Nathan Bransford is a former literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and is the author of the Jacob Wonderbar series and How to Write a Novel, which bestselling author Ransom Riggs called “The best how-to-write-a-novel book I've read."
At Curtis Brown Ltd., Nathan represented a wide range of authors and literary estates, including Barry Gifford, Lisa Brackmann, Jennifer Hubbard, and the estates of Winston Churchill, Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell, and John Godey.
Books he's edited for clients include Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann, the first installment in the New York Times bestselling Ellie McEnroe series and one of Amazon’s Top 100 novels of 2010, Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, and Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, a New York Times Notable Book of 2015.
Nathan's writing blog has consistently been named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writers Digest. He's dedicated to helping authors write what they love, navigate the publishing process, and successfully market their books.
His select booklist can be found below.
Iraq vet Ellie McEnroe, injured in combat and recently divorced, is lying low in Beijing. After two years living in China on a semi-expired visa, she’s acquired decent language skills, a sometimes boyfriend, and the hope that someday she can forget what she saw in battle - horrors that haunt her every time she closes her eyes. She’s a stranger in a strange land, her wounded leg is killing her, and her neighbor keeps threatening to report her to the Public Security Bureau, but she’s hanging in there. For now.
Then a chance connection with an Uighur man - a Chinese Muslim minority - plunges her into a world of mysterious government operatives, art dealers, and a dark organization operating in the shadows of a popular online game. When her lover - the artist Lao Zhang - disappears, Ellie needs to figure out who she can trust, and fast. Because the trauma of her past may pale in comparison to the danger she now faces. This taut, gritty thriller brings the complexities of modern urban China visceral life.
Michelle Mason tells herself she’s on vacation, just a brief stay in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta. It’s a chance to figure out her next move after the unexpected death of her banker husband, who’s left behind a scandal and a pile of debt. The trip was already paid for, and it beats crashing in her sister’s spare room. When a good-looking man named Daniel approaches her on the beach, the margaritas have kicked in and she decides: why not?
But the date doesn’t go as either of them planned. After an assault on Daniel in her hotel room, switched cell phones, and an encounter with a “friend” of Daniel, Michelle finds herself enmeshed in a covert operation involving drug runners, goons, and venture capitalists. Michelle already knows she’s caught in a dangerous trap. But she quickly finds that running is not an option. If she’s not careful, she’ll end up buried in the town dump with the rest of the trash. Now she needs to fight smart if she wants to survive her vacation.
“fast-paced and hilarious” - Booklist
Out-of-this-world antics in this hysterical middle-grade adventure!
Sixth-grader Jacob Wonderbar is a master when it comes to disarming and annihilating substitute teachers. But when he and his best friends, Sarah and Dexter, swap a spaceship for a corn dog, they embark on an outer space adventure. And between breaking the universe with an epic explosion, being kidnapped by a space pirate, and surviving a planet that reeks of burp breath, Jacob and his friends are in way over their heads.
Action packed with an added dose of heart, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow is sure to captivate middlegrade readers all over the universe.
"[Readers] will enjoy the story's gadgets and broad (bodily function-focused) humor." - Booklist
"Bransford's second slapstick space saga is as much fun as the first." - Kirkus
Presidential campaigns are all fun and games until someone threatens to blow up your home planet
When Jacob Wonderbar receives a message that he's been nominated for President of the Universe, he, Sarah Daisy, and Dexter immediately return to space. But Jacob's archnemesis, Prince Mick Cracken, is running as well, and his campaign tactics involve kidnappings and rogue space monkeys.
After surviving corndog-eating contests and insult debates, Jacob discovers the stakes for this election are even higher than he imagined: A military group wants to destroy Planet Earth, and the President of the Universe is the only person who can stop them.
Hold on to your space helmet - Nathan Bransford's second book in the Jacob Wonderbar series is packed with planet-hopping adventure, hilarity, and heart.
Jacob Wonderbar must have hit a time warp on his way home after losing the election for President of the Universe, because fifty years have passed on Earth. What's worse, during that time the entire Astral society has come under threat of destruction, and it's up to Jacob to make things--including time itself--right. So, with the unlikely help of Mick Cracken, Jacob time-hops through the universe with Sarah Daisy and Dexter, encountering dinosaurs, Napoleon, and bad '80s fashion in their search for the one person who can help them--Jacob's father.
"The perfect dark fantasy." - Kat Richardson
Jackie Rutledge has faced down everything from the darkest sorcery to uber-vengeful revenants. But heading up the Bureau's special paranormal unit is presenting unexpected challenges. Handling otherworldly egos and politics has never come easy to this loner agent. And opening up to her sexy vampire lover, Nick, is as unnerving as her unwanted new ability to slip between the realms of the living and the dead...
Now an insidious power holding helpless ghosts in thrall is using any means necessary to discredit Jackie and split her team apart for good. The only chance she has means baiting the terrifying Deadworld being stalking her dreams, hunting her every step--and growing ever more hungry for her ultimate sacrifice...
"An absolutely satisfying tale." - School Library Journal
Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.
Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one, not even Julia's boyfriend, knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death.
When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?
Hubbard is outstandingly successful at capturing the frustration of not having the words, especially in a culture that does not encourage boys to express what Ryan is feeling.” - Publishers Weekly starred review
A dark and provocative novel from the author of The Secret Year
Ryan spends most of his time alone at the local waterfall because it's the only thing that makes him feel alive. He's sixteen, post-suicidal, and trying to figure out what to do with himself after a stint in a mental hospital. Then Nicki barges into his world, brimming with life and energy, and asking questions about Ryan's depression that no one else has ever been brave enough - or cared enough - to ask. Ryan isn't sure why he trusts Nicki with his darkest secrets, but that trust turns out to be the catalyst that he desperately needs to start living again.
"Magnificent." - Holly Black, New York Times Book Review
Come to the crossroads, to the crossroads come
Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears...Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.
Where the powers converge and become one
With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one - and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come.
"A fun and exciting melee of romance, roundhouse kicks and espionage that will keep you guessing until the end." - Amanda Sun, author of the Paper Gods series (Ink and Rain)
A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable - but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city.
Or at least he thought he did.
When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato - newest ninja recruit and his best friend’s crush - and sets out to uncover the killer's identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined.
As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.
“Debut author Natalie Whipple deftly explores painfully real teen experience through delightfully unreal stories. Transparent is a smart, funny, tense gem of a book, and Fiona claims a spot as one of my favorite heroines.” - Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy
Transparent’s Fiona McClean could be a superhero. She has a mutation that allows her to become invisible. But her father, a Las Vegas crime lord, forces her to use her power for evil. Since she was five, she’s been stealing cars, robbing banks, and spying on people.
Fiona’s had enough, so she escapes to a small town far from her father’s reach. Happiness is hard to find surrounded by a mother she hates, a brother she can’t trust, and a guy at school she can’t stand, but Fiona manages to make some friends. And when her father finally tracks her down, Fiona discovers how far she’ll go to protect everyone she’s come to love.
"Think, an Indian Jonathan Swift turns to magical realism with a message for readers everywhere." - Collin Piprell, author of Kicking Dogs
There’s nothing more dangerous than a book no one has read. All that Patros Patranobis wants is to be left alone – to live his ordinary, unremarkable life with Rose, the woman he has not married, and Tippy, the son he has not fathered. But one day, he receives a mysterious, metal-bound book, a bequest from a long-dead ancestor. In its pages, he is told, are answers to all the world’s problems. There’s only one hitch: The Book of Answers is locked. Its key is hidden somewhere in Kerala. But Patros doesn’t really want to make the world a better place. Eager to be rid of this burdensome book, he sells it to a junk shop. And that is when the madness begins...
"It offers up a plethora of insightful information and honest, useful, realistic advice. This is easily one of my favorite books on the craft, and with good reason." - Shona Moyce, author of Blood's Veil and the fantasy series Immisceo
"Nathan Bransford's primer is full of thoughtful, time-proven advice on how to write a novel. Nathan can sound both like a reassuring friend and a tough, no-nonsense coach. Whatever kind of novel you're writing, Nathan's insights will make you think about your process and help you find your own way to success." - Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Downfall
Read the guide that New York Times bestselling author Ransom Riggs called “The best how-to-write-a-novel book I’ve read.”
The most important thing to know about writing a novel is this: You can do it. And if you've already written one, you can write an even better one. Author and former literary agent Nathan Bransford shares his secrets for creating killer plots, fleshing out your first ideas, crafting compelling characters, and staying sane in the process.