Two Deal Treasure by Kelli Martin

I wasn’t supposed to sell non-fiction. I’m an escapist novel kind of girl. A ride-or-die fiction-loving woman. I live and breathe and bleed feel-good fiction that I can devour in one sitting – flowy dress slipped on, knitting needles in my lap, afghan throw lovingly placed over my bare feet, tealights decorating the pier under the Adirondack chair I’m curled up in. I’m that kind of reader. Over the years, I’ve learned that in books, in reading, in publishing and in love, sometimes the best-laid plans go awry…happily so.

When I started as a literary agent at Wendy Sherman Associates, my mission was to focus on love stories and romance novels. Imagine my delight when the first project I sold was for narrative non-fiction – a beautifully written, no-holds-barred memoir with humanitarian, social activist, racial and cultural lenses aimed at the U.S. justice system. The next day, a charming romantic comedy about a Millennial med school student diagnosed with anxiety disorder received an offer too.

At first glance, these two books may seem like they have little in common. Looking deeper, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Both are about protagonists who are trying to cement their places in the world. Both are about people and/or lived experiences that have been invisible or maligned. Both are about finding peace amidst pain. Both are about the tears we shed, and the loved ones who help put us back together. Both are about the tough, tender ways we come of age and come into adulthood. Both are affirming celebrations of the ways we grasp at life.

Most of all, both books are love letters…love letters to family and culture, love letters to aspects of ourselves that we shed, and love letters to the selves we are becoming – in all their fullness and richness and radiance.

The plans we make? Sometimes they end up by the wayside. Then something new takes over. Maybe that something new is not really new at all, it’s been there all along. And now we see it. We finally see the path to this new kind of self-love. And the view is mighty fine.