A Cafe Chat with Agent Heather Flaherty, by Lindsay Bandy

Pocono is a mere month away! Though the deadline for paid manuscript critiques has passed, there are still spots available for the retreat, the Critique-A-Thon, and First Pages/First Looks! So, if you haven’t registered yet, go ahead.

IDA Design

IDA Design

And now, we welcome one of our fine Pocono faculty, the intriguing Heather Flaherty from the Bent Agency!


Lindsay: Hi there, Heather, and welcome to the Eastern Penn Points Cafe! As we settle into our comfy booth, what will you have to drink?

Heather: Milkshake, Milkshake, Milkshake!  Chocolate.

Lindsay: And a little snack, perhaps? (Or, hey, why not a big one?)

Heather: Milkshake?

Lindsay: Oh, waiter! Bring four milkshakes for our guest, and make it snappy!

So, Heather, I know you’ve had quite the varied, globe-trotting career, from writing plays in NYC to working in publishing houses in the UK. What’s the most exciting place you’ve lived?

Heather: Hmmmm… good question! I’ve never actually ranked the places in that way… they all had their own different excitements, ya know? Weirdly enough, living in a tiny coastal Irish village can be as exciting as the time I spent in LA.  If I had to pick one, though, I’d pick Galway, Ireland – because I was so young at the time when I lived there, and I was dating my boy, and feeling like I was experiencing a different culture for truly the first time ever, and I was writing and reading and had zero responsibilities which made me able to do more writing and reading. I think one’s frame of mind can make the most exciting place boring, or the most quietest place, lively!


Lindsay: Zero responsibility and plenty of time to write, read, and go on dates sounds pretty perfect to me!

 Speaking of reading, what was the last book you read that made you….

Laugh out loud?

One of my client’s books actually – more to come, dun dun dun!


Positive by Paige Rawl


Stay up waaay too late?

All books ever.


13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher



The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma


Lindsay: How important is it to you that authors have an established social media platform at the time of submission?

Heather: I’m not a stickler for an established platform, but I do feel strongly about jumping into it when you get an agent. Even if it’s new to you. Especially in YA.

Lindsay: What is one way that currently unpublished authors can work toward a stronger platform?

Heather: twitter, twitter, twitter. Read what you write, and watch what relates (tv and movies). Have an opinion, but not a mean one. And talk about the trends, the loves, the current crazes, etc… Engage.

Lindsay: You would jump up from your desk and do a tap-dance routine if you came across a manuscript that combined….

Heather: Unicorns and the Afterlife. No seriously, I would be pysched to see a dark, twisted fairytale-horror story – think American McGhee’s Alice Madness Returns as a novel.


Lindsay: What’s one thing that irks you in a query?

Heather: Talking more about yourself than the book.

Lindsay: You are about to become the first literary agent on the moon! Congratulations! As you pack for your voyage, you haven’t much room, what with your spacesuit and all. What one book might you pack to pass the light years?


Heather: Nice! Go me! Jayne Eyre. Watership Down. All fairytales ever.  (Hey, I didn’t get to be the first lit agent on the moon because I followed the rules! I’m bringing more than one!)

 Lindsay: Well, I guess you can’t exactly weigh down the spaceship in zero gravity, so okay. What one non-literary item would find its way into your bag?

Heather: Pooga.

Lindsay: If you could jump into any book and live there indefinitely, what would you choose?

Heather: BEST QUESTION EVER!!!  Trumps all the times I’ve said that before!  Right now, Eragon.  (I want to have some sort of “can-change-my-answer-whenever-I want-rule” for that one though!)

Lindsay: Would you change your own ending?

Heather: Indefinitely…  no ending for me! (Actually, if Roran never married whatserface, I’d have him fall in love with a badass, dragon-riding me. With a sword.)

Lindsay: Nice. While we’re on the badass topic, I know you’re open to darker, edgier YA and NA submissions. For writers working on projects like this, what is one piece of advice you have to keep things “edgy” without “going over the edge?”

Heather: Don’t stop. Go over it. I’ll pull you back, worst case.

Lindsay: And now, for rapid-fire favorites! Name your favorite…..

Midnight snack


Type of shoe


Vacation activity




Book on the craft of writing

Great book… best there is. It’s called: READ EVERYTHING.  (seriously… the best thing you can do for your writing, is to read the best books out there that are akin to what you WANT to write).

Lindsay: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Heather! We’ll all be busy reading (and writing) EVERYTHING we possibly can until we next meet in the Poconos!

Heather: CANNOT WAIT! We’re gonna have some fun, and get some solid work done.  😉

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