2019 RISING STAR Award Final Round Agent Judges

Jessica AlvarezJessica Alvarez, Bookends Literary Agency

Jessica is a senior literary agent who joined BookEnds in 2011. After beginning her publishing career in 2001 as an editorial assistant at Harlequin Books, she left the publisher in 2008 to pursue a freelance editing career, and completed projects for Harlequin, Scholastic Books, Thomas Nelson, and independent writers. She uses her editorial background to help writers hone their skills and develop strong, marketable books. Jessica is actively building her client list and is a member of AAR. Her areas of interest include most areas of romance, women's fiction, and romantic suspense.

Follow her on Twitter at @AgentJessicaA and at her agency website www.bookendsliterary.com.

Sonali ChinchaniSonali Chanchani, Folio Literary Management

Sonali is an agent who joined Folio in 2015, where she works alongside Claudia Cross and Frank Weimann on a range of fiction and nonfiction projects while also building her own list. She feels books are always a way into the world. Sonali loves stories that lift her up and take her somewhere new — or turn her around and reframe the world she knows.She’s looking for character-driven upmarket and literary stories with a strong, distinctive voice. She’s drawn to smart women’s fiction; funny, heartfelt family stories; nuanced psychological mysteries; and rich, atmospheric historical projects with a touch of magical realism.

See her online at her agency website at www.foliolit.com.

judgeStephanie Mesa, Andrea Hurst & Associates

Stephanie is an associate agent with Andrea Hurst & Associates. She has a BA degree in English Literature with a certificate in Professional and Public Writing from Florida International University. She works as an associate editor and assists with brainstorming with clients in story and content editing. Stephanie attends conferences and reviews online content to scout the agencies next bestseller. She has a strong background working with digital marketing, social media, and content writing.

Follow her Twitter @ssincerelysteph, through her Youtube channel, Sincerely Steph, and her agency website www.andreahurst.com.


Ann Leslie TuttleAnn Leslie Tuttle, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC (DG&B)

Ann is an agent who joined DG&B in 2017, after working for 20 years at Harlequin Books on an extensive and varied list of bestselling and award-winning titles in romance and women’s fiction. She received her BA from the College of William and Mary and an MA from the University of Virginia. Helping to grow the careers of established and debut writers has always been Ann’s passion. She is seeking women’s fiction, historical fiction, psychological thrillers, romance, romantic comedies, medical romance, contemporaries, and Southern Gothics, as well as Middle Grade fiction and narrative nonfiction.

Follow her on Twitter @Annleslietuttle and at her agency website www.dystel.com.

Carly WattersCarly Watters, P.S Literary Agency

Carly is the senior vice president, senior literary agent, and director of literary branding at P.S. Literary Agency (PSLA). She began her publishing career in London at the Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency. She has a BA in English Literature from Queen’s University and a MA in Publishing Studies from City University in London. Since joining PSLA in 2010, Carly has had great success launching new authors, both domestically and abroad. Never without a book on hand, she reads across categories, which is reflected in the genres she represents. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-placed fiction with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

Follow her on Twitter @carlywatters; Instagram: carlywatters; and at her agency website www.psliterary.com.