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In the heart of old Louisville...


Natalia Aponte, Publisher


I’ve been in the book business since the mid-1980s, when I got fed up with graduate school in my home state of New Jersey and decided that “girls just want to have fun” working in New York City. My first job in publishing was at the B.Dalton bookstore in Manhattan’s Wall Street district. It was a dream job, but that bookstore on Maiden Lane is long gone, of course. I went on to work as a book buyer at both of Manhattan’s book wholesalers and distributors - but not at the same time😉. 

In 1990 I was thrilled to join Tor Books, now part of Macmillan, as a marketing assistant. I jumped over to the editorial department soon after as an assistant editor, and eventually landed as a senior editor. In 2000 my daughter was born. I wanted to work from home, so I founded the Aponte Literary Agency. In 2017, I founded Burns and Lea Books with my business partner Victoria Lea.

Now I have the thrill of working with writers, new books, and new ideas every day. I’m immersed in words, pages, regular ink, and e-ink, and book people every day, and that is just how I like it!

I read in a wide range of genres, with special affection for anything gothic-y or Shirley-Jackson-creepy, or cross-genre. Historical novels set before 1900 are great, as well as psychological thrillers, low-gore horror, and anything where words are used with care, love, and imagination.

Victoria Lea, Co-publisher and CEO

I’m the “Lea" part of Burns and Lea Books. I started in publishing as an agent with the Aponte Literary Agency years ago.My degree is in psychology and before publishing I was a social worker.

I’m always looking for the next BIG book,  especially if it’s in science fiction or fantasy, and crossover, epic, literary or mash-up. I’m looking for upmarket and literary fiction; Stories with strong characters that crossover into magical realism, fantasy, history or adventure; Speculative fiction that explores themes of racism, misogyny, class struggles and philosophical inquiry like Mary Doria Russel, Octavia Butler and Margaret Atwood; Alien life forms and first encounters like Children of God and The Sparrow; Fantasy, magic and parallel universe like The Dark Tower series; and a wide range of Science Fiction like 1984, The Children of Men, The Martian and Dust.

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