Please tell us a little about the Keane Kataria Literary Agency, how long it’s been established, and how you became involved in setting it up.Keane Kataria Literary Agency is a small, boutique agency based in Bath, specialising mainly in women’s fiction, historical fiction and crime, and was founded by myself and Kiran Kataria in 2014. We decided to pool our combined 50+ years of editorial and rights experience and set up our agency after the publisher where we both worked as commissioning editors suddenly went bust. We have a growing portfolio of authors, both debut and established, with whom we work very closely on developing their manuscripts before submitting their work to publishers. Our agency is now going from strength to strength, and we have had particular success with commercial women’s fiction, negotiating multi-book deals with UK and international publishers for our authors.
What is it you are looking for when a manuscript lands on your desk? Are there any specific plots or themes you’d like to see?
As a literary agent, I am obviously looking for manuscripts I can sell to publishers, which means I very much have the requirements of commissioning editors in mind. The most important consideration is whether I absolutely love a manuscript and really believe in it, as whenever I submit a manuscript to a publisher I am putting my own reputation on the line. So it is the combination of a strong commercial hook, quality writing and my personal response as I read that makes a manuscript stand out. Specifically, commercial women’s fiction, sagas, dual narrative, psychological thrillers and contemporary crime are what we are looking for at present.
Do you ever find authors outside the slush pile? If so, how?
The slush pile is fundamental and we do find many of our authors that way, but I have also been fortunate enough to find some fantastic authors outside the slush pile. Some through personal recommendation, others we meet at publishing events. Possibly the most unexpected was when I was put in touch with an author by a lady I got chatting to in the changing rooms at my health club. That’s what’s so great about being an agent: you never know exactly when and how the next wonderful author is going to magically appear in your life.
What advice would you give someone submitting to you?
Spend a long time editing your manuscript and be ruthless! Get feedback from other writers, or even from a professional editor. Submissions from authors who have received mentoring on the RNA New Writers’ Scheme would really stand out. Know the market you are writing for and where your book would fit into that market. Please read and follow our submission guidelines (on our website) and don’t submit genres we specifically say we do not work with.
Are you seeing any particular trends in commercial women's fiction/romance at the moment?
We’ve been seeing a shift away from billionaires and bondage, and in these troubling times readers are turning to sagas and feel-good commercial women’s fiction, with escapist, aspirational settings like tea shops in Cornwall. Seasonal books are a big trend, with the emphasis on summer and Christmas. I also think we are seeing more novels about romance in later life: we’ve recently sold one about a woman in her seventies starting over. I’ve heard this referred to as ‘Gran Lit’, but I prefer to call it ‘the Judi Dench effect’.
What’s your favourite romance novel of all time?
No marks for originality, but my favourite of all time would have to be Pride and Prejudice. I first read it in my early teens (well before the Colin Firth/wet shirt BBC adaptation), and it has been my comfort read ever since. And where would romantic fiction be without P&P? Here in Bath we have just had the annual Jane Austen festival, which attracts Austen devotees from all over the world who parade around the city in gorgeous Regency costumes. I’m planning on dressing up myself next year.
Apart from your own authors, which book have you enjoyed the most in the past twelve months, and why?
I re-read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood after the TV serialisation, and got so much more out of it than when I first read it. It seems more relevant than ever, and reminded me that women in many parts of the world are still victims of misogyny and biological determinism - and there is no guarantee that our own society will never experience a backlash against feminism and the freedoms women take for granted in a modern liberal secular democracy. One of those freedoms being reading and writing romantic fiction, of course.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy amateur dramatics, and usually perform in two or three productions a year. It’s fun, challenging and learning lines is very good for the brain. I also enjoy swimming, walking, gardening, upcycling furniture and visiting my family who are dotted around the world. Plus, I’ve recently started learning Italian.
If you could describe your working-day in just three words, what would they be?
Reading, editing, negotiating.
Thank you so much for taking the time to drop in, Sara, and for your thoughtful answers. It's been fascinating and a pleasure getting to know you.
If you've enjoyed Sara's interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We'd love to hear from you!
Helena Fairfax is a romance author and editor. Her latest release is a feel good romance called Felicity at the Cross Hotel, set in a hotel in the Lake District (the type of the escapist, aspirational setting Sara mentions!) You can find out more about Helena's books and her editing services on her website www.helenafairfax.com
If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
What a lovely straightforward interview. You asked just the right questions, Helena and Sara's answers were both interesting and informative to authors thinking of submitting their mss.
Thank you very much, Cathy. Sara was a pleasure to interview!
I'm a bit confused. Does commercial women's fiction cover romance?
Thanks for your comments. Yes, commercial women’s fiction very much includes romantic fiction, and the categories and contenders for the RoNAs demonstrate what a wide-ranging genre this is (and how hard to label). However, Category Romance would be considered a separate genre.
Dr joy is a trust worthy spell caster and he will be of great help to you. I never believed in spell casting but After 4 years of marriage my husband left me because I lost my womb, and i was unable to give birth to children. I felt like my life has come to an end, and i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally down for a very long time, but thanks to this spell caster called Dr joy whom i met online after my friend Becky Ross told me how he also helped her to bring back her husband in less than 2 days. I believed her and decided to give Dr joy a try and i contacted him on his email email@example.com. and explained my problems to him. He laughed and told me that In less than 2 days, my Husband will come back to me again, and that he will restore my womb and i will give birth to children. At first i thought it was a joke but i took courage and believed as Dr joy has said and it did happen just as this Great spell caster said, My husband called me and was crying, begging for forgiveness. I forgive him and today i am so glad that all worries and problems has gone away, and we are even happier than before, another good news is that i am pregnant now, and very soon we will have our baby. Dr joy is really a gifted and a powerful spiritual man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. I advice you all If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems just Contact Dr joy on his email on firstname.lastname@example.org. because he will always help you to solve all problems. Once again thank you Dr joy. Thank you, thank you.
you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348100452479.
DR EMU YOU ARE REALLY GREAT. I WILL KEEP COMING TO YOU WHEN EVER I NEED YOUR HELP.
WHATS APP: +2347012841542
I want to thank DR EMU for the wonderful work he done for me and my family, i was having a serious breakup with my ex but when i contacted him for help he brought him back to me with his historical powers, and also helping me to get a job, since he cast his spell for me things has really be good to me and since i know him my husband has been faithful to me, well i will say that this man is a really great spell caster that every one must contact for help, if you are facing breakup or marriage problem just contact this man for help he will help you settle everything with his power, please contact him on his email: email@example.com once you contact him all your problems will be solve.
Post a Comment