Photo by Lauren Zurchin
Founder & Agent
Azantian Literary Agency
Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult
⫸ Explorations of love, friendship, or familial bonds against fantastic backdrops
⫸ Obscure retold fairy tales
⫸ Women and girls in STEM
⫸ Quirky middle grade
⫸ Modernized mythologies (Mythology)
⫸ Psychological horror / thrillers with speculative elements
⫸ Literary and / or near-future science fiction
⫸ Historical fantasy
⫸ Magical realism
⫸ Internally consistent (preferably non-Medieval European) epic fantasy
⫸ (Young Reader, Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult)
⫸ I'm looking for emotionally complex projects from contemporary to fantasy and everything in-between, with a particular soft spot for inter-generational stories, immigrant stories, and magical realism.
⫸ Creepy or spooky stories that are still age-appropriate like CORALINE.
⫸ Stories that don't forget how hard it was to be young but told with a whimsy that undercuts those hard times like in a lot of Roald Dahl's work.
⫸ Stories that dig into the deeper questions like A WRINKLE IN TIME and THE GIVER.
⫸ Lyrical stories like THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON.
⫸ And well-written adventures like GREGOR THE OVERLANDER and HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE.
⫸ Great Voice: Though I'm predominantly interested in stories with a speculative element, a recent master-class in incredible voice that is worth mentioning is THE HATE U GIVE. Another book that reminded me of being a teen and also touched on difficult topics, though I wish it went even further, was TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN.
⫸ In SFF, I like well-crafted worlds like in STEELHEART and GRACELING, fresh takes on well-trodden tropes like in THE FIFTH WAVE and LEGEND, and beautiful, heartbreaking stories like THE BOOK THIEF. Young adult is also a prime place to explore those very real, yet heightened teen emotions. I think it may be my favorite age group for a psychological thriller with speculative elements or a good group mystery where something very weird is going on and the setting is viscerally engaging with the characters.
⫸ I'd love to find a transportive fantasy with an incredible sense of place that pulls me in from the first page like A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC or THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS.
⫸ YA crossover and found family like in RED RISING. Beautiful, literary writing (always) like in NEVERWHERE, OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, and THE NIGHT CIRCUS.
⫸ If you can make me connect in a long-form story the way Ken Liu did in The Paper Menagerie (and pretty much his entire short-story collection), you'll have me.
⫸ And, of course, sprawling, well-thought-out epics like THE WAY OF SHADOWS and THE NAME OF THE WIND. I like dark epics, but they don't have to be dark for me to enjoy them.
⫸ In Science Fiction and psychological horror (no straight horror please, my imagination is scary enough), I'm looking for grounded stories that look at the "what ifs" within our minds, our social circles, our cultures, and our world. Some of my favorite novels are ones that make a seemingly small change and follow that to their unavoidable ends or show me a future that feels so surreal, yet so inevitable.
⫸ Ella Enchanted
⫸ A Wrinkle in Time
⫸ Howl's Moving Castle
⫸ The Hate U Give
⫸ The Book Thief
⫸ A Darker Shade of Magic
⫸ The Fifth Season
⫸ Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
⫸ The Prince and the Dressmaker
⫸ The Tea Dragon Society (so many!)