In the Mind of Sarah Younger – 30 Years of Happily Ever Afters

Since we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary, this year we’re looking to do things a little different leading up to the conference. We’ve invited our workshop presenters and speakers in to give us a bit of insight in their minds, and to, of course, learn about them!

For the first week, I wanted to introduce Sarah E. Younger, who is a literary agent with Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She’ll be presenting a fabulous workshop at our conference in October.  For more information about when registration opens and how you can get information on all our speakers, please go to www.njromancewriters.org.

Please welcome Sarah!

Why did you decide to become an agent?

I didn’t really decide to become an agent, it just sort of happened. I my path to publishing and agenting is one of those stories that is best told in person because of all the interesting twists and turns, but in brief. I had just started working at a textbook publisher in NYC, in marketing, and was fast learning that it wasn’t the type of publishing job I was meant for when my current boss (Nancy Yost) reached out to me. Another industry professional had sent her my resume and cover letter when they heard that she was going to be looking for a new assistant and after reading she contacted me and wanted to know if I was available for an interview. I said yes, and then immediately googled her and found that she represented authors that I had been reading for years. I went for the interview, and I have to say that I was very professional right up until the last five minutes, and that’s when I finally allowed my fangirl to surface. I might had said something along the lines of “Ms. Yost, even if I don’t get this job, I just have to say I am a huge fan of your list, I have been reading your authors for years and I even had to rebuy some titles so that I’d have them on my kindle.” Then she asked to see my kindle…I blushed and handed it over. And the rest is history; I joined NYLA less than a week later.

Why did you decide to become a romance agent?

I want, and do, represent romance because it’s what I love to read. I also love to read YA and some women’s fiction, so I rep that as well. However, I am a huge/superfan of the romance genre and industry. So, it’s makes up the majority of my list. Also, regardless of where I am, what I’m doing, what show I’m watching, or who I’m with I always try to find the happily ever after—much to my friends, roommates, and brother’s annoyance. They regularly hear phrases like “well Captain America would be my favorite superhero, but they killed off his girlfriend in the first movie, so Thor wins.”

How does your family feel about your career as a romance agent?

My family is great, some times they don’t really understand what “agenting” is, but they are super supportive in that they buy my authors books. So, I call that a win.

If you could choose anyone, past or present for a mentor, who would you choose?

I was super blessed to receive a travel scholarship in college that allowed me to design my own three-month trip through Europe. Of course I designed a “Literary and Dramaturgical Tour” that had me visiting the homes and cities where my favorite authors and playwrights lived and worked. I tell you this because interestingly enough the woman who provided the endowment, was Frances L. Phillips. Ms. Phillips did a number of wonderful things throughout her lifetime, she also just so happened to serve as the editor in chief of William Morrow and Company (now an imprint of HarperCollins) from 1931-1957. So, if I could have any mentor besides my current boss, I would love to go back in time to be mentored by Ms. Phillips.

Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

I have a kindle, iPad, and an iPhone. And I read on all three.

If you could have one special, supernatural power, what would it be?

That’s a tough one, but I’m going to go with teleportation. So I could work in the city, but live closer to my family. And then travel whenever and wherever I wanted to. J

What makes a man/hero attractive to you?

Selflessness, the desire to protect his heroine regardless of repercussions is extremely attractive. And then from there I can get extremely shallow…but I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?

The most interesting thing about me, or that I’ve ever done, is probably my traveling. From Alaska to Monaco to the Isle of Skye I can say that I’ve been blessed to see more of the world and am a better person for it.

Tell us a little about the state/country you live in.

I live in New York City, not sure if you’ve heard of it, but it’s a pretty cool place.

How would you describe yourself in five words?

Loyal, Hardworking, Logical, Blushes-Easily, Ready-to-Laugh (The dashes make those one word, right?) (Lol, right!)

What’s your favorite place in the world to visit?

Scotland. Hands down, I loved visiting Scotland and would go back to visit in a heartbeat. Ironically, I have no Scottish romances. Huh?

Where do you read?

I read in bed most of the time, but other than that I read everywhere, subway, buses, cars, trains, planes, on the couch, in the house you name it I’ve probably read there. I have even read on horseback.

How long have you been reading romance?

Probably longer than I should have, but I’m not complaining. I remember discovering Ella Enchanted in the 3rd grade, and while that is a YA book it does have kissing and a happily ever after. From there I just didn’t stop reading, and by 6th/7th grade I remember putting in a standing pre-order at my local Walden’s Books for Stephanie Laurens’ Bastion Club series. (My mom had to approve, but I don’t think she knew exactly what I was reading.)

What comes first—characters or the plot?

Characters come first for me. I have to love them before I care about what they are doing.

Who’s your favorite hero?

I have too many favorite heroes to list. But to name a few…of course all of my author’s heroes, I mean seriously they are all #1 in my book. And now for a few others you all might recognize: Devil, Curran, Mr. Reid, Vlad, Mr. Impossible (lol), All of Robyn Carr’s Military Heroes, Mitch Lawson, Levi, several Chase’s, and …I’ll stop here. (I truly love so many, I can’t pick just one!!)

Who’s on your auto-buy list for authors?

All of my authors. (Yes, I do buy their books, just one copy though. ;-) Then I have to say Stephanie Laurens, Robyn Carr, Kristen Ashley, Rainbow Rowell, Ilona Andrews, Shannon Stacey, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Rachel Gibson, Sarah MacLean, Jeaniene Frost, Suzanne Enoch, Loretta Chase, Julie James…and so many others!

What’s your biggest dream?

I should probably list something professional here, but in truth my biggest dream is to find my own happily ever after. I keep telling my authors “if they write him he will come” so every time they introduce me to a new hero I get all excited. ;-)

Cat or dog person?

I love both cats and dogs, but I’m a horse person. I grew up on a horse farm and I’ve had some of the most meaningful relationships with my equine companions.

Okay, Sarah, get ready. We’re going to do fast-track-trivia (I picked the dash habit up from you!). Rules are you have to choose the first answer that comes to mind. Don’t second guess it!

Favorite color: Blue tied between Carolina Blue and Navy Blue. (Used to be emerald green, and before that amethyst purple.)

Favorite number: 7

Favorite Actor: Thor –I mean Chris Hemsworth

Favorite Actress: Julia Roberts (she’s a classic)

Wine or liquor? Wine

Tea or coffee? Tea (though I also like lattés)

Decaf or caffeinated? Decaf, but not by choice.

Boxers or briefs? Boxer-briefs

Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla though I do love chocolate.

Donald Duck or Goofy? Neither. Mickey, but Goofy in a pinch.

Frozen (the movie) or Tangled? Frozen.

Channing Tatum or Johnny Depp? Channing Tatum.

Want to meet, pitch to, or attend Sarah’s workshop? Make sure to register come June 1st!

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Monthly Meeting – November 16, 2013

Why Don’t They Get Together On Page Three:  The Barrier in Your WIP

The Woodbridge Hilton, 120 Wood Ave. S., Iselin, NJ 08830

Why can’t two likeable, attractive, good-hearted people resolve to address their issues like mature human beings? If they did, your book would be over on page three.   Creating a believable barrier is one of a romance novelist’s greatest challenges, and there are few guiding principles that work in every book.  Therefore, in this workshop, participants will spend most of the day working in small groups, discussing and trying to improve their own work-in-progress.

The presenter is Kathleen Gilles Seidel.  Kathy is the author of 14 contemporary romances which have been published by Harlequin, Pocket, Avon, and St. Martin’s.  Her books have won every major romance market award including two RITAs.  She has a Ph.D. in the theory of the novel from Johns Hopkins and was chairman of the Washington Romance Writers for two years.

2013 Golden Leaf Winners

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New Jersey Romance Writers is proud to announce the winners in our 2013 Golden Leaf contest!

* Denotes NJRW member

Novella
Bite Me by PJ Schnyder

Best First Book
For the Love of a Soldier by Victoria Morgan

Romantic Suspense
Double Danger by Dee Davis *
This is Dee’s 3rd win in this category; next year she’ll be inducted into the NJRW Hall of Fame.

Historical
Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie

Contemporary Series
Secrets of a Shy Socialite by Wendy S. Marcus

Contemporary Single Title
Last Chance Book Club by Hope Ramsay *
This is Hope’s 2nd win in this category.

Paranormal
Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
This is Maria’s 3rd win in this category; next year she’ll be inducted into the NJRW Hall of Fame.

Romantic Elements
The Good Daughter by Jane Porter *

Young Adult
Compliance by Maureen McGowan

Congratulations to all our winners!

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Young Adult: Lea Nolan

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is less than a week away! To help share our excitement, we’ve been shining the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists each day until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference held October 18-19, 2013.

Spotlight on Young Adult: “Conjure,” by Lea Nolan (Entangled Publishing)

Conjure (frontcover-800x1200) 800K FINAL FINAL

His lips curl into a hopeful half-grin. “Yeah. You were at your dad’s, wearing that funky skirt of yours, and your hair was pulled up in a ponytail. I couldn’t believe how pretty you were.”

Holy. Sticklewort. Cooper Beaumont likes me.

I gulp, processing the words I’ve longed to hear for more than a year. This is way better than my fantasies. “Um, really?” My voice trembles with awe, and my hands quake. All other thoughts flee my brain. The only thing I focus on is what’s happening here, in this moment, now.

He inches closer, his lips hovering near my mouth. “Was I wrong? Did I misread you, Emmaline?”

“N-n-no,” I finally manage, then gush, “Gosh, no.” My lids shut, and my mouth parts slightly, yearning for him. A moment later, his velvety lips are on mine, soft and gentle. He’s smooth and so very kissable. Every inch of my skin sizzles.

Good luck to Lea and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Young Adult: Maureen McGowan

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is less than a week away! To help share our excitement, we’ve been shining the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists each day until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference held October 18-19, 2013.

Spotlight on Young Adult: “Compliance,” by Maureen McGowan (Amazon Publishing)

Compliance cover

“You want proof we’re a couple? Fine.” Cal tilts my head back and kisses me full on the mouth.

I tense, but I need Stacy to believe Cal so I relax, soften my body, my mouth.

Cal deepens his kiss and the pressure of his lips, the warmth of his hands, the tension and heat of his body reawaken something inside me and ignite what I used to feel, what I’ve felt for Cal since I was eleven and he was thirteen.

Cal is one of the best people I know—strong, generous and loyal—and at this moment I could fall back in love. Maybe I already have. Fatigue can’t fully explain my wobbly legs, the stirring inside me, the heat. Without his hands for support I feel certain I’d melt on the floor.

“Okay, okay.” Stacy’s voice cracks. “I get it. You can stop.”

Good luck to Maureen and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Young Adult: Marissa Doyle

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is less than a week away! To help share our excitement, we’ve been shining the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists each day until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference held October 18-19, 2013.

Spotlight on Young Adult: “Courtship and Curses,” by Marissa Doyle (Square Fish)

Courtship and Curses--Doyle

Mr. Underwood was still trying to regain his feet. “You…you bitch!” he spat, staring up at Sophie.

Sophie ignored him. “Are you all right?” she said to Parthenope, touching her arm.

“No!” Parthenope squeaked. “This was my favorite busk! It was carved ivory with my initials–” She stopped and looked at Mr. Underwood. “What did you just say?”

He’d finally managed to stand up and stood glaring at them. “You heard me!”

“Nobody speaks to my friend that way, Mr. Underwood, and I suggest you stop or I shall make you.” Parthenope put up her fists and set her feet. “I am told I have a quite punishing left jab for a female.”

“Parthenope! You can’t mean you know how to box!” Sophie wasn’t sure whether to be scandalized or amused.

“Of course I do.” Parthenope continued to watch him with narrowed eyes.

Mr. Underwood ‘s left eye was twitching oddly. “You crippled freak! Think you can outsmart me, you miserable–”

Parthenope sighed, shifted her stance slightly, and punched him.

He tottered back a pace, swearing again and feeling his nose. A shocking splatter of blood crimsoned his snowy neckcloth.

“Dear me, I’m so sorry,” Parthenope said pleasantly. “Did I say it was my left jab that was so noteworthy? I meant to say my right. Silly of me.”

Good luck to Marissa and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Romantic Elements: Jane Porter

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is less than a month away! To help share our excitement, we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists each day until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference held October 18-19, 2013.

Spotlight on Romantic Elements: “The Good Daughter,” by Jane Porter (Berkley)

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“You took a picture of me,” he said, looking into her eyes, his voice nearly as deep as the engine’s growl.

She opened her mouth and then shut it.

“Why?” he demanded.

“I liked your bike.  Thought it’d make an interesting picture.”

His dark eyes narrowed and his head tilted, glossy black hair sliding over prominent cheekbones.  “You a cop?”

“No.”

“What do you do then?”

“I’m a teacher.”

“And what do you teach?”

“High school English.”

“Then why are you taking pictures?”

“It’s a hobby.  Gives me something to do when I’m not grading papers.”

“How do I know you’re really a teacher?”

“Why would I lie?”

“People do all the time.”

“Well, not me.  I’m a Catholic School teacher,” she said.  “I have to be moral.  It’s my job.”

“You took a vow of morality to teach English?”

“No.  But what kind of example would I set if I went through life lying, stealing and cheating?”

“I didn’t know women like you still existed.”

“The world is full of good women.”

“I haven’t met any.”

“Then you’re hanging around with the wrong crowd.”

“You don’t like me.”

“I don’t know you.”

“But you’re still forming opinions.  Making judgments.  You know you are.”

Good luck to Jane and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)