www.taekeller.com
@taekeller

AGENT
Sarah Davies

WRITES
MG contemporary

DEBUT
THE SCIENCE OF UNBREAKABLE THINGS (March 6, 2018)
Random House

 

BIO
Tae Keller grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she danced hula and subsisted on kimchi and spam musubis. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York city, where she writes about biracial girls trying to find their voices, and lives with a stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND
I grew up watching my mom write books, and I’ve loved writing since I was three. When I was in high school, I started writing novels (they were very thinly-veiled rip-offs of The Hunger Games, but I didn’t realize it at the time). I wrote 3.5 novels before The Science of Breakable Things, but I knew they weren’t very good, and I sentenced them to the Hard Drive Abyss without showing anybody. When I wrote The Science of Breakable Things, though, I knew that story was different. I got that feeling. That feeling that, as writers, we wait for and hope for, that magic kind of this-could-be-it feeling. I revised it a couple times before querying, then landed with Sarah a few weeks after sending it out. We revised it together, and I got a book deal with Random House six weeks after going on submission.

EXPERIENCE
I majored in English and Creative Writing in college, and graduated intent on working in publishing. I worked in the industry for two years before writing full-time, with internships at Writers House and Penguin, and a full-time position at Jabberwocky Literary Agency. Because of this, I have industry experience working with agents and editors, giving editorial feedback, and pitching.

Now that I write full-time (hurray! huzzah!) I spend a lot of time CP-ing manuscripts, because I miss digging into stories with other writers and giving editorial advice.

OVERVIEW
Writing is wonderful, but it can get very lonely, especially in the early days. We spend so much of our time in our own heads, with characters only we know, working out a story only we’ve read. That can be brutal. I want to sit down with you, in your head (weird?), and provide a fresh perspective and, hopefully, friendship.

I’m looking for voicey, character-driven middle grade—contemporary, magical realism, mystery, and light sci-fi/fantasy are all welcome. I love friendship and family stories, and emotional coming-of-age narratives with humor and heart. I’m also a sucker for a good portal fantasy, so if you can do that well, I’m yours.

I’m looking for a mentee that is willing to work hard, but also have fun. Writing can be a difficult, brain-breaking, impossible process. But it’s a joyful process, too. And I’m here. I’m in your corner.

 

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Horror

My greatest love is voicey, emotional, character-driven MG. Sub me, please!!

I also love: magical realism, portal fantasies, friendship and family stories, school stories, Asian culture (#ownvoices please), any synopsis that includes “and hijinks ensue.”

 

 

I WILL PROVIDE:

  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Skype or phone call

WORKING STYLE
I LOVE talking story, and will take any chance I get to nerd out about narrative.

To me, the first few drafts of a new story are right-brain magic. It’s an arty, almost mystical process, and there are no rules—only exploration and discovery and play.

But revision is where left-brain logic comes in, and I love that part even more. In revision, we can take apart all the elements of a story, from the plot structure to the character arcs, and we can dig deep to figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Because revision is my favorite, my edits are often pretty intense. I’m a big believer in spreadsheets and charts and big changes that serve the best possible story.

IDEAL MENTEE
If you’re ready and willing to dig in, I’m your person. I can help guide you if you’re not sure what work you should be doing, but I can’t do much if you’re not willing to work at all.

On the flip side: I want someone who works hard, but also finds JOY in the work. Yes, it’s a difficult process, but it’s also an exciting one. I have a lot of fun with it, so I’m looking for someone who feels the same.

SEND ME:
Anything with a strong voice, emotional MG, humor and heart, character-driven fiction, headstrong female characters, magical realism, portal fantasies, friendship and family stories, school stories, Asian culture (#ownvoices please), any synopsis that includes “and hijinks ensue.”

DO NOT SEND ME:
While I like lighter SFF, high fantasy and hard sci-fi aren’t for me.

FAVES
Books: HOLES by Louis Sachar; I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson; DOLLBONES by Holly Black; anything Jane Austen; anything Kat Yeh; anything Kate Dicamillo; HELLO, UNIVERSE by Erin Entrada Kelly; MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENUIS by Lisa Yee

Movies/TV: Bob’s Burgers; Silicon Valley; The Bachelorette (sorry not sorry); Black Mirror; The Good Place; Zootopia, Pan’s Labyrinth