In Memoriam

logically Gone too soon, my client, Donald Smith, passed away in October. An erudite gentleman, I loved reading about his many adventures. He imbued his adventurous spirit into his fiction and his Constable character embodied all of the attributes that make me think of Don: sharp, intrepid, and daring, yet a homebody at heart.

We worked together for many years and I will miss digging into another transporting manuscript of his. Rest easy, Don.

Donald’s obituary


More book recommendations!

Picture book: THE STORY ABOUT PING by Marjorie Flack, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. A classic, and a real favorite from my childhood.

Middle grade: EL DEAFO by Cece Bell. A graphic memoir with so much heart.

Young adult: SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. Wonderfully written and intense.

Adult Fiction: UNDER THE SKIN by Michel Faber (or really any of his other books). His writing is phenomenal and I love everything he’s written!

Adult NF: PERSEPOLIS: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. One of the first graphic memoirs I ever read and the illustrations and story were unforgettable.

Have you read any of these? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!

Book Recommendations

Many friends and family members ask me what I’m reading, so I’m going to post book
recommendations every month (non-clients!). More than ever, we need the calm respite which books provide. Buy them on,, or your local retailer, all of which helps the authors, artists and local booksellers.

Picture book: SLOW LORIS by Alexis Deacon. The moody illustrations really depict the languorous life of a slow loris.

Middle grade: SLIDER by Pete Hautman. My son and I cracked up at this zany, but very real story.

Young adult: THE ILLUSTRATED MAN by Ray Bradbury. The sheer breadth of imagination in these stories is astounding.

Adult Fiction: HOLLOW KINGDOM by Kira Jane Buxton. Timely and funny, it looks at a world devoid of humans and finds the humanity.

Adult NF: MY BROTHER by Jamaica Kincaid. A raw memoir of the author’s brother who died of AIDS.

Have you read any of these? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!

What We Need Now

I hope everyone reading this is safe and well. I recently joined an agents group and this month we did a Google Hangout call. After a lot of sobering news on the book front, as we were about to end the call, another agent asked if we had anything positive to add.

My positive note was stories. We need stories now and we will need them when this is all over. Humans have told stories since the beginning of time and that is not ending, so writers out there, write some good stories while you’re isolating! A little less news, a few more books and we’ll all get through this! Stay healthy!

Send me a comment on Twitter at @jenniferunter!

Tween Books Needed!

I had been discussing the fact that more tween books (older middle grade) are needed out there in the world with one of my authors, and a few days later, he sent me this School Library Journal article about that very subject. In the tween years, kids are so vulnerable and open, so many new ideas can take hold. I would love to see more tween books with male protagonists (of all stripes) that face adversity, but without violence and death. Send it to me if you’ve got it!

Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!

Turning Inward

Life as a working mom can get overwhelming, particularly in September. The Meet the Teacher Night/Curriculum Night and meet the parents mixers along with book parties for all of the new fall titles, while fun and enervating, can also quickly become
exhausting. During the weeks when I have events three nights out of 5, I cherish my nights at home, talking with my kids, watching the news and hunkering down with a new book. In anticipation of reading the new Margaret Atwood title, I recently got The Handmaid’s Tale which I’ve never read (nor watched…I know, crazy!) and am looking forward to cracking it open tonight.

What do you to when you need downtime? Send me a comment on twitter at


I was never that into audio books (I find that my mind wanders and I miss half of the
scenes), but I am loving podcasts. From humor to advice to suspense to politics, it’s all there, but there are so many that it’s hard to choose. Here are some I’ve enjoyed in the last 6 months:

  • My Dad Wrote a Porno: my current favorite. It is laugh-out-loud funny and so sharp.
  • Homecoming: even though Julia Roberts is fabulous, the podcast is better than the TV show.
  • This America Life: so many episodes really get to the heart of life and what’s important.
  • In the Dark: in-depth crime reporting.
  • Dirty John: true crime that really is stranger than fiction.

What are you listening to? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!

The Ides

I just found out that the Ides of March is not so special after all. Perhaps for Julius Caesar it was, but in Roman times, the ides was just another way of saying the 15th day of the month. So, it’s one in a dozen. Not a big deal. However, I always feel a sense of weight on the Ides of March, like something significant and mysterious should happen.

Nothing does happen, but it’s the portent of an event that makes it interesting. I give credit to my high school English teacher for making that day stand out a little bit from
all of the other 15th’s. And to William Shakespeare, of course.

What has literature added to your life? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!

Happy 2019!

Is one of your goals for 2019 to write more? I know many authors who have the same goal. Writing more can be easier if you’re part of a community. Most of my authors are part of a writer’s group, whether it’s online or in-person. A group is great for advice-giving and for holding the writer accountable to his/her goals. Even Twitter, which is mostly the opposite of a supportive community, has groups of authors encouraging other authors!

If you aren’t part of a group and are pressed for time, here is a great piece of advice from one of my authors, Sue Fliess, for those who are attempting picture books. At the very least, sit down and write 10 words a day. That’s almost 2 lines in a picture book!

What are you working on? Send me a comment on Twitter at @jenniferunter!