Book Broker: an interview with Eva Scalzo

Interview with literary agent Eva Scalzo from Speilburg Literary Agency #mswl manuscript wish list

An interview with literary agent Eva Scalzo (#mswl)

Agent: Eva Scalzo

Website: &

Preferred genres:  adult (romance, SFF & mystery/thriller); YA (all genres); MG (contemporary, literary, & fantasy).

Bio: Eva Scalzo was born in New Jersey, but lived in Houston, Buenos Aires, San Juan, and Boston before settling down outside of Binghamton, New York. She has been reading romance since the fifth grade when she discovered the Sweet Valley High series. On inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage Harlequin Romances, she set a goal to someday finish reading them all on top of her already massive TBR. 

Eva has a B.A. in the Humanities from the University of Puerto Rico and a M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. Since graduating, she has spent her career in scholarly publishing, working for Houghton Mifflin, Blackwell Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, and Cornell University in a variety of roles. She has been with Speilburg Literary since 2013 and started accepting clients in 2017. Eva is a member of the AALA and SCBWI. 

Before you hit submit on any queries please verify her #MSWL.

1) What stands out in a good submission?

I'm drawn to characters I can root for, first and foremost. They don't have to be perfect. In fact, it's better when they're not. But the best submissions have characters I can't stop thinking about, facing circumstances I want to know more about. 

2) What's a typical warning sign that a manuscript isn't ready for representation?

Opening pages that don't make progress. Manuscripts don't need to start with the inciting incident, but they need to draw you in. An opening stuck in mundanity or incessant description or relentless backstory is a sign the story isn't starting in the right place and more revision is likely needed before it's ready. 

3) What's at the top of your manuscript wish list right now?

I honestly don't know. It's one of those things that I'll know it when I see it. I know that's not super helpful, but I encourage writers to shoot their shot. You never know what will spark an interest. 

4) How do you define narrative voice? And how does voice impact your experience of a manuscript?

Voice is the way the story is told. It's not just one character's voice or the narrator, it's all of those things put together and is something that, when done well, will touch the right balance of emotions as you read. 

5) Some people say that "agents hate prologues." Is that true for you? What is the most common reason that a prologue falls flat?

It is! I find them to often be either too disconnected from the main story or repeating a scene that will take place later out of context in a way that I personally find unnecessary. I just don't find them to be the most effective way to introduce a story. 

6) If you could change one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be and why?

Long response times and lack of closure. I totally understand why everyone is overwhelmed; I'm guilty of these things too, but they're the things that create the most day-to-day anxiety. 

7) What's the best (non-client) book you've read recently, and how did it hook you?

Bride by Ali Hazelwood. First of all, that cover!! It's so stunning. But also I found the fated mates story between this outcast vampire princess and upstart werewolf alpha to be really enjoyable. 

8) Can you tell us about an exciting author you're working with at the moment?

My client F.T. Lukens has a new release coming on April 2nd. Otherworldly is a queer YA fantasy that has found family and a crossroads bargain at its core, as well as a lovely romance.

In the adult space, I'm so excited for my client Rebecca Kenney. Her traditional debut, Beautiful Villain,  is a Great Gatsby retelling with vampires and releases on July 25th. In the meantime, she's self-publishing her take on dragon romantasy, Serpents of Sky and Flame, in April.

Authors represented by lit agent Eva Scalzo: F.T. Lukens and Rebecca Kenney

Interview with lit agent Eva Scalzo from Speilburg Literary Agency #mswl manuscript wish list

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