This afternoon, we're welcoming Madeleine Milburn to Novelicious to share her manuscript wishlist. The Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency is a boutique, London-based agency, with a reputation for finding and launching new writers. Representing a wide range of fiction from literary, crime and thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, women’s, historical, new adult and young adult, to middle grade and children’s books, Madeleine’s current clients include Victoria Fox, C. L. Taylor, Anouska Knight and C. J. Daugherty. Madeleine is actively seeking new clients (including self-published authors), so get those submissions in quick!
In the genre categories, I am always on the lookout for crime & thrillers, YA, memoirs, romantic, historical, and accessible literary fiction. At the moment, I’m particularly looking for Richard and Judy style reading club books: anything with a captivating premise and a strong, unique voice. Books I’ve devoured recently include The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
I’d love to find a really powerful piece of historical fiction: something that surprises me, or challenges what I assumed to be true about the period whilst immersing me entirely in this past world. I’m fascinated by war literature, and would love to find a fresh, contemporary voice on the subject: books like The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne and Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels.
In the crime & thriller category, I’m looking for something that has an edge to it – a unique protagonist or element to the story/setting that subverts the genre and makes it really stand out. I love books by Tana French, Donna Tartt, Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Jo Nesbo and Gillian Flynn.
It’s also my small wish to find the next big horror writer. This is such a difficult area to write in – it takes a lot more to scare readers today – so, again, I’m looking for a new angle that makes the book very chilling and compelling to read. My assistant, Cara, also has a penchant for zombies: things that are as gripping as The Walking Dead, World War Z and The Passage Trilogy. She’s keen to find me a new take on the zombie apocalypse!
On the children’s front, I’m looking for high-concept, character-driven middle grade fiction. Of course, we’d all love to find the next Harry Potter, but the areas I’d particularly love to take a look at right now are: animal adventures, spies, mystery, thrillers, magic and supernatural, a love story. I love children’s stories that have crossover appeal, like War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. Stories that have heart and soul, and speak beyond the generational divide. I’d like to find a really funny children’s series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – possibly a series with a strong central female character.
Non-fiction – As well as moving narrative memoirs, I’m on the lookout for popular psychology. I’d love my very own Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus – I think we are due another extremely popular book on the difference between the sexes! I’d also love to represent something as strong as Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret.
I’m also looking to build a picture book list, and would love to find a quirky story that appeals to both children and their parents/teachers. I want to find a great, new character – perhaps a monster or an animal, with a story that manages to be brief, educational or cautionary, and utterly absorbing and humorous – all at the same time! I think The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Mr Men series are all excellent.
We read absolutely everything that comes into our submissions, but I can usually tell from the covering letter whether this is something that is going to appeal to me. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is for budding writers to clearly set out what it is they are writing about. Because, despite what I might be looking for, if something comes in that I immediately connect with, I won’t be able to stop reading!
Reckon Madeleine's the agent for you? Here's how to submit.