Josh Adams, Adams Literary

Young Adult


Emily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. She has a BA in English from Western Oregon University and a MA in publishing from Rosemont College. Her novels include Illusive, Deceptive, The Hearts We Sold, and the forthcoming The Bone Houses.

I started writing with intent to publish around 2010, although I’d been writing pretty much my whole life. (When I was a kid, my first writing endeavors consisted of Sailor Moon fanfic and a few terrible attempts at original novels.) I got a degree in English from Western Oregon University with a focus on writing. I wanted to know what the business side of writing looked like, so I enrolled in the publishing masters program at Rosemont College. While there, I worked on marketing campaigns for Philly-based publishers, learned how to read a contract, studied methods of book acquisition, and discovered how much work went into publishing a single title. I wrote my thesis while also working on my debut novel. (If you like sleep, don’t do this.) Afterward, I moved to California and was hired at an independent bookshop, where I’d eventually become the children’s buyer. It was around that time that I was signed by my agent. I’m a slush pile author. I went into the querying trenches in early 2012 armed with a book about super-powered criminals. I had written other books before, but this was the first manuscript I thought might have a chance. I received several requests for fulls, and then an agent at Adams Literary wished to see a few edits before reviewing the book a second time. Her edits were spot-on, so I went ahead and made the changes before resubmitting. She ended up signing me, and we went on submission that fall. We sold ILLUSIVE to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and I’ve been there ever since. My original agent ended up retiring and now I’m repped by her colleague, Josh Adams. ILLUSIVE, a YA superhero crime thriller, published in 2014, and its sequel came out the following year. My third book, THE HEARTS WE SOLD, published in 2017. I have a fourth YA novel releasing later this year and a short story in a Poe-themed anthology edited by the always-wonderful Dahlia Adler.

My entire career has revolved around the written word. I have two degrees: a BA in English and a MA in publishing. I worked as a bookseller and children’s buyer for six years at an independent bookshop. As a children’s buyer, I was responsible for going through thousands of new titles and picking the best ones for our store. I know how sales work, what booksellers are looking for, why readers buy certain books, how to craft a newsletter, run a pre-order campaign, and keep a teen book club going.

I’ve taught classes on query letter writing at the Mendocino Coast Writing Conference, sat on bookseller panels at conferences, and I can pitch a book in 15 seconds or less. (Ask me how!)

Also, I just really love books: reading them, analyzing what works, and trying to come up with ways to make them stronger.

Let’s be real: publishing can be terrifying. I ventured into the world of publishing when I knew no one, and frankly, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The best part about writing professionally have been the people I’ve met, the friendships I’ve made, and getting to know the entire book community.

I want to be a mentor because honestly, I wish I’d had one. It would have been such a reassurance to have someone in my corner, rooting for me, cheering me on, and explaining the things I didn’t understand. So I want to be that person for someone else. And I like making new friends!

I’m looking for a manuscript to keep me glued to my computer screen. Something creative and original, yet just familiar enough to feel like slipping into a comfortable pair of shoes. I want to find something that I didn’t even know I wanted, not until I started reading.

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

Okay if I list all of my favorite tropes, that would take way too long. But among my faves are morally gray characters, friends-to-lovers, enemies-to-lovers (as long as the relationship is built on respect), adorkable characters, affably evil villains, anti-heroes & anti-villains, bittersweet endings, dark & troubled pasts, funny moments, awesome magic systems, small town dramas, our (insert magical creature here) are different – give me a new twist on vampires/werewolves, etc, chekov’s guns, foreshadowing, good vs good, evil vs evil, jerks with hearts of gold, etc.

I also love stories that take well known tropes and subvert or twist them in new ways.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

I like to read a manuscript cold, just to see what my first impressions are. I make notes as I go, and then from those notes I compile an edit letter for developmental issues and line notes in the manuscript itself. I find brainstorming sessions at this stage particularly helpful, whether over chat or Skype. Then the mentee can take the time they need to make their desired changes. I’ll read through the manuscript a second time if the mentee wants another round, or from there we can move onto crafting query letters/outlines. (I am that weird author who LOVES writing query letters.) I’m also willing to talk about publishing, bookselling, or pretty much any other aspect of the industry.

My ideal mentee would be someone willing to work hard, be open minded, and have a good sense of humor. Be flexible enough to accept criticism and stubborn enough to stand by your ideals. Be hungry for knowledge. But most of all, my ideal mentee would love writing for its own sake. Writing can be such a joy, and I want to find someone who shares that enthusiasm for it.


  • Genre-bending fiction. Give me your fantasy books with heists, your romances set in a sci-fi world, your action-thrillers with elements of horror.
  • Plotty books. Taut, twisty plots are my fave.
  • Morally gray characters and unlikable heroines. I love when there aren’t truly right or wrong answers, just people trying to do their best.
  • Criminals. Smugglers, thieves, hackers.
  • Amazing magic systems – the more complex & original, the better.
  • A setting so vivid it may as well be its own character. Give me world-building that will make me swoon.
  • Fantasy or sci-fi with political intrigue. Power struggles, drama, thrillers.
  • Friends to Lovers.
    Enemies to Lovers (so long as the relationship is built on mutual respect).
  • Small towns.
  • Found families & ensemble casts.
  • Bittersweet endings.


  • Straight-up historical or contemporary. I like a speculative element.
  • Fairies
  • Secret royalty
  • Pirates
  • Chosen One stories
  • Romance as the main plot
  • Narratives about performance art (ballerinas, circuses, etc)
  • Stories dealing with sexual assault”.

My tastes are wide and varied and kind of unpredictable. My list of favorite films contains both Pan’s Labyrinth and Deadpool 2. My favorite television series is Star Trek Deep Space Nine. I am currently watching the Netflix marvel shows. I love action and humor, heart and character. As for literature, I love books with effortless world-building like A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC and the Grisha-verse. I adore twisty thrillers like Mary Elizabeth Summer’s TRUST ME I’M LYING and Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton series. I love the lush darkness of THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN as well as the gentle humor of WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. I gravitate toward books with characters that feel so real that they will go on, even after I’ve closed the book.