Monday, May 07, 2007

Agents in the O.C. -- Eve

Debby Garfinkle - Laura Rennert - Jay Asher

It was Agent-Palooza in the O.C. this weekend during the Orange County/Inland Empire SCBWI Agent’s Day. We didn’t run into Mischa Barton or Peter Gallagher, but I did get to schmooze with agents Kelly Sonnack (Sandra Dijkstra Agency), Nephele Tempest (The Knight Agency), and my very own agent, Laura Rennert. Oh, yeah, and I had the great fortune of hanging out and dining with authors Debby Garfinkle (of Storky fame) and…wait for it…wait for it…

JAY ASHER!!! (of Thirteen Reasons Why fame). That’s right, Jay broke on through to the other side (literally) of the giant conference room. He sat in the front facing us with hundreds of eyeballs locked on him, hanging on his every word. I have to say, I felt like a proud parent sitting in the crowd with my video camera, wearing my “I ‘heart’ JAY ASHER” button. After getting a little choked up while telling his success story, he had the crowd in stitches one moment and gasping in suspense the next. The highlight for me was hearing the crowd’s reactions while we read from Jay’s book. Jay read Clay’s part (the main character), and I read Hannah’s part (the deceased speaking from the dead), and I’m telling you…we should take this show on the road! But seriously, no matter how bad of an acting job I did, Jay’s prose is so intriguing; it could hook the most reluctant of readers.

Other Highlights:

Laura Rennert had so much to say, I filled my notebook with her words of wisdom, even though I’ve talked to her about all this before. Amazingly, in one short hour she defined buzzwords like High Concept, boiled down the essential elements of a good book, de-mystified Voice, simplified plot and structure, and just plain inspired us all to think big and write well. If you ever get a chance to see Laura speak, Go, Go, Go!! She’s not to be missed.

It was interesting to note how different agents operate and how varied their tastes are. Kelly Sonnack leans toward literary works, Nephele Tempest is mainly interested in commercial fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal YA books, and Laura Rennert is known for representing the commercial-literary book.

The speakers (and I) capped off the day by sipping cocktails around a fire pit, laughing and chattering about everything from YA sex scenes to multicultural books to the evils of censorship. Debby Garfinkle told hysterical stories of her road to success (you must see her speak as well), Marlene Perez told hysterical stories of van collisions and critiques gone awry. I don’t know if Jay and I added anything to the hysterics, but we did tell stories of how we like to ding-dong-ditch hotel guests at the SCBWI annual conference. We regress back to Junior High when we hang around Kid-Lit authors, and we believe our antics help us tap into our inner 14-year-olds…it’s for research, man! At least, that’s what we told our agent so she didn’t think we were just immature.

- Eve


Colorado Writer said...

I get choked up thinking of Jay's struggles and success story, and I only "know" him from the Blue Board! Can't imagine being one of his BFF's.

I want to come to LA SCBWI this year, if only to meet Jay! I am not a stalker, either.

HA. Thanks again for sharing the coolest journey on the planet!

More Congrats all around!

MarPerez said...

Okay, I'll take credit for the getting lost in LA stories and the creepy critiquer stories, but the van crashing? That's ALL on Debby Garfinkle.

It was great to see you both!


Linda D. said...

Oh geez, now that sounds like so much fun. I would have loved to meet you guys and Debby.

We could meet for lunch. I don't mind the 3-4 hour flight to meet you. I've got nothing else to do.

Colorado writer may not be a stalker, but I am. teehee.

Oh, wait. I don't have a passport yet. Well, shoot. So much for that plan.

I've gotta say, the more you all talk about Jay's book, the more excited I get. I can't wait to read it!

Debby G. said...

That was a great day, and you did such a nice job of summarizing it. Look how happy we all look in the picture! I think I looked like that all weekend. I'm still smiling.

Note to self: Never disclose hotel room number to DiscoMermaids.

Rilla said...

hey don't belittle your reading ability! It made all the difference having the two voices read out that powerful chapter! It was a great day, and Jay sure had the whole room choked up with his story. Thanks for sharing.
I have posted detailed conference notes and links for anyone interested.
Hope to see your antics and hear from the discomermaids again at the summer conference in LA
Rilla, Just another unpublished writer dying to have a story to tell like Debra's or Jay's sometime in the next twelve years.

Disco Mermaids said...

Colorado are the SWEETEST thing. For those of you who have not checked out her blog, go do so now! It will motivate you to get down and dirty on your computer (to write your books, I mean). Or, it may just make you feel like a big slacker! are the funniest person ever. I aspire to be a riveting storyteller like you someday...with your nonstop energy!

Linda d...your plane ticket is on the way. We LOVE stalkers!

Debby SHOULD be happy. Great reviews for "Stuck In The Seventies" (Go read it NOW, people!!), wonderfully successful speech, upcoming speaking're my hero!

Rilla...your Agent's Day notes are fantastic. LOVE your blog, very unique. And don't worry, I have a good feeling you WILL have a story like Jay's and Debby's someday, but I predict it'll be sooner than 12 years!

Happy Writing everyone!

cynjay said...

As much as I don't like Southern CA (and I grew up in San Diego, so I'm allowed to say that) I feel like I'm missing out! So much cool stuff is going on down there and I'm sitting up here on my lonesome. SLO is close enough to get to the cool stuff, but far enough away to BE cool. Hmmm.

My agent recently asked us to come up with a vision of what success would mean. My answer was what Jay just did - sit on a panel with writers that I admire and finally feel like one of them. Enjoy the ride -it's all so very awesome. Supastar!

Steph said...

Look at you and your book! That's a real darn copy of your book right there on that table adn you Mr. Author man! Nice.

Emily Jiang said...

Eve, I wish I could have been there to hear you and Jay read! Are you going to re-enact for SCBWI LA?

Colorado Writer said...

GUESS WHAT! Hubby is sending me to the conference! I'm all booked...5 nights in LA...WHOO HOO. Look out!

Linda D. said...

I am sooooo jealous!

I'm not talking to colorado writer anymore. Can someone please keep her posts away from mine?

Colorado Writer said...

I will take copious notes and record everything. Promise. :)

Linda D. said...

well ...

I guess that's okay then.

BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME! -- sorry, I slipped.

Don Tate II said...

CAnt wait till the day I can sit in the audience and hear Jay as the big speaker. That'll be so cool.