Adult Fiction / Historical Fiction / Literary Fiction / Middle Grade / Romance / Thriller / Women's Fiction / Young Adult

Whitley Abell, Inklings Literary Agency

I am building my list of YA, MG, and Adult fiction.

Regardless of market or genre, I’m looking for books with a great hook or a fascinating world, a strong but *real* protagonist, a story I can sink my teeth into, and, most importantly, a voice I would follow to the end of the world and back. Strong female voices are near and dear to my heart, and I am particularly drawn to retellings (especially classic movies, little-known fairy tales, and classic ballet——think Giselle, The Firebird, etc), and characters who are genuinely flawed but (usually) well-meaning.

On the adult side, I am primarily interested in Women’s fiction:

– Contemporary; upmarket and literary alike… books, with standout plots and complex characters, that are beautiful and scary, heartbreaking and heartwarming. I want the Beth Latimers, Leslie Knopes, Liz Lemons, Nina Sayers (Black Swan), Sarah Mannings, and Carrie Mathisons of the women’s fiction realm.

– Commercial chick-lit that make me laugh and swoon while being fully invested in the trials and growth of the protagonist, a la Sophie Kinsella and Rainbow Rowell

– I’m also always on the lookout for historical. I still find myself left spinning by Hannah Kent and Kate Morton, and would love to find a book similar to BLETCHLEY CIRCLE.

In YA and MG, I’m open to pretty much everything. I tend to gravitate towards upper MG, but am open to all. I’d be excited to see:

– Historical. I’m always craving a new perspective or a fresh facet in history, whether realistic, horrifically gothic, veiled in magical realism.
[Note: I get my love of history from my grandpa and my constant diet of classic literature growing up, so you can always grab my attention with the Regency and Victorian eras and the 1910s-50s, and I’m an absolute sucker for the 1940s. I’m not particularly interested in medieval times, which is what I see in my inbox mostly, and I don’t really lump RECENT history (re: 1990s / 2000s) in my historical cravings.]

– A great psychological thriller. Bring on the unreliable narrator, the mystery, the horror! I’d especially love to see a fresh twist on Coppélia or Henry James’ A TURN OF A SCREW, but that’s getting really specific.

In contemporary YA/MG, I’d love to see:

– A thrilling, geeky adventure, preferably with an awesome female protagonist with a great voice. Heists, PIs, and clumsy spies would be in welcome company.

– A realistic novel with a hilarious heroine that’s not just poking fun of herself or mocking others, a sweet romance, and story with the depth and poignancy I’ve come to crave in contemporary fiction. I have soft spot for trips abroad, artifacts from the past, mischief and boy humor, goofy guys, awkward ducks, April Ludgates, and devout fan girls of the world.

Novels I wish I represented include:

– WF: Landline, Where’d You Go Bernadette, The Forgotten Garden, Burial Rites, The Girl on the Train, Twenties Girl, The Royal We, Me Before You, Maybe in Another Life

– YA: And We Stay, Anna and the French Kiss, Tiger Lily, Heist Society, All the Truth That’s in Me, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Diviners, Fangirl, Paper Towns, Everything That Makes You

– MG: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, How to Train Your Dragon, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Fade Out, Liar and Spy, Princess Academy

More than anything, though, I want to be surprised and delighted to fall in love.


Any submission rules we should know about?: no attachments, please
Submission email: query at

See all of Whitley’s #MSWL tweets

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