Interview: Jeanne Kalogridis

Jeanne Dillard Kalogridis will be the writer-in-residence at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop. Jeanne is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including historical novels (The Inquisitor’s Wife, The Devil’s Queen, The Borgia Bride and others), dark fantasy (The Diaries of the Family Dracul trilogy), and novelizations (The Fugitive, the Star Trek movies and others). She’s also written several nonfiction titles. The New York Times called her Family Dracul trilogy “authentically arresting”; Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, called it “terrifying.” USA Today called The Scarlet Contessa “a guilty pleasure of a novel,” while Publishers Weekly called it “[a] vividly rendered historical . . . plenty of intrigue and conspiracy in the lusty plot.” Her historical novels are renowned for their detail and evocativeness; according to Publishers Weekly, “Kalogridis nails the palace intrigue and lush pageantry of the Renaissance.” She specializes in writing about remarkable women who have been ignored or maligned by history.

Born in central Florida, Jeanne earned a B.A. in Russian and an M.A. in Linguistics at the University of South Florida. Afterwards, she escaped to Washington, D.C, where she taught English to foreign students at The American University for eight years. During that time, she was fired for unionizing and used her period of unemployment to write her first novel. Happily she was rehired with full back pay before eventually retiring to write full-time.

She now lives in northern California with an enthusiastic if stinky Labrador named Django. Visit her website (jeannekalogridis.com) or blog (historyisabitch.com) or catch her on Twitter at @jkalogridis. You can also find her on Facebook.


You’ve mentioned on your blog that you miss teaching. Why? What is your favorite part of teaching?

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Podcast #37: Lori Perkins

Podcast #37 is now available for download here.

Lori Perkins was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2003, where she worked with students, critiqued manuscripts, and lectured on what agents do and how they do it. In this podcast, Lori explains why the importance of agents has increased and how agents currently fit into the publishing industry. Agents now do the job editors used to do. Most publishers no longer read the slush pile, so agents are left to do that, discover the promising new writers, and help them get their manuscripts into shape. Editors have little time to work with developing writers on manuscripts these days, since they spend most of their work day attending meetings and acquire 20-75 books a year. Editors wants agents to provide manuscripts in publishable shape and are willing to pay more money for them. Lori describes the different types of agents, the traits to look for in an agent, and the best way to get an agent. She gives advice on query letters and on where to find good information on agents. She also explains how not to approach an agent.

Lori PerkinsThe L. Perkins Agency is a New York-based literary agency with 4 staff agents and agents in 11 foreign countries, as well as Hollywood affiliates.

The agency represents approximately 150 clients in such diverse areas as romance, erotica, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mysteries and thrillers, as well as popular culture nonfiction.

Since its inception in 1999, the agency has had 8 books on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

Lori Perkins can be reached at lori@lperkinsagency.com

Lori Perkins writes a blog about agenting at agentinthemiddle.blogspot.com.


For more information about Odyssey, its graduates and instructors, please visit our website at http://www.odysseyworkshop.org.

Podcast #24: Jenny Rappaport

Podcast #24 is now available for download here.

In her guest lecture at Odyssey 2008, literary agent Jenny Rappaport provided so much useful information that we’ve chosen to make a second excerpt from her talk available as another podcast (for her first excerpt, see Podcast #23). In this podcast, Jenny explains how to write a strong query letter. Jenny first discusses what a query letter shouldn’t do and what information shouldn’t be included. You can find an example of what Jenny considers a bad query letter on her blog, here: http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2008/01/huh-or-plot-does-not-make-sense.html (you need to scroll down). Jenny explains the importance of a strong hook to open a query letter and reads examples of weak hooks and strong hooks. The query letter then needs to establish the novel’s conflict and get the reader engaged with the main character and the plot. Jenny discusses how to describe your novel–what makes a middle grade book, a young adult book, or an adult book–and whether to compare your book to other books.

Jenny Rappaport is the owner of The Rappaport Agency, LLC, a boutique literary agency specializing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance. She has previously worked at Folio Literary Management and the L. Perkins Agency. Jenny attended Carnegie Mellon University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She is a 2002 graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Her nonfiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and her microfiction in Thaumatrope. She is currently working on a novel in her free time.

Podcast #23: Jenny Rappaport

Podcast #23 is now available for download here.

February’s podcast is an excerpt from literary agent Jenny Rappaport’s lecture at Odyssey 2008. In her lecture, Jenny gave her assessment of the publishing industry and explained how an author can break into publishing, navigate the changing marketplace, and survive. In this podcast, she explains step-by-step how to get an agent: how to write a strong synopsis; the best strategy for sending queries to agents; how to get your work into the hands of as many agents at once as possible. She also discusses what to do when an agent says she wants to represent you: what to look for in a representation agreement, what fees you should agree to, and how to form a positive relationship with your agent. How important it is to get an agent? What can an agent do for you, and what can’t an agent do? Jenny describes the various publishers and imprints currently buying fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She also discusses how well the various genres are selling, the cyclical nature of genres, and how the genre of a work influences a publisher’s decision whether or not to publish that work.

Jenny Rappaport is the owner of The Rappaport Agency, LLC, a boutique literary agency specializing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance. She has previously worked at Folio Literary Management and the L. Perkins Agency. Jenny attended Carnegie Mellon University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She is a 2002 graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Her nonfiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and her microfiction in Thaumatrope. She is currently working on a novel in her free time.