top of page

Our Team

ali website.webp
DonnaHeadsot #2_JPG.webp
Erika Headshot.jpg
Karen Solem, Founder

Karen founded Spencerhill Associates in 2001. While her list is full and she is no longer accepting new clients, she represents a broad range of commercial fiction and a number of her clients have become New York Times bestsellers. With many years of publishing experience across the industry, she brings an editorial as well as a business background to assist Spencerhill's authors.

Karen prefers literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction, primarily for the adult market. She loves to read richly detailed historicals or historical suspense, big sprawling family sagas, and engrossing women’s fiction. She especially enjoys southern women’s fiction; and given her passion for animals, has a soft spot for work involving dogs, horses or the natural world. She loves a great suspense novel and especially those with a psychological hook.

Nalini Akolekar, President

Nalini Akolekar joined Spencerhill Associates after a lengthy editorial career and several years in advertising sales. Working as an agent has provided the perfect opportunity to combine her editorial instincts with her sales, marketing, and business experience. Nalini loves nothing more than discovering and nurturing talented authors. She likes to build strong, long-term relationships with her clients and keep open lines of communication.

Nalini primarily represents commercial fiction. She is always interested in seeing new women’s fiction, romance, historical fiction, thrillers and horror.  Nalini maintains a diverse client list and loves to find exciting new voices that utilize elements of different genres to tell their story.

Nalini has two adult children and lives among a pack of very poorly behaved dogs who love to interrupt her when she is on the phone and a beautiful cat named Jakk who delights in winding them up.

​Sandy Harding, Literary Agent

Prior to joining Spencerhill in September 2015, Sandy Harding spent fifteen years at Penguin Random House and Penguin Group USA, most recently as a senior editor at NAL.  In earlier days she earned an MA in American Literature at NYU and taught expository writing.  As an editor she was fortunate to work with New York Times bestselling authors, but she also loved discovering new writers in unexpected places and nurturing both their manuscripts and their careers. She’s excited to bring this passion to agenting as she works to build her client list.

Sandy is seeking mainly upmarket commercial and literary fiction for the adult market.  She enjoys women’s fiction for book clubs, smart page-turning thrillers, works of suspense with complex protagonists, mysteries of all sorts (cozies, historical, traditional), and romance. Most of all she’s seeking writing with a voice so penetrating and a story so captivating the reader simply must keep reading.

Ali Herring, Literary Agent

Ali joined Spencerhill in 2017. She represents a broad range of upmarket and commercial fiction, and is proud to represent, among others, Bram-Stoker nominated author of The Clackity, Lora Senf, bestselling inspirational author Kristin Billerbeck, and finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for distinguished science fiction and winner of the Pen New England Susan P. Bloom Children's Book Discovery Award, Kristy Acevedo. A former magazine associate editor, Ali has a diverse background in communications and editorial. She graduated valedictorian of her class at Berry College in 2001, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She is seeking middle grade and young adult fiction in all genres, science fiction and fantasy, romance, women’s fiction, and inspirational fiction, especially category and single-title romance. She particularly likes high-concept commercial fiction with a literary flair. If you'd like a better idea of her interests, you can find her on Twitter, @HerringAli, where she regularly posts #MSWL's. Please query her only via the Query Manager link under the submission's tab.

Donna Pieszala, Office Administrator & Royalties Manager

Originally from Western New York, Donna and her family moved to Florida in 2013. She previously worked for the Pittsburgh Pirates before joining Spencerhill Associates. Donna manages the day to day office tasks, is responsible for maintaining all of the records of the organization, she ensures that the royalty payments are made, handles contract reversions and pretty much anything else that comes along. She and her husband have 2 children & 4 grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with her family and going to the beach.

Erika Staiger, Assistant

Erika Staiger re-joined Spencerhill as an assistant in 2024, following a semester-long internship in 2018. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of South Florida, where she also taught creative writing and worked as a writing tutor. After graduation, she worked in higher education at the University of Central Florida and as a trivia writer for Rez Events. At Spencerhill, Erika is primarily responsible for reading and responding to query submissions. Her greatest ambition in life is to turn her house into the library from Beauty and the Beast. While she reads a wide variety of genres, some of her favorites are fantasy, romance, and historical fiction centered on the lives of women. She lives in Orlando with her husband and their three pets, a cat, a chihuahua, and a geriatric rabbit.

bottom of page