Okay, so I have a female James Bond as my agent.
Teri is a petite, young woman whom I met face-to-face for the first time at a Coney Island in Michigan. While she lives and works in NYC, like Robin and I, she grew up in the Detroit area. We managed a meeting while we were both back for Thanksgiving. At that time I had no idea who I was sitting across from. I assumed she was just a very nice, lawyer-turned-successful literary-agent who had transplanted to New York. I imagined her like a much nicer version of Tom Hank’s girl friend in You’ve Got Mail, the one that makes coffee nervous. I pictured cab rides, a high rise work space, weekends in Central Park, maybe even a small dog with a paid walker. Highlights of her life I imagined were dinner parties and power lunches.
Then in a recent phone conversation she apologized about having the flu and that it was interfering with her normal workaholic ethic. Again I saw her in a tiny apartment filled with cute knick-knacks, wrapped in a camel blanket, and holding a box of Kleenex while her cat swirled between her ankles. Somewhere in the background soft jazz played. Then she said something odd. She mentioned how she was so sick she even had to cancel her plans to go ice climbing.
Ice climbing? I had heard of this sport, if suicidal tendencies can be called sports. This extreme activity involves climbing frozen waterfalls, which is not only physically demanding, but dangerous. Ice climbing, really? That just did not fit into my Nora Ephron vision, but I let it slide thinking perhaps I just mis-heard, or she mis-spoke. Perhaps she meant to say rice timing, if she was cooking or lice rhyming as I heard New York had problems with lice. Why she wanted to rhyme with lice, I had no idea, but there was no point in embarrassing the woman who might be suffering from a very high fever.
Then she went on to explain about how her cold was aggravating as it prevented her from exercising, and how being cooped up and inactive was a problem for her as she is used to solo climbing limestone cliffs in Thailand or crevice scaling crags in Wyoming.
At this point I just listened, and she followed this revelation with the reason for the call. She had just completed the France deal selling my full series after a little bidding war when she got a call from her Russian contact. He had heard through the international grapevine that there was this new fantasy series and he wanted in. My over active writer’s imagination clicked on at this point. I pictured a scene where this stocky man in a heavy black dress coat wearing a typical Russian flap-hat, with a large face wreathed by a salt and pepper beard sat with arms folded and his lower lip pushed out. He glared down at Teri, this tiny, lithe woman with long black hair dressed in a dark trench coat with matching gloves, and sunglasses. She also had a blazing white scarf. Why the white scarf? I have no idea, it just seemed stylish and I always imagine Teri as very stylish.
“I have heard much about this Riyria, Teri.” I of course heard him speaking broken English from some 1980’s Tom Clancy book-made-into-movie. “It is good, no?”
“It is very good, Demetri.” I don’t actually know his name, but Demetri just seemed right somehow.
Demetri leaned back against his black sedan that was perfectly lit under the street light that reflected the oiling looking cobblestone in front of the old-world bridge. In the far background the lights of Prague twinkled. It was night of course, which just made the fact that Teri was wearing sunglasses that much cooler. He took off his little round bifocals and cleaned them with a linen handkerchief while humming to himself. Teri, being the super agent that she is, revealed nothing.
“Why are you holding out on me then? You have another Russian buyer?”
“Honestly, I haven’t had time to even think about Russia yet. I’ve been too busy with France and Spain.”
“I see,” Demetri said, but his tone indicated he did not believe a word. “Don’t think I don’t know what you are doing, and I won’t let you. I must have this Riyria. I offer you double any other offer you have.”
“I don’t have any other offers yet. Like I said I—”
“Ya, ya. Don’t play games with me, Terinova.” I imagine that he likes to call her that when he gets excited as if she is also Russian. “I will give you more than what we paid for Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Glen Cook, and George R.R.Martin, but not quite as much as Dan Brown. No one gets as much as Dan Brown.”
At this point Teri’s left eyebrow quivered just enough to give her away.
“Ah-hah! So, we have deal, yes?”
“Alright, Demetri,” Teri says with that sexy Laura Bacall tone. “I’ll talk to him. See what I can arrange.”
“Wonderful, Teri. Where are you off to now?”
“Ah yes, the big baccarat game. But you are late how can you get there in time?”
“High altitude, low opening parachuting, with a HGU 55/P ballistic helmet, MC-4 Halo parachute assembly, Airox VIII O2 regulator, and High Altitude Altimeters for a 28,500 foot bailout. I just hope the Casino Royale’s martini olives are fresh.”
And so, this is how I discovered I had offers for my series in both France and Russia, and how I learned that my agent is a literary reps version of James Bond.