Agent and author Kari Sutherland joins this year’s LA SCBWI Working Writer’s Retreat faculty. She was a Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books before joining the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 and she co-writes the middle grade Menagerie series with her sister, Tui Sutherland. She’s worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. Needless to say, she knows a thing or ten or about writing, editing, and publishing books, and she’s here to share some of that knowledge with us!
Sarah Parker-Lee: You graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in English and Psychology. Why do you consider this the perfect combination for working with authors on character and plot development?
Kari Sutherland: I’d say both fields help me pinpoint when a character is behaving in a way that isn’t authentic or in a way that may produce a reaction in readers that the author is not intending. Having studied the way minds work, it gives me insight into personality and character growth. With my English studies, I know how to catch and keep a reader’s attention through voice, sentence structure, and plotting. Psychology classes also prepared me to be an excellent listener and to help coax out what a person really wants to say – in this case, through their manuscripts.
SPL: Your Bradford Lit bio says you’re passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip your clients for success. What does that entail? Continue reading