link to her extensive list of what she's interested in acquiring.

Here we go!

If you were to make a soundtrack of your life with books, what ones would you choose?

I’ll start early. Before I even could read, I would look at any book and make up the story using the pictures and what I could remember from it being read to me. When I was a little older one of my first favorite books was The Teeny Tiny Woman…it was an early reader and my parents tell me that I would read it out loud over and over and quite dramatically…so it’s one of the book that made me a book worm :) After I saw The Nightmare Before Christmas I bought the book and really enjoyed it…so I suppose that one got me into the dark and strange.  The Fear Street series cemented my love for horror and The Hobbit started my love affair with fantasy.

Who is your book boyfriend?  

That’s tough…two of my favorite YA contemporary romances are Perfect Chemistry (Simone Elkeles) and The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson)…so either Alex Fuentes or Joe…they’re both quite different. Alex is kind of a reformed bad boy and Joe is sweet and cuddly :)

Who is your book bestie? 

I’m going back to The Sky is Everywhere again…Lennie is a lot like I was in high school. Katniss would be a pretty cool friend too…you know she’d have your back!

You like Game of Thrones AND The Vampire Diaries (you have great taste) what is it about those shows that appeal to you? 

I’m a big fantasy buff and it’s so much fun to escape into other worlds for awhile.  With Game of Thrones you never really know what’s going to happen or who is going to die for that matter, so it keeps me on the edge of my seat every week. I’ve come to really like or love to hate the characters on both of these shows and enjoy following them from week to week. For Vampire Diaries, I’m a big Damon fan so that’s one thing that keeps me tuning in.

Are you able to read a book without the "agent hat" on or does it creep in? 

I can turn it off when reading non-work stuff for the most part.  I’m looking for entertainment value and something to keep me turning pages. Of course, I look for that when reading for work, but I’d also be reading much more critically. What’s working? What’s not? If something doesn’t make sense when reading outside of work I’ll go back into agent mode and start thinking, how could they fix this? Could this have been done in another way?

Have you ever had a "fate" moment when you've read a query? Like your gut just said yes this is it! What was it about that moment? 

I’ve had it a few times! I’m generally not going to offer representation unless I have some sort of positive reaction to the query such as “Wow what a cool idea” or “What an interesting twist!” An engaging query leads me to read the pages quicker and if the writing is just as great it’s an awesome feeling-- I have to work with this author!

Since we're the YA Misfits, we want to know what moniker you had in high school, or which one you would have been had you been able to choose. 

I didn’t really have a moniker in high school. My graduating class got along pretty well for the most part. There were only 80 something of us and while we weren’t all best friends I tended to get along with most everyone. My high school had its cliques but they certainly weren’t like the cliques in Mean Girls. I kind of see myself as a band geek, in the best of ways, looking back at high school. I was in band and jazz so it definitely was a big part of my identity, but I really wasn’t defined by any given group. I was also pretty quiet and shy…so I don’t know. I’m having a hard time giving myself a moniker. Let’s just call me The Band Geek :)

Thank you so much for stopping by, Christa!! Misfiteers, make sure to add Christa to your query list.

Have a great weekend!



Great interview of a great agent!! ;)

Stephsco said...

I have not read The Sky is Everywhere but I still hear about it often. It must be that good.

erica m. chapman said...

It's SO good. Definitely one of my favorites!

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