Interview with Colleen Lindsay

By Theresa Rizzo





  1. Which categories do you currently acquire?Which category is your favorite?

    Answer: Iím primarily interested in science fiction and fantasy, and all the related sub-genres of SF/F: steampunk, urban fantasy, space opera, military SF, etc. Iím also looking for edgy/offbeat literary fiction, noir, YA and YA fantasy, books of queer interest and pop culture non-fiction. My favorite are probably strong urban fantasy and fantasy, and pop culture. But Iím a sucker for good storytelling, and a unique voice in just about any kind of fiction!


  1. In terms of submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of?

Answer: Iím sick of people chasing trends. Iíd say probably 80% of the YA fantasy submissions I get are re-writes of Twilight. Twilight worked because when the manuscript was first acquired, the idea was fairly original. Iíd like to see more YA that deals with real and timely issues that affect young people today: kids who are helping with the care of an elderly adult, kids whose families are forced into homelessness, kids dealing with transgender issues, etc.


  1. Do you accept unagented and/or email queries?


Answer: I accept only email queries, actually. Letís wait to kill trees until we sell your book!


  1. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial?


Answer: With queries, I like to see the first 5-10 pages of a manuscript with a one-page synopsis. I may ask for a longer synopsis at a later time, but one page is usually good to start.



  1. What are the compelling elements that you think are necessary for a good
    read?†† What particularly grabs your attention?

    Answer: Authentic voice. Compelling storytelling ability. And, above all: mastery of craft. Most writers query before theyíre really ready. They may have a good idea for a story but they lack the ability to execute it well.


  1. Does meeting an author face-to-face at a conference make a difference in your response time, the submission process, or the rejection process (ie. Form letter vs a few sentences of advice)?


Answer: Generally if I request a partial Ė whether in person or via email - I try to give a little bit of feedback if I end up rejecting.


  1. Besides the writing, the story and the talent, what are the most important elements you look for in an author, ie. contest wins, cooperativeness, affiliations to writers organizations, knowledge of publishing industry, promotability, etc?



Answer: Iím not interested in small and/or regional contests. The fact is that most agents and editors really wonít be interested unless itís a major national contest of some sort. Larger contests, like the Rita or Golden Heart Awards, or Hugo/Nebula Award wins for short stories are things Iíd like to hear about. Major fellowships are also worth noting if youíre an MFA. I also look for people who have attended Clarion, Clarion West or Odyssey Writing Workshops. These are great workshops for aspiring genre fiction writers.


I enjoy working with authors who take their future careers serious, writers who take direction well and writers who understand that sometimes its necessary to separate the idea of ďyour artĒ from ďyour businessĒ.


  1. What do you love most about your job?


Answer: Getting to discover an amazing new writer!


  1. Do you have any pet peeves?


Answer: Writers who canít take no for an answer, who write back and want to argue, plead, cajole and beg me to look at their manuscript once Iíve already passed. The fact is that I donít get paid to read queries. No agent does. We get paid to sell manuscripts for our clients.


  1. Whatís your favorite genre/type of:
    1. Book: Hard question. I like a lot of different books; Iíve worked in the book industry for more than 24 years, and my reading interests are varied and eclectic.
    2. Food: Egyptian and Mexican
    3. Music: Indie rock, punky folk, folky punk, salsa, and lots of world music
    4. Movie: Les Enfants du Paradis, Der Himmel Łber Berlin, The Lord of the Rings (the whole trilogy!), Milk
    5. Hobby: Lately I havenít had much time for hobbies! But I confess to an unhealthy obsession with karaoke.


  1. What are you addicted to?


Answer: Good coffee (I order in Kaladi Brothers Coffee from Alaska! Yes, Iím a coffee snob!), super dark chocolate and Laphroaig single malt Scotch


  1. What have you always wanted to do?


Answer: Iíve always wanted to participate in an archaeological dig in either Egypt or Central America.


  1. Do you have a favorite quote?
  2. Answer: "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." -- Lewis Carroll