Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kaitlyn Johnson of Belcastro Literary Agency

Kaitlyn Johnson is a literary agent with Belcastro Literary Agency.

As a Literary Agent with Belcastro Literary Agency, I am accepting submissions for Upper MG, as well as Young Adult and Adult.

I love seeing contemporary from voices not already flooding our bookshelves, perspectives that not everyone can claim to be familiar with. I want fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal from non-American/non-European myths and legends, concepts relevant to the culture and plot. I’m more into ghosts/vampires rather than werewolves, but always open to being surprised. Give me historical from places we never hear of, battles and events and changes that shifted world views yet never feature in mainstream discussions. Reading of people completely unlike myself, in places I’d love to explore and learn of, captivates me.

I’d love more LGBTQ+ storylines in all genres and ages (especially bi, ace, and trans voices!). Dying for MG with first crushes. People just being people and living life and not necessarily focusing on being forced to explain themselves. I love enemies-to-lovers and blind dates and rival romances. I’m also very much looking for more main characters living with mental health issues or disability.

Specific wishlist:

  • I’m not huge on retellings. They need to be so deep and layered, I have to dig before I realize what the retelling actually is based off. I’d love a gender-swap of Hercules retelling aaaand an Atlantis retelling (yes, the freaking amazing movie version).
  • Funny, witty contemporary romance that makes me laugh or heart-squishing romance the likes of Gayle Forman. I’m not a fan of uber dominating men or jock/sports storylines. Probably also not a good fit for female divas as main characters either (whether labeled diva for money, personality, or fashion, just not a fan of reading it). But I DEFF want feminists who find inclusive, non violent ways of pushing back the patriarchy (all genders/identities).
  • I absolutely love darker voices in YA if tackling mental health issues and I’d love to see MG take on some deeper themes (homelessness, foster homes, autism, racism, feminism, etc.). Still looking for an amazing creepy mermaid/siren book as well as a Madame de Pompadour historical! Parent/teen dynamics like those in Easy A are on the wishlist. I also think a rom-com b/w workers in a house redesign or the client/contractor would be hilarious.
  • Really wanting contemporary, modern Wiccan, like with homes of hanging herbs and jars of remedies and cats!
  • MG with creepy freaking dolls or poltergeists; no clowns, please!
  • Very much want Graphic Novels! All ages! Mainly historical, fantasy, and contemporary.

Here’s a run-down of genres I want in age groups:

​Upper MG
– Really on the hunt for more Contemporary in MG; also eager for fantasy, Horror (more creepy dolls and curses, less blood and guts), and Historical

Young Adult
– Fantasy (high, urban, or magical realism), Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Historical, Paranormal (ghosts, witches, and vampires if unique; looking for new legends/creatures)

– Fantasy, Contemporary, Historical, Contemporary Romance

I do NOT accept:

Chapter/Picture Books
Romantic Suspense
Novellas/Poetry/Short Story Collections
Stories heavily dependent on religious motives/events/themes
Stories heavily dependent on rape, drug or physical abuse
Stories focusing on Henry VIII, Shakespeare, American Civil War, or Greek gods/myths

At the end of the day, though, I just want great writing! Lyrical, literary, commercial—if the voice is strong, I’ll take a look. You may just surprise me!

Fun facts about me:

  • I have a calico cat named Keiko, a gray tabby named Nilly, and a Chackie (chihuahua corgi Jack Russel) who often star on my Twitter feed
  • I LOVE pickles, especially fried
  • While I can’t drink red (damn tannins), I’m always happy with a full wine glass or a whisky ginger
  • Karaoke Queen


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