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This month, Agent Kristin talks publishing-house mergers, Angie offers part two of “The Making of Meaningful Backstory,” and Brittney Morris tells us how she keeps supernatural characters relatable.

April 2021

In This Issue Kristin Chats Publishing |  NLA in the News |  Writers in the Know |  Angie Chats Story Craft |  From the Blog  |  Kristin's Book Club  |  New Releases


Kristin Chats Publishing

Publishing House Mergers: A Non-Love Story

Kristin Nelson

By 2022, we are looking at having only four big publishing houses: Penguin Random House, Hachette, Macmillan, and Harpercollins (plus a smattering of some mid-size but growing independents). And that’s it. This contraction significantly impacts writers and established authors. Here’s why.

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NLA in the News

In an exclusive submission, two book deal, Berkley’s Cindy Hwang acquired rights to The Beach Trap by Alison Hammer and Bradeigh Godfrey writing as Ali Brady. 


“Emotional and gripping,” Bookpage gives a starred review for The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris.

In a starred review, Kirkus declares that “intriguing characters take a wild ride through backwoods Wisconsin in this irresistible mystery” Galligan’s Bad Moon Rising.



Stacey Lee’s The Downstairs Girl hits #6 on the NYT young adult paperback list for the first time.

Bound Entertainment is collaborating with Stacey Lee to develop a TV series adaptation of the young adult author’s coming-of-age novel, The Downstairs Girl

Writers in the Know

Interview with Brittney Morris

Brittney Morris reveals how she keeps supernatural characters relatable and how writing for video games helped her write her novels.

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Angie Chats Story Craft


The Making of Meaningful Backstory (Part II)

Angie Hodapp

How much page-space you devote to building backstory depends on what type of story you’re telling and how you want to develop your lead characters. There’s no one-size-fits-all backstory formula, but there are some pro tips that can help you strike a masterful balance between What Came Before and What Will Happen Now.

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From the Blog

Your Protagonist Must Fail
Writing Craft: Mechanics Vs Spark
A Story Hidden in the Data

Kristin’s Book Club

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Next up for book club this Sunday. Maybe. Why the maybe? Because we were planning a fully vaccinated gathering in Becky’s backyard. It’s springtime in the Rockies, so the weather’s a real coin toss. Could be rain, could be snow. The joy of Colorado in May. We are actually considering moving our gather date.

Still, don’t let that keep you from picking up our next work of fiction. From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the The Thirteenth Tale comes a novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious. Yep, I agree that’s a little vague, so I think this Amazon Best Book of 2018 reviewer does a lovely job with a sum up:

When a man bursts into a riverside inn on the longest night of the year, covered in blood and carrying a dead child, the patrons of the Swan are beyond thrilled to find themselves in the middle of a swiftly unfolding tale—especially when the child is determined to actually be alive. Is the mute girl the long-missing daughter of a nearby wealthy family, or the bastard child of woman who threw herself in the Thames only a day or so earlier? Inquiring minds want to know. Weaving among the turmoil is a buoyant dance between science and superstition, as Darwin’s ideas, psychiatry, and scientific observation waltz with skullduggery, a curiously wise pig, and a man—or ghost—who patrols the Thames. As Setterfield juggles a colorful mob of characters whose lives are upended by the mysterious young girl, the joy of storytelling permeates every moment in this lively and wise historical novel.

Madeline Miller, internationally bestselling author of Circe (which we read last year), calls the novel “swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful.” As always, I’ll be listening along on audio. You have a treat of a tale in front of you, so join us.

New Releases

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