Monday, March 12, 2018

Secret Agent Unveiled: JOANNA MACKENZIE

Many thanks to this month's Secret Agent, Joanna MacKenzie of the Kristin Nelson Literary Agency!

Joanna's Bio:

Joanna joined Nelson Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade with a Chicago-based agency, and is currently building a list of adult and YA titles. She enjoys working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revising) and is committed to the stories her clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers the build. Joanna is looking for the epic read that, at it's center, beats with a universal heart. In particular, she’s drawn to smart, character-driven mysteries and thrillers - both, ideally, with a little edge. Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, she’s all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are – parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.

What Joanna is looking for:

On the YA side, I’m looking for strong, confident voices and characters I can’t stop thinking about. I’d love to find a Veronica Mars-ish character I could really sink my teeth into; or be swept-away into a Bone Gap world; or enthralled by characters like those in I’ll Give You The Sun. On the adult side, I’d love to find a great Tana French-esque mystery (no more girls on trains or wives between us for me) and also a book featuring Sarah Paulson’s character from Ocean’s 8, aka seemingly perfect suburban mom with a secret life, think the first season of Weeds.

Winners forthcoming!


  1. This was so much fun! Thank you for having me. There were so many wonderful entires here.

    1. Thank you for your feedback! Should we be encouraged to query you as well if you left a complementary comment in our post mentioning you'd like to keep reading, even if we weren't the actual winners? :)

  2. Thanks for participating, Joanna. I learned quite a bit and had fun doing it! Best of luck building your list.

  3. I love Bone Gap! Something a little different, something a little strange. Appreciate your feedback, thank you!

  4. Thanks Joanna! You were on my list to query...

  5. Thanks for participating! And for the feedback on my entry.

  6. Thanks for the experience and the feedback. This is the first time I've participated in this and it was interesting!