Meet the Conference Faculty: Paul Stevens

“If I’m drawn in and want to keep reading, that’s a really good sign.”

-Paul Stevens

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 26th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 28–June 30, 2019, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens has been an agent with the Donald Maass Literary Agency since 2016. Before joining DMLA, he worked as an editor at Tor Books for 15 years focusing on science fiction and fantasy. Paul is primarily looking to represent science fiction and fantasy for adults, but he also will consider other genres such as mystery and suspense if they have science fiction / fantasy elements. He represents authors such as Kel Kade, Jeremy Finley, Dan Koboldt, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Sean Grigsby.

Scribe: What is your approach to the author/agent relationship?

Paul Stevens: I’m generally a pretty laid back person, so I prefer to have a pretty calm relationship with my clients. I’m happy to answer their questions and explain how the process works, and I do my best to make sure that the client is kept informed as things develop.

Scribe: Are there specific elements that draw you to a project?

PS: I get most excited about projects where I am immediately drawn into the story. This can happen even with something as short as a 5-page sample–if I’m drawn in and want to keep reading, that’s a really good sign.

Scribe: Tell us about a recent project you’re excited about!

PS: The Record Keeper by Agnes Gomillion, which goes on sale June 18, in print, ebook, and audio. Agnes submitted a query and a 5-page sample that captured me with its lyrical writing and intriguing story. When I emailed her to ask for more, my first comment was, “Wow, Agnes. This is pretty awesome!” The Record Keeper is a near-future dystopia that examines past and present race relations and is based on the life of Frederick Douglass.

Scribe: And also, in your bio, you mentioned that you’re interested in sci-fi and fantasy that subvert their tropes. Is there a recent novel that you’ve encountered that does this?

PS: Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade , which is scheduled for November 5, in print, ebook and audio. Kel is the New York Times bestselling author of the King’s Dark Tidings series. With Fate of the Fallen, Kel begins a brand new, unrelated series that takes the classic “hero’s quest” trope and turns it on its head.

Thanks, Paul!

Click here to read our 2019 A&E Conference agent bios.

Click here for more information on the 2019 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 28-June 30) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

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