Thinking in Threes: Tricia Lawrence

It’s time for another round of Thinking in Threes, where we an agent, editor, or author three questions and they answer each with three(ish) answers. Today’s guest: the fabulous Tricia Lawrence of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. We were able to snag this whip-smart agent for the Writing for Charity conference this year, so in advance of that event, Tricia agreed to answer a few questions for us. I met Tricia several years ago and she’s felt like a friend since that very first meeting–so kind and funny and warm.

Tricia is the “Pacific Northwest branch” of EMLA—born and raised in Oregon, and now lives in Seattle. After 20 years of working as a developmental and production-based editor (from kids books to college textbooks, but mostly college textbooks), she joined the EMLA team in March 2011 as a social media strategist.

Tricia represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong worldbuilding, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won’t let go.
Tricia loves hiking, camping out in the woods, and collecting rocks. She loves BBC America and anything British. She has way too many books and not enough bookshelves.
Without further ado, here’s the interview, including a bonus question and answer!
TTOF: What are the differences between “Similar to another project – I want!” and “Too close – I can’t”?
It’s usually “Too close – I can’t.” But if I’m on the fence about someone’s work (usually the author newly submitting), I’ll have a discussion with them and ask questions about the direction the work is going. That’s often where most situations either are found to not be an issue or we realize it is an issue. But most of the time, I just have that sense that the work seems really familiar and especially when thinking about editors I would send it to, if I’m already sending and submitting something, I just can’t take on another.
TTOF: What forthcoming or recently released projects are you excited about?
I have two amazing MG novels coming in fall 2016 and I’m so excited about both. The first is Heather Bouwman’s A CRACK IN THE SEA, from Putnam, and it’s a multi-protagonist historical fiction tale that examines the circumstances around finding new homes in this world . . . or in another world. It’s sort of a new mythology for immigrants who set sail in perilous seas. The second is Elly Swartz’s FINDING PERFECT, from FSG, a contemporary about a young girl who is trying to gain some semblance of order on her life that has gone upside down. Both are beautifully written, and I’m so excited for them to be published.
TTOF: What’s on your wish list right now?
I’m really hungry for novels, novels, novels. I want something I have not seen before, something historical and rich or fantasy and world-building. Give me a dose of magical realism and I’m usually hooked. Picture books are tough for me now because I have such amazing folks on my list and so I have to be very careful, but I’d love to find something dark (huge fan of Jon Klassen’s I WANT MY HAT BACK) and I’m a big fan of beautiful prose picture book texts. I rep some good rhymers, though, too, so surprise me!
TTOF: What do you enjoy when not reading slush or pitching books to editors?
I’m always reading something (ha, so what’s new?) and my newest thing is running with my dog, Rue, a Husky shepherd (she LOVES it!). On weekends I’m at the beach near my house with hubby and both dogs and I’m picking up rocks and shells. I am also addicted to THE WALKING DEAD series still. This has been a multi-year obsession and it just won’t quit!

TTOF: Thanks so much for your time and for these thoughtful answers, Trish!

Interview by Elaine Vickers