Thinking in Threes: Ammi-Joan Paquette

Welcome back to “Thinking in Threes,” our interview series where we ask an agent, editor, or author three questions, and they answer each question with three answers. Today I’m thrilled to welcome my own agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette.
Joan was on my list of dream agents before I even began querying, so naturally, I sent my manuscript to her in my very first round. (Seriously!) Luckily, she saw enough promise and is just gracious and kind enough that we kept in touch, and she was willing to take another look when I got an offer of representation from another agent over a year later. Ever since (and even before) I signed with her, Joan has been the kind of advocate, advisor, and friend to me that any author would be lucky to have. She’s such a warm and wonderful person that I wouldn’t even share statistics if they weren’t so impressive: On Publisher’s Marketplace, she’s currently #2 in middle grade, #9 in picture books, and #3 in children’s overall. (!!!)
Joan is a Senior Agent with EMLA, working from her home office in Massachusetts as the “East Coast branch” of the agency. She represents all forms of children’s and young adult literature, but is most excited by a strong lyrical voice, tight plotting with surprising twists and turns, and stories told with heart and resonance that will stand the test of time. An EMLA client herself, Joan is also the author of numerous books for children, most recently Princess Juniper of the Hourglass, a fabulous middle grade novel (and the first in a series!) that School Library Journal called “a rollicking tale that will please a wide range of readers.”
And now, Joan’s three answers to each of three questions:
How does being a writer help you as an agent?
I’d have to say:
  1. Empathy, from having walked that same path and hit all those same potholes myself.
  2. A close understanding of how the process works from the inside-out.
  3. A balance of perspectives – I see the business side, but I see the creative side also, and I think this can be a huge asset.

How does being an agent help you as a writer?
It’s helped me greatly!
  1. It’s helped me to keep the big picture in mind in my writing, to look beyond my immediate setbacks or rejections or delays.
  2. There’s always something new to focus on, so it keeps me busy.
  3. And it’s helped my inspiration – there’s always a fresh and thrilling project to get behind and to get excited about!

What are your recent favorite reads? (Aside from client books, of course!)

  1. The Magician’s Land, by Lev Grossman: A stunning end to the series – I liked it even better than the earlier ones!
  2. Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay: Incredibly thought-provoking series of essays that made me reassess much of my thinking. Great stuff!
  3. Althea and Oliver, by Christina Moracho: Immersive story with deliciously rich characters – loved it.

Thank you so much, Joan, for sharing your answers and insights with us!


Elaine Vickers is the author of LIKE MAGIC (HarperCollins, 2016) and loves writing middle grade and chapter books when she’s not teaching college chemistry or hanging out with her fabulous family. She’s a member of SCBWI and represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of EMLA. You can find her at on the web, @ElaineBVickers on Twitter and Pinterest, or generally anywhere there are books and/or food for her consumption. 🙂

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