Thursday, July 31, 2014

5 Interview with Agent Naomi Davis from Inklings Literary

Hi! Lisa here to welcome Agent Naomi Davis from Inklings Literary! We have a great interview to share so let's get started.

Naomi Davis has a background in writing, editing, and customer service, has been Michelle Johnson's assistant for two years and is now taking on select projects.

When she's not entertaining her spawn, she's immersed entirely in imaginary worlds with the characters who inspire her fiction, or reading stories with characters who spring off the page, grip her by the heart (/throat), and wring her emotionally dry. She loves a good bad guy, especially when he has a story to tell, too.

She currently represents a handful of select clients and is passionate about working with authors to shape their voice and platform to their fullest potential.

In fiction, Naomi is interested in Romance of any variety including Paranormal, fresh Urban Fantasy, general Fantasy, New Adult, and light Sci-Fi, as well as upper Young Adult stories in those categories.

What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 
I'm often drawn in from the first few sentences. If the setting is somewhere I've never thought of before or the relationships are immediately presented in a way that blows my mind, I'm hooked.
What is on your wish list?  
Right now I'm actively looking for YA and NA stories that feature unique settings and a dark tone within the genres of contemporary, fantasy, horror, and science fiction. I adore stories with added elements of romance and LGBTQ themes.
What are some things you love to see in a query? 
I love to see queries that follow the submission guidelines on our website. I know the guidelines vary greatly between agencies, but when I'm sorting through 50+ queries in a day, it is far easier for me to process all the information if it's presented in an organized way. I'm more likely to get excited about a story if I'm not frustrated from wading through unrequested materials.
What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query? 
Please do not quote the last 20 rejections you've had. I realize they said complimentary things about your writing. I would like to evaluate your work for myself without my mind cluttered by all the compliments of others, especially when they were rejections, after all.
Can you define voice for us? 
Voice is one of those things that is so hard to describe because it is different for every author, but I'll do my best. Think of the way you talk: the things you say that make your friends laugh, the witty or deep observations you make in your head, the words you don't say aloud when you're emotional because they are too private, or too close to your heart. That's your voice.
Each character in your story will have his or her own unique voice, and the way you link them together through the observations they make and feelings they have about each other becomes the overall voice of the story. If they are too similar, the story reads flat. If they are too different, the story reads chaotic.
Look at the people you hang out with in real life: they have distinct similarities to you (the main character) and they have distinctly different qualities, too, which then become things you admire or dislike about that person. Striking a realistic balance of the differences and similarities between characters makes the story believable, and your readers will relate to the characters so strongly that they'll hang onto every word your characters say. They'll CARE about the characters, so they'll care about what happens to them (the plot). The sooner you can make your characters consistent within the story, the stronger your hook on your reader's souls will be.
Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices? 
All of the above.
Love it! Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 
By far emotional connection. Groundbreaking, market-smashing books were not such huge hits because they were what was "popular" at the time. They were unexpected and made the reader look at the world - or imagine a world - in a way they had never conceived of before.
Why did you become an agent? 
Frankly? As an author, I have the best agent I could ask for who supports every endeavor I undertake and encourages me to grow in all directions possible. She provides me with feedback, champions my work like it's the best thing since sliced bread, and cares about me as a writer, not as just a marketable project. Every single writer deserves an advocate with that kind of passion, and I hope I can be that advocate for the writers who snag my heart through their art.


  1. Naomi, thanks for the great definition of voice! Great interview, ladies.

  2. You're right, Julie, GREAT interview!!

  3. yes, a very clear understanding of what voice is in writing. Thank you both for this interview.

  4. I love Naomi's definition of voice. I would like to quote it on my blog (I will give her credit for it and link it to this blog.) Hope it won't be a problem quoting her. Thanks Naomi.
    I have queried one of the agents in this agency. Fingers crossed.

  5. Hi All! I'm so happy my definition hit home. :-) Funny, I don't think I'd defined it for myself until I did this interview, so thank you for asking. Rachna: I certainly don't mind. Would love to read the post.

    Thank you again AYAP for the opportunity!


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