THE CONFERENCE FACULTY SERIES – MICHELLE L. JOHNSON
NEVER GIVE UP
By Sue Cryer
(This is the week of The “Big Dream” Conference, and we are pleased to continue our introduction of some of the attending faculty.)
Most writers are also avid readers, so we know the common woeful feeling of separation at the end of a well-loved book. How about the true engagement of an unpredictable plot or the sheer feeling of intensity when a story compares to the inability to turn away from a train wreck? Michelle Johnson acknowledges the search for all of these elements during a life-long obsession with books and as a literary agent for Inklings Literary Agency, LLC.*
Michelle was also able to provide us with some additional information about herself when she responded to our list of conference generated questions.
What are you looking for in a manuscript?
Something that changes the way I think about something, teaches me something (about myself or anything else), something that makes me feel deeply, laugh loudly, cry ugly, or leaves me breathless. I want to find the book written masterfully by an author who knows all the rules so well that they know just how to break them for effect.
What’s your favorite book on writing?
Stephen King’s On Writing. Because I laughed so hard, and because it’s really a must-read.
What book do you find yourself constantly advising others to read?
Lately I’ve been recommending The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. Mostly to children’s fantasy writers.
When I was young, I actually wanted to be a _____ ?
Doctor. And Batman.
Hands down, what is the best advice you can give?
The path to publication is different for everybody. Don’t listen to those who would say that there’s only one way to do things. Find what feels right for you and pursue it with everything you have. And never give up.
What’s one of your favorite literary quotes?
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Which two books have not become a movie yet, but should be?
Three Days of Rain by Christine Hughes
Call Sign Karma by Jamie Rae
According to her website biography, Michelle looks for “Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Horror, Fantasy, and light Sci-Fi.” She has represented New York Times Bestsellers, debut authors and indie authors. Michelle “actively seeks books with diversity, and authors with diverse backgrounds. She’s a strong advocate for equality across the board.” *
The Inklings Literary Agency represents approximately sixty authors and close to one-hundred books. Although not accepting unsolicited queries at this time, complete guidelines for submissions are available at the agency’s website.
We look forward to meeting Michelle Johnson at The “Big Dream” Conference next weekend in Pawleys Island, SC. Her advice to “never give up” could be a mantra for so many, and one most writers appreciate hearing.
We anticipate an action filled weekend with a varied crowd of gifted writers and knowledgeable faculty. Please visit our website for further information on all of our faculty members and your complete conference needs.
Sue Cryer is the Blog Writer for The SCWA Board of Directors and a member of the Chapin Chapter. She is also a Freelance Writer who formerly worked as a Newspaper Correspondent and Feature Writer for news media in NY and MA.