Jun 21, 2010

Interview with Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates

Today we have a very special guest with us -- Literary agent Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates who will be coming to Australia as a special guest for the Romance Writers of Australia conference.

Jennifer – thank you for joining us on LoveCats Downunder. We are very excited to have you here. In a few short months, you will be winging your way downunder to join us for the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Coogee. Have you been to Australia before?

Hello and thank you so much for the opportunity to be here with all of you! I am so excited to be headed down to Australia for the conference that I can barely contain myself. I have loads of talented and wonderful clients downunder and it will be great to meet all of them finally. I have been to Australia when I was a college student. I backpacked alone and it was a great experience. This time, I will be going for a job, and a husband in toe, which will be a chance to see the beauty of Australia through a different lens (the I am SO MUCH older then I was back then lens!)

Outside of the conference – is there anything you are particular wanting to do or see when you are visiting Australia?

I would love to see the Blue Mountains. My clients say that this is something I shouldn’t miss that is close to Sydney. I wonder if I could see a Koala there? I have also wanted to travel to Melbourne and do some diving in the Great Barrier Reef… the hubby is afraid of 1. Sharks. 2. Killer Jellyfish 3. Sea Crocs so we may not head up to the GBR. I’ll work on him… if anyone has suggestions in how to get him in the water let me know!

You represent a few downunder authors – is there something about the Aussie/kiwi voice you enjoy?

I never really thought of the continuity in voice between the Australian writers…but what I do like about their work is that they have a very keen and well developed sense of humour which seems so natural and easy.

If someone is pitching, what do you look for and what immediately turns you off?

I look for a really strong story with amazing characters and a fresh vibrant hook. When someone is pitching in person, I look for their ability to articulate the story they are pitching and I also look for an author that ‘knows’ her market, and how her work fits into the market. I love enthusiasm for the work too… through experience I have found that authors that are enthusiastic for their work tend to reach me more in their writing. What turns me off is not knowing what I am taking, what I represent and pitching work that is not complete. Always research the agent by way of their website to see the most up to date and credible info on what they are looking for.

You read a lot for a living, do you read for pleasure or what else do you like to do to let your hair down?

I like this question. I am more than just my job . I love to read for pleasure. I wouldn’t be a good agent if I didn’t! Reading helps me to relax and enjoy some alone time. My perfect summer day would be me lying in a really big padded hammock under a shady tree with nothing but my TO BE READ for pleasure pile. And a gin and tonic. Oh, and my dog Maude lazing there with me. I also like to garden, to hike, to road bike, swim and to cook for friends and family!

Okay to finish off, a bit of a hypothetical question. If you were to write – what genre would you choose and who would be your dream agent (and you are totally allowed to say yourself :))

Oh lord, well I always thought I would be a writer, and, paging doctor Freud, I have surrounded myself with a cadre of talented and successful ones! I would write fiction, and possibly short stories about women. My dream agent wouldn’t be me, it would be my mentor Karen Solem :)
Thanks and see you all in August!! Jennifer


  1. Fabulous interview LoveCats and Jennifer. Good luck convincing your hubby to visit the GBR!! And I'll see you in Sydney :)

  2. Okay Jenn - grew up in north QLD and never got eaten. Obviously. Actually never even saw those things - much. And don't tell him Sydney is home of the funnel web spider and Australia has a most of the most poisonous snakes in the world here or you won't even get him on the plane. :)

    Seriously - we have very few attacks from anything. Except mossies and flies :)

  3. Hi Jennifer,
    how wonderful you've visited us at the lovecats!
    You really must visit TGBR, even snorkelling it in the shallows or a glass bottom canoe!!?
    Looking forward to meeting you at the conference =)

  4. Hi Jennifer (& the LC's),

    A glass bottom boat would be the way to get your husband ON the water if not in it. I've snorkelled the GBR and loved it - the colours of the coral & animals are so vibrant, the water incredibly clear and the species of animals are amazing!

    Looking forward to meeting you at RWOz!

  5. Hi Jennifer -- and welcome to LoveCats! I recently spent a couple of months in Queensland, and despite looking Very Hard for snakes, didn't see a single one. I'm sure the sharks and killer jellyfish and sea crocs are equally elusive! If hubby's not convinced, though, perhaps you can park him at the hotel pool with a good book and a G&T, and go adventuring without him?

    I look forward to meeting you in Sydney -- the conference is going to be great!

  6. Hi Jenn! I went to Australia when I was seventeen - I am not a good swimmer, but the Great Barrier Reef was still incredible. Granted, there was a very hot scuba instructor and wine on the boat (which felt very scandalous and grown-up at seventeen), so that may have helped :) But you're going to have an awesome time, even if you can't get your husband in the water!

  7. Mel - I agree - a glass bottom boat is a fabulous way - and at Green Island the have this sub you can go on which is very cool.

  8. Kylie - the reefs off the WA coast as also very beautiful + they have dolphins.

  9. I agree Emily - and in August - all the snakes will probably still be hybinating. I think I have seen 2 sharks in the wild my entire life - once we saw some mantarays by our boat and that was just magical.

    Jenn another thing you might consider is Whale Watching at Hervey Bay http://www.whalewatchingherveybay.com.au

  10. Sara - thanks for the visit. And yes - a 17 a hot scuba instructor would have been rather appealing (come to think of it - still does). I hope you had a great time down here and come back again sometime.

  11. As a Blue Mountains resident I agree you shouldn't miss it. Koalas are fairly elusive but you could always have a Mystic High Tea at Lillianfels. http://www.lilianfels.com.au/web/okat/high_tea.html

  12. Hi Jennifer :o) I'm with you on the shady tree dream - although I'm more of an iced tea gal myself *grin*. Look forward to meeting you in August.

  13. Hi Jennifer,
    I do a lot of ocean swimming and my mantra is: dawn and dusk.

    Sharks like brekky around 5-8am, and in the evening they're cruising for something tasty as the sun's going down.

    I think you're fine for stingers in August.

    Mmm... dunno about the crocs.

    GOOD LUCK! I hope to see you at the conference.


  14. Jennifer,
    We're very excited about you coming to our conference as well, and I'm sure your hubbie will bond with all the other long-suffering conference husbands in attendance, and they'll tell him all the best spots to see.
    But you really should come north to beautiful Brisbane to see koalas.
    Looking forward to meeting you in August,

  15. Hi Jen,
    Tell your hubby he doesn't need to worry about the sharks 'cause the crocs eat them. And as for the killer jelly fish - wear a set of pantyhose. Nah, just kidding, that's what we used to have to do before some bright spark invented stinger suits. And Suzi's right, Brisbane is the place for Koalas. Blue Mountains? Absolutely!

  16. Welcome to the LoveCats, Jennifer! We're so thrilled to have you coming to the conference this year!

    I love the sound of your perfect summer day - getting to grips with the TBR pile in a padded hammock - Bliss!

    Good luck with getting your hubby to the Great Barrier Reef!

    Fab interview, Tracie!

    See you both in August!

  17. LOL - what great comments. Excellent LOveCats. And Jenn, I'd say definitely tell hubby about all our land-loving snakes and spiders and he'll go in the water to get away from them!!!!

  18. Hi Jenn!

    You know I'm not a snorkeler so I LOVE the idea of a glass bottom boat!

    Most of all though I love the thought of a hammock, a tbr, and a G&T - and the dog too. I don't have the hammock, but maybe my deck will do? Actually spent some time similar to that on Friday afternoon. Bliss.

    Have a wonderful trip!

  19. Hi Jenn! Welcome to the Lovecats - so great you could stop by when you have so much preparation to do (and so much convincing of hubby!).

    Just wait till he sees the water here - he might not need as much convincing as you fear. =)

  20. Well, this Queenslander has been living in the southern end of Australia the last seven years. Love it here in Tasmania but also love the Great Barrier Reef. Melbourne or GBR? Hope you can do both but they are a long distance apart!
    I am so sorry I missed meeting Karen Solem when we were both in Denver last September at the ACFW conference. Looking forward very much to meeting you in Sydney.

  21. Hi everyone! Thank you so much for the amazing welcome, and all the fantastic comments... I just cant wait to get downunder and meet all of you, and enjoy your beautiful country. I definately WILL NOT be telling hubby about the funnel web so thanks for that, and since he was raised on a farm it seems like all things on land are not a problem. Question for you all...When i was a college student I visited this most amazing island, was off the coast of Brisbane-- anyone know the name??? Thanks again to Tracie for having me and see you all soon... dont forget to get in that hammock and do some pleasure reading!

  22. Jenn, off Brisbane it could have been Moreton Island (which has Tangalooma resort where you can hand feed the dolphins http://www.tangalooma.com/info/home/ ) but there are a few islands (the other big one is Stradbroke Island - and you can whale watch from both these islands). This link (http://www.visitbrisbane.com.au/Travel/Destination-Maps/Moreton-Bay-Islands.aspx?gclid=CJmR_7yAsqICFQsZewod9Hlstg ) covers all the islands off Brissie.

    But Queensland has another island - Fraser Island - which is a little further north (off Hervey Bay). It's world heritage listed (http://www.fraserisland.net/ ). And truly is amazing: rainforest growing on sand, over 100 freshwater lakes, many tea coloured from the tanin of the leaf litter, coloured sand cliffs... the list goes on. This is the island I would recommend you visit :)

  23. ahhh! Ok thanks Anita, it was Stradbroke Island, i went there on my travels and stayed in a hostel, it was an amazing place. I would love to visit Fraser island, thanks for the link. Alas, i only have two full weeks there so I may have to really pick and choose here but it sounds amazing. Thanks everyone!!

  24. Jenn, I hope you have a lovely stay down under. And re: getting your husband into the water... perhaps all he needs is some Dutch courage. You could always pop by the Hunter Valley wine country on your way North and stock up on some lovely wine first :-)

    Looking forward to meeting you at the conference.