Name: Thérèse Coen 
Agency: Hardman & Swainson
Genres represented: Both adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction, and then most genres on the children’s side: fantasy, humour, adventure, sci-fi, horror, contemporary. 

Authors you represent and recent deals: 
Recent deals include the hilarious Ministry of Monsters by SCBWI’s very own Justin Davies to Orchard at Hachette, and the also hilarious The Great Dodo De-Extinction by Fiona Sandiford to Usborne Publishing. A recent success was Alex Bell’s Polar Bear Explorers’ Club which was Waterstones’ book of the month back in November. I’m also about to submit a wonderful fantasy middle-grade adventure about an all-female pirate ship sailing to Morocco in search of a forgotten city hidden beneath the desert sand. 

What’s on your wishlist #MSWL? 
A hook, a plot, immersive writing and exquisite characters! I want to be drawn in straight away by beautifully constructed worlds and characters with depth. I love adventures, humour, strong feisty characters, or characters who learn and grow throughout the book. Quirky or traditional, as long as they’re original, it’s a big book-world out there and you want to proudly stand out! 

What is your working style with clients (e.g. how editorial are you)? 
I think most agents have to be hugely editorial these days. I’ve never sent out a book that I haven’t worked on editorially, though the amount of work I do differs from book to book. Sometimes a light edit is all that’s needed, but I’m always determined to polish a manuscript as much as is needed before sending it out. Even if it means taking our time, there should never be a rush to submit a book, as a scruffy manuscript will definitely be noticed (or rather, not) by editors! 

Do you choose books with head or heart?
Ooh that’s a good one, I’ve never thought of that. I think I look at submissions with my heart, and then my head has to come into it before deciding to take something on, to ensure it’s actually likely to find a good publishing home. 

Which book or character has stayed with you since childhood? 
Matilda and The Witches mainly from Roald Dahl’s collection, as well as many European favourites like Pippi Longstocking, Annie MG Schmidt’s books, and of course comics like Tintin and Asterix

Harry Potter question: Which house would the sorting hat put you in?
Gryffindor – such a teacher’s pet. 

How to submit to you: 
We’re simplifying our submission process and are asking authors to just send us their whole manuscript straight away, along with a synopsis and the usual submission email. 

Submission tips: 
A well-structured, thought-out letter which shows that you’ve researched your area and know your title inside out. It doesn’t have to be long or excessively detailed, but professional and designed to pique my interest. 

Twitter: @theresecoen 

Any upcoming events you have: Bournemouth, SCWBI 1-2-1 and Writers & Artists 

Feature photo: Thérèse Coen

Kate Walker is a feature writer for Words & Pictures. She mainly writes MG fantasy as well as dabbling in picture books whenever a character grabs her imagination. Kate lives in Kent with her two children. 
Twitter: @KatakusM 

Carry de la Harpe is a features editor for Words & Pictures. 
Twitter: @Carry_delaHarpe

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