Coffee & Conversation with Thao Le: From Dreaming to Doing Conference

Happy Friday, everyone! Once again, we are continuing with our series of From Dreaming to Doing SCBWI Conference interviews with some of our amazing guest speakers! This has been our tradition for years since they’re such a great way to get to know our faculty. Like, for example, Patricia Hruby Powell likes her margarita glasses rimmed with pepper. That’s pretty impressive. And if you’re a Princess Bride fan, you’ll soon find out you have something in common with today’s guest, Thao Le!

So if you have missed any of our previous interviews, be sure to click on the links below. Also, please subscribe since there are many more to come, plus some conference tips!

Today we have literary agent, Thao Le in the cyber chair!

thao-leThao has been a literary agent at the Dijkstra Agency since 2011. She graduated from the University of California – San Diego with a degree in Management Science and Chinese Studies. In addition to agenting, she also handles the agency’s financials and select contracts. Thao is looking for: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Picture Books by author/illustrators, Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and is selectively open to Romance. She drawn to heartfelt writing with an authentic voice and stories rooted in mythology with atmospheric settings and strong world building. She is most excited to add more writers of diversity (including, but not limited to, all ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical health, and socioeconomic status) to her client list.

Thao will be speaking twice on Saturday:

Saturday, 2:00-2:50 PM: The Art of Revising

Learn how to effectively revise a book. Thao will discuss what an R&R request means, how to make the most of the opportunity when an agent requests an R&R, and ten tips on how to tackle a revision.

Saturday, 4:15 PM-4:50 PM: Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel

A panel discussion with Chad Beckerman, Liz Kossnar, Thao Le, Andrea Morrison, Alyssa Nassner, Leila Sales, and Jessica Sinsheimer (Monocacy Hall)

And now, on to the interview!

First question, Thao. What was your favorite book as a child?  

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt


As a teen?

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones


And now, as an adult?

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas


You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)

I would put it towards the Ikea PS 2014 lamp (the one that looks like the Death Star). I have no place to actually put it, but did I mention that it looks like the Death Star? My inner geek has been coveting it for a while.


Now THAT’S awesomely frivolous. Love it! Okay, you’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read!  What’s the first book you crack open? 

I should probably work through my slush pile! Ha! But for pleasure reading I’m itching to read Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. I’m a huge fan of the film Labyrinth and I’m dying to read this retelling!

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now? 

An animator. I was very big on anime and manga in high school and was positive that I’d move to Japan and start working for Studio Ghibli. My practical parents and the super expensive art school tuition nixed that idea. But I never let go of wanting to work in a creative field, particularly in regards to storytelling and here I am today working with some amazing storytellers!

For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author or artist you want.  Who do you pick?

Diana Wynne Jones, hands down. I sobbed when I found out she died. She’s been my literary hero since I first discovered her books in middle school.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Binge watching TV shows with ice cream and snacks in bed.

If you could sum up your best advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?

Keep honing your craft.

Time for the lightning round! What’s your favorite…

Book to movie adaptation? The Princess Bride

Music to listen to while working? Vitamin String Quartet

Book title? Something Wicked This Way Comes

Book cover? Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman


Pair of shoes? Flats!

Guilty pleasure? Pinterest DIYs

Line from a movie? “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

Thank you so much for stopping by, Thao, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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