An Interview With Nikki Terpilowski


This week we’re chatting with owner of Holloway Literary and senior agent, Nikki Terpilowski. And we’re talking time management, travel, advice to writers and music.

As a literary agent, business owner, military wife and mother how do you manage to keep a work-life balance?

I try to schedule my time as often as possible. I could probably use a project manager for my life generally. 🙂 Because I work at home, there’s always the temptation to work on weekends and at night, so I try to keep hard and fast rules about when I work, when I’m spending time with my family, when I’m relaxing… exercising… If I don’t, there’s a possibility that tasks and activities fall through the cracks.

In the midst of all your roles, what are some of the ways you manage stress?

I meditate, daily, practice Yin yoga two to three times a week and exercise. Long, hot baths in lavender essential oils and Epsom salts plus a glass of wine or Kava is a weekend indulgence. And lastly, if I’m on the verge of burnout, I veg out and binge TV.

What drew you to becoming a literary agent?

A love of books. I wrote my first book in third grade for a class project. It had a cover, illustrations… everything. I was just hooked. I used to read 7-10 books a week when I was in high school… just a real bookworm. Being a literary agent seemed like the natural next step for me professionally.

If the perfect manuscript were to land in your inbox tomorrow, what would it look like?

It would be magical realism set in a southern town a la Sarah Addison Allen, a cozy mystery featuring books or food, or maybe a thriller similar to Vince Flynn’s work.

Any advice for authors currently submitting their work to you?

Sure. 1. Send me what I’m interested in reading. 2. Make sure your query reads like butter. 3. You should’ve already studied your craft and written the best possible novel 4. You should’ve already had your manuscript beta read and revised accordingly. After that, hit send!

What are some of your favorite books?

Anything by Charles Frazier, Sarah Addison Allen, Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende… Ellen Crosby.

Outside of reading, what are your favorite things to do?

Traveling, cooking for fun (but who has the time???)

What have been your favorite places to visit?

Napa, Italy, the mountains of NC and VA, New Orleans… Hawaii. I love any city that has lots of history, character and natural beauty.

What are some of the places you haven’t been to but want to see?

The UK

You’ve said before that you’re a “foodie,” and that you’re a big fan of southern food. What are some of your all-time favorites?

I’m generally a low-carber and try to eat more vegetables than not, but southern staples like fried chicken and biscuits, fried okra and sweet potatoes that are not a true reflection of how I eat now though. Now, it’s more like I begin my day with a cup of Siggis, sautéed arugula with toasted pecans for lunch and salmon with mashed cauliflower for dinner. Not very southern, I’m afraid.

What’s your favorite music?

Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Corinne Bailey Rae, Sam Hunt… and the Moana
soundtrack. lol Seriously love that movie and the music.  But Rae and Hunt? Great music and lyrics… and I can listen to it around my kids! And listening to Sam Hunt (and Jason Aldean) ALWAYS makes me crave a cowboy romance. (#MSWL)

Interested in submitting a query to Nikki? Find out more here.