Sunday, January 10, 2010

Meet agent Eddie Schneider

A little more than what you’ll find in his bio at the Write Stuff conference website.

 What follows is Eddie’s biographical essay, as found at the JABberwocky Literary Agency site. Used with permission.

Eddie Schneider is a recent arrival at JABberwocky, and is actively building his client list (see "What I'm Looking For," below).

Schneider is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he counted Yiyun Li, G.C. Waldrep, and Alan Drew among his many writing mentors. He is also a graduate of New York University, and holds an M.S. in Publishing.

Prior to his joining JABberwocky Literary Agency, Schneider worked for Folio Literary Management, where he assisted on a wide variety of different projects, including those by best-selling authors Garth Stein, Will Lavender, Robert Hicks, and Phillip K. Dick Award winner Chris Moriarty.

He has also been, at various points in his life, a magazine editor, computer salesman, short-order cook, freelance graphic designer and archery instructor.

Eddie writes:

What I'm looking for in fiction
I am primarily looking for literary fiction, science fiction, and fantasy for adults, young adults, and middle-grade readers. I will also consider adventure, horror, parody/satire, and graphic novels, the last of these by author-illustrators only. Aspiring graphic novelists should include a standard query letter and one printed or photocopied page of artwork. (Mysteries are best directed to Joshua.)

More on what I like in my favorite genres follows.

Literary fiction: I'm looking for literary novels with both great writing and a strong narrative arc. Ideally, I'd like something that can both push boundaries and keep readers along for the ride. An example of a (non-client) novel I enjoyed that meets these criteria is Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveler.

Fantasy: I'm looking for literary fantasy with one foot in the real world and one foot in the fantastic. I go for character-driven novels with intricate, imaginative settings that are internally consistent and have verisimilitude. An example of a (non-client) novel I enjoyed that meets these criteria is Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

Other subgenres and special areas of fantasy that are of interest to me include: magical realism (e.g. Isabel Allende's The House Of The Spirits), steampunk, and urban fantasy. (High fantasy is best directed to Joshua.)

Science fiction: I'm looking for thoughtful science fiction with evocative writing, in which character and narrative have pride of place. An example of a (non-client) novel I enjoyed that meets these criteria is Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand Of Darkness.

Other subgenres and special areas of science fiction that are of interest to me include: dystopian novels, of which I am often fond (e.g. Octavia Butler's The Parable Of The Sower), some space opera, and novels involving near-future space exploration and first contact (e.g. Robert Charles Wilson's Spin). (Hard SF and military SF are best directed to Joshua.)

What I'm looking for in nonfiction
The nonfiction genres I'm primarily interested in are, very broadly, science, history, and narrative nonfiction, for adult trade.

More on what I like within these genres follows:

Science: I have wide-ranging interests here that include the physical, earth, life, medical, and social sciences. At present, I have a particular interest in neuroscience. Science books most likely to appeal to me tend to deal with specific topics, and sometimes unlikely ones. An example of a (non-client) book in this vein that I enjoyed is Daniel J. Levitin's This Is Your Brain On Music.

History: I am interested in histories that focus on a single subject, though they may deal with that subject's impact on its time or place. I particularly enjoy historical biographies, including those where the biography's subject is an artifact or commodity. An example of a (non-client) book in this vein that I enjoyed is Jack Weatherford's Genghis Khan And The Making Of The Modern World.

Narrative nonfiction: Here, I'm interested in memoirs that take on issues that extend beyond those in the author's own life (one non-client example I enjoyed being Rory Stewart's The Places In Between), travel narratives that are socially engaged and possess an individual stamp (one non-client example I enjoyed being Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods),  and in 'nonfiction novels' (one non-client example I was disturbed by being Dave Eggers' Zeitoun).

A maddeningly non-alphabetical list of favorite, mostly contemporary authors (who aren't clients):
Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. Le Guin, David Maine, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, Miranda July, Susanna Clarke, Dave Eggers, Isabel Allende, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jonah Lehrer, Junot Diaz, Olivia Judson, Mario Vargas Llosa, Neil Gaiman.

Favorite film: The Seven Samurai

Favorite video game based off of a licensed property: Knights of the Old Republic

Favorite video game with highly flawed gameplay: Arcanum

Favorite genre of music: Garage rock

Favorite breed of dog: Swedish Vallhund

Conference chair’s note: Anyone else curious about the way the name “JABberwocky” is represented? The first three letters are the initials of its founder, Joshua A. Bilmes. For a list of publication news and achievements, visit the agency’s home page.

Tomorrow: Info on our fifth and final agent!

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