Camilla Bolton

Managing Director & Agent

My focus is to find authors and books that will become future bestsellers and brands. I specialise in mysteries, suspense, thrillers, crime and book club fiction, but I’m also a huge fan of anything that embodies the natural world, speculative and epic high-concept stories.

Camilla joined the Agency in 2007 and was named as a publishing Rising Star by The Bookseller in 2013 and shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year in 2022. She has built the fastest growing new commercial brands in the thriller market with five of her authors having sold over a million copies in the UK alone.

Her list includes many Sunday Times, New York Times and No.1 ebook global bestsellers. Her authors have been picked for Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club, BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club and she’s had five Richard & Judy Book Club Picks. Multiple of her books have been adapted for the screen and shown on BBC 1, Channel 5 and Netflix.

As an Agent she works very closely with her authors both editorially and strategically in their career planning. She is dogged in getting the very best contract terms and top advance levels, negotiating six-figure and seven-figure deals in the UK and US.

Camilla studied Psychology and English Literature at Cardiff University. After gaining a distinction from the University of the Arts, she went on to work for a national newspaper before joining the Agency.

 

My Wishlist

I love characters and stories that spark global word-of-mouth excitement. That buzz of ‘have you read…’
Favourite Genres
  • Mystery
  • Police Procedural
  • Suspense
  • Psychological Suspense
  • Literary Crime
  • Speculative
  • Crime
  • Thriller
  • Book Club

My focus is to find authors and books that will become future bestsellers and brands. I specialise in mysteries, suspense, thrillers, crime and book club fiction, but I’m also a huge fan of anything that embodies the natural world, speculative and epic high-concept stories.

The characters and stories I love all offer some form of escapism.

Character

I love a series and am searching for a new series character that has fresh expertise and intelligence in the commercial crime arena – a detective, a medical examiner, a PI, a forensic investigator, even a cyber specialist. The role doesn’t matter so much to me, what’s key is they make us, the reader, believe we are experts too.

In real life I know so many inspiring and remarkable women and I would love to find a new fictional female protagonist take on the crime thriller world and become a household name. I grew up obsessed with Patricia Cornwell’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta; she is super smart and such an authentic character – I was inspired by everything about her.

To counter an amazing protagonist, it is key to give your protagonist the absolute best opposition and make an antagonist a genius too. I love a battle of brains. The main character will always win and outsmart at the end, but it should never be easy getting there.

I’ve also been looking for an ensemble cast for a long time – I grew up reading Jilly Cooper and watching Soldier, Soldier. A series with multiple characters to fall in love with, based around a self-contained world like the armed forces, where at the core of the stories you have loyalty, betrayal, death, love and friendship.

Richard Osman’s series and cast of characters are an amazing example of everything I’m looking for. It’s genius. He has incredible characters that are at the frontline of mortality in such a clever way; they have decades of knowledge and use this to laugh in the face of stereotype, whilst taking risks, watching each other’s backs and not listening to rules.

Plot

I love characters and stories that spark global word-of-mouth excitement. That buzz of ‘have you read…’

Please do send any kind of thriller to me that takes a character through a life changing journey on top of throwing epic twists and turns and suspense at the reader. Characters that have a personal story, have made mistakes and are having to face the reality and consequence of their decisions in some capacity. S. A. Cosby’s Razorblade Tears is an incredible example of how character and plot can work beautifully and effortlessly together to elevate a story.

Dicken’s ghost novella A Christmas Carol is also a story that haunts and intrigues me.

The idea of looking back on one person’s life turning points and expanding on the ‘what if’ concept is something I’d love to explore, be it in a very voice driven book club title like The Time Traveller’s Wife, or as a huge page-turning thriller.

I would also love a plot that is set up with a big commercial accessible hook and as a reader you think you know what you’re going to read, and then bam! the plot totally keeps you on your toes. Catherine Ryan Howard’s The Nothing Man and 56 Days plus John Marrs The One are all titles that do this incredibly well.

Place

Nature in its raw dangerous beauty is something I adore in fiction.

To tell a gripping story where the natural world is as big a character as the protagonist is something I’d love to find.

This idea of place is why I loved Delia Owen’s Where the Crawdads Sing, Miranda Cowley Heller’s The Paper Palace and Nicholas Evans’ The Horse Whisperer so much.

Touching on the concept of a ‘world’, you can take the beauty and the beast of being a human alongside the beauty and the beast of nature. Or extend this into the speculative as Hugh Howey did with the epic Wool trilogy and Justin Cronin in The Passage trilogy.

A slight wildcard on my wish list is I would love to find an epic anthropomorphic animal fantasy like Robin Jarvis’ Redwall and Deptford Mice trilogy, Richard Adam’s Watership Down or more recently Laline Paul’s The Bees.

How Jarvis’ takes a horde of mice and uses their world to explore themes is incredible. And of course, George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Through escapist fantasy fiction we are forced to push our faces against the glass of humanity and question not just our own morality but as importantly the values and ethics of the world we live in.

Entertainment

Most of all I’m looking for amazing authors who see themselves as long-term writers with lots of exciting, thrilling, surprising stories ahead! To gasp, shudder, cry and laugh on the same page is an incredible experience as a reader. For me, this is entertainment fiction.

Being a writer aiming for the commercial market means working in the business of entertainment and this is what I always pause on before signing a new author; together can we work on books that will entertain millions of readers worldwide?

Books I’ve loved reading:

The Nothing Man, Catherine Ryan Howard

The Man Who Died Twice, Richard Osman

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

Postmortem, Patricia Cornwell

In a Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware

Razorblade Tears, S A Cosby

The Passage, Justin Cronin

We Begin at the End, Chris Whittaker

Missing, Presumed, Susie Steiner

The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson

Wool, Hugh Howey

Such a Fun Age, Keily Reid

When Will There Be Good News¸ Kate Atkinson

The One, John Marrs

Big Little Lies¸ Liane Moriarty

Presumed Innocent, Scott Turrow

House Rules, Jodi Picoult

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

The Other Black Girl, Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Woman in the Window, A J Finn

The Time Travellers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans

The Silent Wife, A. S. A. Harrison

Killing Me Softly, Nicci French

Skeletons, Jane Fallon

The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell

The Enemy, Charlie Higson