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Profile Summary

Euan came to AM Heath from Curtis Brown, a significantly larger agency, in 2005. His list is broad-ranging, albeit with a bias towards crime and thrillers. Notable names on his list include:

  • RJ Ellory, a best-selling and award-winning British writer of thrillers set in the US
  • Parker Bilal, the author of an internationally successful series of Egyptian crime novels
  • Susanna Gregory, author of a series of medieval murder mysteries
  • Steve Hamilton, a highly acclaimed mystery writer with two Edgar awards to his name
  • Peter Woolf, a career criminal, now a campaigner for restorative justice
  • Claire Kendal, author of the psychological thriller The Book Of You
  • Matt Rudd, author of a ‘field guide’ to the English

    But Euan shouldn’t be thought of as only a crime and thriller agent. He is “desperate” to find a really good nature writer, in the mould of Roger Deakin and Robert MacFarlane – and he has the wisdom and all-round human excellence to consider mountaineering literature a ‘real passion’.

He’s interested in SFF fiction, as long as it has crossover appeal, rather than out-and-out genre. (So Atwood or Mieville, probably yes; high space opera or homages to Tolkein, probably no.) In his website profile, he says, he’s keen to find “speculative fiction/genre bending fiction”.

In book group type fiction, Euan cites The Shock of the Fall and the Rosie Project as particularly impressive. For more literary work, then Cormac McCarthy is a particular favourite.

In his core territory of crime and thriller, Euan’s particularly interested in anything that meshes genre forms with literary writing and themes. He cites Elizabeth is Missing as a particular favourite. Also anything scary – Mo Hayder, for example – or anything with the power to surprise.

Together with his AMH colleague, Oli Munson, Euan has launched an annual Criminal Lines competition, looking for the best crime writing of the year. He says, the purpose of the competition is simple: it’s there to “discover new, original voices writing in the crime and thriller genre and launch them to super-stardom! Long term, we want A.M.Heath to be the first port of call for any crime and thriller writer.”



Detailed data

Agency:
AM Heath and Co
Agent since:
1998
Short biography:

I have been at AM Heath since 2005, and am one of the senior agents here. Before that, I was an agent at Curtis Brown. I have always loved finding new authors and working with them.

I represent a range of different kinds of fiction, from the very literary to the more commercial. I’m looking for strong prose, unique voices and a compelling narrative. In terms of genre, I’m most interested in crime, thrillers, historical and upmarket women’s fiction. I am also open to well-written speculative fiction in the vein of STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel or UNDER THE SKIN by Michel Faber.

My non-fiction tastes are for memoir, new nature writing (think Robert MacFarlane), popular psychology and current affairs.

I have been a committee member of the Association of Authors’ Agents as well as serving as the external examiner on one of the country’s leading creative writing courses. I am also a judge for the Bridport First Novel Award.

Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Travel, Science, Politics, society & current affairs, Other non-fiction, Memoir and autobiography, History, Women's fiction, Science fiction, Historical fiction, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

The first book I remember being blown away by was The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake (well, the first two novels anyway). Introduced to me by my English teacher, I then re-read this when I was 19. Epic, great plot but most of all, fantastic characters: Steerpike, Flay, Swelter. Forward 20 years, and I am a relative late comer to George RR Martin and his Game of Throne series but here is another astonishing feat of imagination which sucks you in right from the start. Brilliant. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy was the first book I read that made me realise that bloody could be beautiful. Tim Willocks and his debut novel, Green River Rising, also manages to achieve this. Ive just re-read it and it is unputdownable. Up until I read Money by Martin Amis, I had either read fairly traditional literary novels or trash. This was the first literary novel I read where I thought that writers could be rock n roll. I was blown away. I then went on to read Dead Babies and London Fields and was hooked. The Wasp Season by Iain Banks was another novel that made me realise that literature was much more than simply the set texts at school. If people ask me what I can recommend to read for pure pleasure, I always tell them to search out The Flashman series of novels by George MacDonald Fraser. A criminally underrated writer who created one of the most memorable characters in literature. If you havent read them, you are in for a treat. Another book that I always recommend is Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (so, non-fiction this time). This will either inspire you to go climbing or put you off for life! Its one of the best memoirs I have ever read, regardless of whether you are into rock climbing or not. I love spy thrillers and went through a phase of reading the likes of Len Deighton, Craig Thomas, etc. But the master was always Le Carre. The recent film of Tinker, Tailor has really made me want to re-read them. A more recent thriller author (although a very different kind of writer to Le Carre) whom I think is superb is Stuart Neville. His debut novel, The Twelve, should become a classic. So, other books I loved, old or new The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce Books/Authors on my list to read The Son by Philip Meyer, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, William McIlvaney plus about about one hundred other books. As one of the two founders (with fellow agent, Oli Munson) of the AMH Crime prize, Euan has a particular interest in strong crime fiction.

Other loves & passions:

Other than fiction, Im interested in nature writing (eg Crow Country by Mark Cocker), travel writing (Robert MacFarlane being a good example) and intelligent sports writing in the vein of Simon Kuper.

How to make a submission:
Please check here http://amheath.com/submissions
Other advice and background:

I get excited when something comes in that is clearly really ambitious either in concept or style. Publishers dont want mediocre scripts. They want brilliant ones. And so do I. So, never send me anything that feels like a cliche. For example, anything that starts with someone waking up in the morning. Or worse, waking up with a hangover wondering what they did the previous evening. I also dislike anything that starts with a dream.

 

Read Euan's Crime themed Q&A here...

Q. What books/authors do you love in crime and thrillers? Give us some examples and say why you liked these books/authors.
I love anything “Unusual” such as Belinda Bauer. She always manages to surprise me with her plots and approach. And I want to be scared. So anything sinister, creepy and dark. And I don’t mean just blood and guts. Mo Hayder is brilliant at this. BIRDMAN has to be one of the best debuts I have read. And like Bauer, she constantly surprises the reader. I want a compulsive plot but more than anything, I want something that is psychologically gripping. Two recent novels nail this – THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins and THE BOOK OF YOU by Claire Kendal (whom I represent). Other writers? Too many to name but here are a few – William McIlvanny, Ian Rankin, Pierre Lemaitre and another cracking debut from last year, I AM PILGRIM


Q. Why did you launch the Criminal Lines contest? What would you really love it to achieve?
Easy question: to discover new, original voices writing in the crime and thriller genre and launch them to super-stardom! Long term, we want A.M.Heath to be the first port of call for any crime and thriller writer.


Q. What are the most exciting frontiers in crime & thriller fiction at the moment? What themes / approaches really appeal?
Books that span genres. ELIZABETH IS MISSING is a great example – part crime, part literary fiction. THE SHINING GIRLS by Lauren Beukes (repped by my colleague, Oli Munson) is another, although very different in approach. The boundaries of the Crime/Thriller genre have expanded and that makes for even more interesting books (as well as larger audiences!)


Q. What books/authors do you love in literary/historical/book group fiction? Examples and reasons, please!
 Anything by Cormac McCarthy but particularly THE BORDER TRILOGY. I love the sparseness to his writing and his ability to conjure the natural world and man’s place in it. A short, brilliant novel called THE DIG by Cynan Jones (whom I represent) contains nods to McCarthy in its evocation of nature and its almost Biblical style of writing. I thought THE SHOCK OF THE FALL, THE ROSIE PROJECT and ELIZABETH IS MISSING were all very impressive, treating sensitive subjects humanely but with humour, and all told in stand-out voices.


Q. How about sci-fi/horror/fantasy/paranormal/YA dystopian/erotic? What would you be interested in, and what’s a big no?
Who can fail to be enthralled by TITUS GROAN and GORMENGHAST by Mervyn Peake. Steerpike, Mr. Flay, Swelter! Just brilliant. But generally, if it is sci-fi, horror or fantasy, it needs to have a more cross-over appeal than being out and out genre. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir is a good example (great pitch – “Robinson Crusoe on Mars”), as is GAME OF THRONES. Or really stand-out writing that keeps you on your toes – Tom Fletcher (whom I represent) is a great example.


Q. On the non-fiction side, are there particular areas that interest you? Does your non-fiction list have a particular slant to it?
I’m desperate to find a book in the vein of Robert Macfarlane, Roger Deakin, and Patrick Barkham – writing about Nature at its best. Mountaineering literature is a real passion as is Adventure Writing generally. I have LAST MAN OFF by Matt Lewis waiting to be read. I also handle Memoirs – I look for people who are passionate (bordering on obsessive) about something. The ability to communicate this passion can lead to fantastic books.


Q. And are there any areas of zero interest to you in non-fiction? What would you NOT want to see?
Heavy History or Biography.


Q. What (very roughly) is the balance of your list between literary fiction / commercial fiction / non-fiction?
60% commercial fiction, 30% literary fiction, 10% non-fiction


Q. Is there anything in particular you’d love to see at the moment?
- A thriller with the narrative horse-power of an F1 racing car and a hook that will make me think – “damn, why didn’t I think of that!”
- a quirky, whip-smart comedy


Q. What’s your biggest turn-off in a covering letter? What would you really hope to see?
5 pages of synopsis, bad spelling, being addressed by the name of a rival agent (yes, it has happened). Would hope to read something that is concise and gives a clear indication that the author knows what market their book is aimed at. Oh, and being addressed by my name.


Q. What’s the best premise of a novel you’ve seen recently?
MAD MAX meets TRUE GRIT narrated by a 17-year-old woman akin to Lisbeth Salander! (in fact, I’ve just sold it)


Q. What are your biggest peeves in an opening page or opening chapter?
Someone waking up. Someone waking up hung-over. Someone waking up hung-over who then goes on to relate his morning routine. Stop it.


Q. Why is crime fiction cool?
It can be both entertainment as well as social commentary. At its best it can make the reader think “there but for the grace of god”.


Q. Do you have any unpredictable loves?
Despite my name, I’m not Welsh. But I’ve spent a lot of time there, particularly around the Welsh Marches, so anything with a Welsh flavour I’m interested in.


Q. Would you take on an author who had self-published? What kind of self-pub sales would make you sit up?
Yes if I liked the book. 50,000 and above.


Q. What single piece of advice would you most want to give writers?
Two pieces: Know your market, and, Persevere


Q. How many submissions do you see annually? And how many of those submissions will end up on your list?
Loads. I may take on 3 or 4 of those.


Q. Do you look for social media and online presence? Do you care?
Not at the outset. It is about the book first and foremost. I’ll discuss Social Media with them at a later stage and whether it is something they do or would like to do.


Q. When people are pitching the concept for a book to you, what do you find is the most common failing?
That they don’t pitch the concept itself but the entire story, all 350 pages of it!

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes
Follow on Twitter:
@EuanThorneycrof
Interesting links:
http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/blog/and-were-live-for-another-year-criminal-lines-2015-is-officially-open/
Clients:
Jamie Andrew, Simon Beaufort, Angus Bell, Parker Bilal, Jasmine Birtles, Kate Bradbury, Nick Brooks, Steve Cavanagh, Andy Cave, Julie Corbin, Sophie Coulombeau, Andrea Cremer, Fflur Dafydd, Stevie Davies, Robert Dinsdale, Kate Ellis, Peter Berresford Ellis, RJ Ellory, John Fenton, Roshi Fernando, Bob Fischer, Tom Fletcher, Kathryn Fox, Vanessa Gebbie, Helen Graves, Susanna Gregory, Guy Grieve, Steve Hamilton, Dave Hamilton, Justin Irwin, Steven Jacobi, Bill James, Kerry Jamieson, Cynan Jones, Harry Karlinsky, Claire Kendal, Niyati Keni, Tim Kevan, Maha Khan Phillips, Simon Majumdar, Jennifer McCartney, Matt McGee, Robert McGill, Carol McGuigan, Hilary Norman, Karen Paolillo, Matthew Plampin, Tim Pritchard, Ben Richards, Matt Rudd, Graeme Shimmin, Eleanor Thom, Peter Tremayne, Gijs van Hensbergen, MD Villiers, James Wheatley, Tim Willocks, Peter Woolf
Full client list:
http://www.amheath.com/
Email address:
jo.thompson@amheath.com

Agents of: AM Heath and Co

Agency details

Website:
http://www.amheath.com/
About the agency:
Founded in 1919, A.M.Heath is one of the UKs leading literary agencies. We represent established contemporary authors, rising stars and some of the iconic writers of the 20th Century. Our focus is on working with authors to exploit the potential of their writing in as many arenas as possible. Our agents work closely together to ensure that we cover all areas of the business and each author benefits from the shared expertise of our tight-knit and supportive team. Between us we represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction; journalists, historians, biographers, experts and novelists across all genres, from crime to literary, historical to YA and childrens. We are also proud to represent several major literary estates, including the Orwell estate.
Address for submissions:
6 Warwick Court, Holborn, London WC1R 5DJ
Office address:
No data
Email address:
http://www.amheath.com/contact.php
Phone number:
0207 242 2811
Number of agents:
7
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
We have all found exciting new talent through the unsolicited submissions and are keen to continue doing so. We want to hear from you and look forward to reading your work. We are no longer accepting paper submissions. Instead, we'd like you to submit online, by filling in the form that you can click to at the bottom of this page. The form will ask you for your contact details and for some information about your submission (for example, what genre it falls into, whether it's finished or a work in progress). It will then ask you to insert a covering letter (maximum 500 words) and a synopsis of the work (maximum 1,500 words). You can either type these directly into the form, or copy and paste them from elsewhere. And, finally, the form will ask you to upload a word file containing your submission (.doc or .docx - please do not upload a pdf).
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
4 days
Agency Transparency Index:
57/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
No data
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@amheathltd
Latest news:
http://www.amheath.com/news.php
More about the agency:
Founded in 1919, A.M.Heath is one of the UKs leading literary agencies. We represent established contemporary authors, rising stars and some of the iconic writers of the 20th Century. Our focus is on working with authors to exploit the potential of their writing in as many arenas as possible. Our agents work closely together to ensure that we cover all areas of the business and each author benefits from the shared expertise of our tight-knit and supportive team. Between us we represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction; journalists, historians, biographers, experts and novelists across all genres, from crime to literary, historical to YA and childrens. We are also proud to represent several major literary estates, including the Orwell estate.

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