Darley Anderson Interview
Posted on 03 March 2009. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to Madeleine Buston of literary agency Darley Anderson
Tell us all about your list, ethos, etc
I head up the Rights Department at the Darley Anderson Agency, selling US and foreign rights. I also agent new writers I truly believe in, focusing on women’s and general fiction. Last year I sold WriteWords member Cally Taylor’s HAUNTING FOR BEGINNERS to Orion in a two book deal. They will publish this October.
Tell us all about your own background- how you got where you are
I started out in a small publishing company in Germany and then joined A P Watt Literary, TV & Film Agency where I worked in Rights. I moved to the Darley Anderson Agency as Rights Manager and was promoted to Head of Rights a year later.
What excites you about a piece of writing-
I love all types of fiction but especially escapist, feel-good women’s fiction that makes me laugh and cry all in one read.
and what makes your heart sink?
When something starts so well and then sinks in the middle!
Specific do’s and don’ts for wannabe writers
Character, plot and pace are the three most important things we look for. They all have to be strong.
DO work on the characters. In women’s fiction character is the most important thing. They have to be authentic real people who the reader can care about and identify with.
DO create a mini drama every five pages! (Ken Follett sticks by this and he’s a bestseller)
DO keep chapters short and have hooks at the end of each one so that the reader finds it impossible to put down.
DO edit. Make sure every word is 100% needed. Any excess words will slow down the pace. Work on dialogue, keeping descriptive passages fairly short.
DO read as many bestselling books in your genre. It is very important to consider why certain authors / books are successful.
DON’T let your story sound like an account – use scenes and dialogue to illustrate character growth and events
DON’T give up!
Who are your favourite writers and why?
My taste varies considerably. My favourite escapist fiction writers include Sophie Kinsella, Maggie O’Farrell, Cecelia Ahern and Marian Keyes. I love accessible literary book too, for instance FUGITIVE PIECES by Anne Michaels.
I have also always loved all books by John Fowles, Milan Kundera, Ian McEwan, Jenny Diski Hanif Kureishi and Roald Dahl.
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