Name: Clare Wallace 

Agency: Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency

Genres and authors represented: I represent children’s fiction (all ages), illustrators, and a boutique list of adult fiction. 

Authors you represent and recent deals: Polly Ho-Yen (author of three contemporary MG titles with a speculative twist including Boy in the Tower, her fourth will be published by Simon & Schuster Children’s next year), A M Howell (historical mystery MG author of The Garden of Lost Secrets and The House of One Hundred Clocks, published by Usborne), Stewart Foster (author of three contemporary MG titles, all published by S&S Children’s, including The Bubble Boy, his fourth The Perfect Parent Project is coming soon), Dave Rudden (MG and YA fantasy author, including the Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy and two Dr Who anthologies), Beth Reekles (author of six contemporary romance YA titles including Netflix smash hit The Kissing Booth and Road Trip for this year’s World Book Day), Deirdre Sullivan (author of six YA titles including gothic horror Perfectly Preventable Deaths published by Hot Key Books and a dark, feminist collection of fairy-tale retellings, Tangleweed and Brine, published by Little Island Books), author, illustrator and book designer Lorna Scobie (paired with non-fiction specialist Nicola Davies for biodiversity titles The Variety of Life and The Wonder of Trees published by Hodder Children’s, as well as writing and illustrating her own picture books Collecting Cats and Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! published by Scholastic), picture book and MG illustrator Claire Powell (most recently paired with Claire Freedman for picture book Tiny Ant from S&S Children’s and David O’Connell for the MG Dundoodle mysteries series from Bloomsbury), to mention a few. 

Recent deals: I’m writing this under lockdown so all very recent deals have been closed during the pandemic. It’s an extremely challenging time for the whole industry and it’s been wonderful to close a board book illustration deal, as well as two other PB illustration deals, and place a PB rhyming text over the last few weeks, all to be announced. 

Wishlist #MSWL: I don’t always know what I’m looking for until I find it but I’m on the lookout for a YA romance about first love that feels truly authentic, YA horror, I’m always partial to gothic writing, some truly creepy MG, I love a speculative twist, or a survival story, and a bold ‘what if?’ question. Basically, I’m open to anything with a strong and unique hook accompanied by a clear, intriguing pitch. I would particularly love to see more submissions from underrepresented authors and illustrators. For picture books, given our current circumstances, I’m interested in funny and super silly as well as things that look at nature or are uplifting and hopeful. 

Working style: It does depend on each individual client and what they need, and this evolves over time, but I really enjoy being editorially involved and always want to feel we’ve really got the work as submission-ready as it can be before sharing with publishers. 

Head or heart:  With my heart first, always, and I trust my instincts, but sometimes the heart goes where the head can’t follow and, unfortunately, this means I have to let some things go that I think show real talent but that I don’t think I can place with a publisher. 

Childhood books: This is so hard to answer, impossible to choose one, and often these titles or characters are to do with where I was, who I was reading them with, how they made me feel at that particular moment in my life. There was definitely a theme of determined and rebellious bunnies as a much smaller person, Peter Rabbit, Enid Blyton’s Brer Rabbit, and then Watership Down. I read and reread both Juniper by Monica Furlong and Back Home by Michelle Magorian because I aspired to be more like Juniper and Rusty. I also remember the absolute joy of going to Smiths on a Saturday to see if there was a new Baby-Sitters Club book from Ann M. Martin – I loved those girls, Claudia and Mallory in particular.


How to submit: All our submission guidelines are on the website. 

Submission tips: Spend some time really perfecting your pitch, identifying your hook and making the most of your original premise. Opening a submission and reading a blurb, just like you would have on the back of a book you were browsing to buy, is so incredibly helpful and really helps us to identify where it would sit in the market and which editors we might want to share it with. 


Twitter: @LitAgentClare 


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, who are addicted to stories just as much as she is. Twitter: @KatakusM

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