We introduced Amara Hoshijo, an agent of Soho Press, with “Meet Amara” on January 31st. Amara will make a return visit to the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ on March 24, 2018, where she will be taking pitches (advanced registration is required).
GLVWG had a few questions for Amara about what she’ll be looking for, with some advice for writers.
GLVWG: How many authors do you sign in a one-year period?
Amara: A rough average for me is 6-8 titles per year for the crime list and 1-2 for the literary list. As a company, Soho takes on around 30 crime titles, 10 literary titles, and 10 YA titles annually.
GLVWG: What are you currently looking for?
Amara: The Soho Crime mandate is focused on both international and heavily regional US crime fiction. I’m looking for atmospheric, literary mysteries and thrillers with an unusual twist, whether that be in terms of plot or character.
GLVWG: What is the latest trend in teen books?
Amara: I don’t edit YA, but I occasionally discuss this with our Soho Teen editorial director, Dan Ehrenhaft. I’ve noticed that realistic, issue-focused teen fiction has made a huge comeback, from work by Jay Asher to Angie Thomas. #OwnVoices writing has also taken strong roots in the genre, although I hope that’s much more than just a trend.
GLVWG: Do you write?
Amara: It’s funny—I’m asked this almost every time I tell someone what I do. To be honest, I don’t write much. I really prefer to edit, working with an author on how to refine what’s there in order to best express their ideas. When I do write, it’s more of an exercise just for me.
GLVWG: Tell us about your life outside the office: family, activities, causes you support.
Amara: I’m very active in the Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest Asian American social justice nonprofit in the country. As Vice President of the New York chapter, my goal is to bring more young people into the organization. My family is back in Hawaii, where I was born and raised, so I go back to visit every year or two!
GLVWG: Favorite Manhattan spots?
Amara: This is a tough one, since there’s so much here! I suppose it depends on my mood. I enjoy a good burger at The Spotted Pig every now and then, and have always found it worth the wait. I also have a borderline-problematic sweet tooth. When I want dessert for breakfast, I stop at my neighborhood Doughnut Plant. For after-dinner dessert (or dessert for dinner), Chikalicious in the East Village is really special.
GLVWG: Advice to crime writers:
Amara: Don’t fall into formula! This can be so, so difficult, especially for genre buffs who worship specific crime fiction authors and schools. But it’s not about reinventing the wheel, it’s about taking that literary foundation and going a step further to differentiate your story.
GLVWG: Advice to YA writers:
Amara: Write from the heart instead of following trends. YA readers can tell when you’re faking it! Imaginative, thorough world-building is also a thread I’ve noticed in successful YA. This is such a fun, rich genre that seems to always be changing.