Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Literary Gala, Southern-style

The next stop on our summer road trip was Madison, Georgia, where my literary agency was celebrating its 10th anniversary. The Knight Agency was founded by agent and author Deidre Knight in 1996 and through its cluster of 100-plus fiction and non-fiction authors has launched more than 600 books. The party was attended by two bus loads of authors--mostly women. My husby joined a few other husbands in the shadows to crow or commiserate the life of an author's spouse.

Deidre held the party at the offices of The Knight Agency in Madison in order to give her authors a look at the offices where the business of selling books takes place. The offices reside in an old craftsman cottage on a shady street in Madison, billed as the "town Sherman refused to burn" during his punishing push through Dixie. We were led through the offices and to the backyard where a party pavilion was set and lined with twinkle lights. Everyone had their fingers crossed during the drive into Madison, praying the rain that wet the highway on the way to the party wouldn't flood the gala in the town Sherman so admired.

Under the pavilion we found everything you'd expect at a Southern party, and more. Intelligent and witty conversation bubbled like the peach mimosas; a classical guitarist filled the air with a melodious sound-drop, and the food was right from a Southern Living cookbook. Most decadent was a sweets station where pecans and sugar were cooked onsite to praline perfection. There was as much buzz about the pralines as there was about books.

My agent, Nephele Tempest, paused with me for a photo before we entered the party. Nephele opened the Knight Agency's West Coast offices just over a year ago and has already gathered an impressive group of authors and has made several sales. She reigned queen of her cluster at the party, introducing me to my sister authors and sharing insights into what's coming up.

Later in the evening my husband and I joined Kristin Nelson, president of Nelson Literary Agency, at a table with a lovely couple who live next door to Deidre. I asked which of the two was the romance author, and got a good laugh. Turned out neither of them are authors, but both are avid readers.


Helen Wang said...


I want to come back to read more about your blog and your book. In the meantime, I wonder if you know any literary agent in San Francisco Bay Area who is specialing in nonfiction. I am writing a book with my newly-found talent! I would really appreciate if you could let me know.

Ovation Leader said...

Congratulations on finding your voice in the literary world. I do know of several agents based in and around the Bay Area, but I don't recommend you focus your agent search solely on location. You'll need to look for an agent who handles your particular type of non-fiction and he/she could represent you well from anywhere in the country. (This is more true with technology today than ever before.)

I'd love to hear more about your book. Is it memoir, business, technical? Do tell!