LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Lara Perkins, Associate Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Lara represents authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She has been with Andrea Brown since 2010 and is also the agency’s Digital Manager.
In picture books, Lara is actively seeking picture book author/illustrators who bring distinct perspectives to their work, particularly if that perspective has been underrepresented in children’s literature. She is drawn to bold and colorful art, a playful use of texture and media, and kid-appealing humor or heart.
In middle grade, Lara is drawn to fresh, unexpected fantasy and light fantasy, clever mysteries, and vivid contemporary realistic fiction, all with a strong sense of place and exceptional character development. Character-driven humor always catches her eye, and she loves friendship stories (especially friendship “break up” stories), multicultural family stories, and non-traditional family structures.
In YA, Lara is seeking transformative, page-turning, character-driven fiction in any genre: fantasy, science fiction, contemporary realistic, historical, mystery, etc. She gravitates towards an unexpected premise that makes her do a double take (example: assassin nuns!), an evocative and richly described setting, and fully realized, complex characters. She’s looking for authors who wield language intentionally, and manuscripts that she can’t put down because she’s swept up in the high stakes, the compelling voice, the original world-building, and/or the character-driven humor. As a more specific wish, Lara grew up in Los Angeles and would love to find a middle grade or YA novel set in the real, diverse LA (not Hollywood).
Some of Lara’s recent picture book and novelty titles include Anne Sibley O’Brien’s Abracadabra! It’s Spring! and Hocus Pocus! It’s Fall! (Abrams Appleseed, illustrated by Susan Gal); author/illustrator Ross Burach’s Pine and Boof: The Lucky Leaf forthcoming with HarperCollins, sold in a six-figure, two-book deal) and Truck Full of Ducks (forthcoming with Scholastic Press); Tami Charles’ Freedom Soup and Panye (both forthcoming with Candlewick); Denise Vega’s If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed (forthcoming with Knopf/PRH, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora); and Shelli Johannes-Wells and Kimberly Derting’s Luna and the Scientific Method (forthcoming with Greenwillow/HarperCollins, sold in a two-book, pre-empt). Some of Lara’s recent middle grade and YA titles include Emily Martin’s The Year We Fell Apart (Simon Pulse/S&S); Anne Sibley O’Brien’s In The Shadow of the Sun (forthcoming with Arthur Levine/Scholastic); Tracy Barrett’s contemporary YA, My Freefall Summer (forthcoming with Charlesbridge); Melissa Thomson’s Tito the Bonecrusher (forthcoming with FSG/Macmillan, sold at auction); Tami Charles’s middle grade debut Like Vanessa (forthcoming with Charlesbridge, sold in a two-book deal); and Matthew Ward’s The Fantastic Family Whipple: War of the World Records (Razorbill/PRH, sold in a two-book, six-figure pre-empt).
Lara has a B.A. in English and Fine Arts from Amherst College and an M.A. in English Literature from Columbia University, where she studied Victorian British Literature. In her pre-publishing life, she trained to be an architect before deciding that books, not bricks, are her true passion. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and toddler.