Born in Washington to an Irish family, Claire Anderson-Wheeler spent her formative years in Geneva, Brussels and Dublin, where she earned a law degree from Trinity College. In 2008, after getting her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, she dove headfirst into publishing, joining Christine Green Authors’ Agency in London. A move stateside to the “beautiful wonderland of NYC,” brought her to Anderson Literary Management, and in 2013, she joined Regal Hoffman & Associates, where, in addition to her agent role, she handles most of the agency’s foreign rights business.
“I always loved the idea of working in publishing, but as an agent there’s a special privilege in working so closely and so early on with an author,” Anderson-Wheeler says. “Your interests are closely aligned, and you become a real ally to the whole process.”
Visit Anderson-Wheeler online at rhaliterary.com or on Twitter at @claireawheeler.
“I’m actively looking to build the nonfiction side of my list, although less in the realm of memoir and more in terms of history, biography, current affairs and science.” Also open to middle-grade, young adult and adult fiction.
“A totally gripping fantasy epic—nothing dusty and old-fashioned, but something that brings incredible world-building to contemporary sensibility.”
“My current clients are a great example! Self-starters with a professional attitude who also happen to be engaging and pleasant people.”
“Read! It’s the most important thing. And don’t read only the classics. To understand the appetites of the market you’re writing for, be sure to include a steady diet of things published in the last three years.”
“Don’t be precious about your material. Don’t keep a sentence because it sounds nice. Be prepared to get rid of material, and be as ruthless as you can bear.”
“Embrace routine. Not everyone can write every day, but from my experience it seems to help a lot. The discipline of writing regularly, even if it’s just sitting down for 20 minutes and not a single word makes it onto the page, is valuable.”
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“Use neutral language. Try not to praise yourself in your pitch.”
“Don’t write your bio in third person. It’s not customary and it feels rather distancing.”
“Lead with the story (not your bio, unless it’s a memoir), and be sure we know what the story is about by the first couple paragraphs.”
“My mother, who is an amazing pioneer in her field and career person generally. She always relies on the mantra that in life we regret the things we didn’t do, not the things we did, and I’ve tried to follow her lead.”
Joanne O’Sullivan, author of Between Two Skies (Candlewick)
Jamie Raintree, author of Perfectly Undone (Graydon House)
Melissa Scholes Young, author of Flood (Center Street)
“I’m an avid tea drinker. (I could live without coffee, but not tea.)”
“I love mechanical pencils.”
“Dance floors are my happy place.”
Drink: “It may be a little ’80s, but I can never say no to a good margarita.”
Living author: “Zadie Smith makes me very happy. I also think Hilary Mantel is spookily brilliant.”
Dead author: “I’m not sure I can answer that! But Seamus Heaney is much missed.”
Poem: “I recently heard ‘From Blossoms’ by Li-Young Lee for the first time, and thought it was magical.”
Quote: “The time is always right to do what is right.” —Martin Luther King Jr.
Place: “Bethesda Terrace in Central Park [N.Y.] or Dogsbay Beach in the west of Ireland, depending on how urban/rural I am feeling!”
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