Right now, I’m excitedly clapping my hands together and sporting a huge smile, as Martha Mihalick is the next guest on The Red Sofa Chats. I’ve loved following her on Twitter, appreciate her insight and thoughts on publishing, and share similiar reading tastes with her. Plus Martha is an editor who has made herself very accessible to readers AND writers in the Twitterverse. This is a huge deal, as I’m constantly reminding people that publishing is a team effort vs. a “me” or “I” mentality.
Martha is also adding a little spice to today’s chats, in that for the next two weeks. We’ll be having a drawing for Rae Carson’s book, THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. So make sure to leave question or comment for Martha on here! We’ll be choosing the winner on June 16th. So enjoy! And make sure to follow Martha on Twitter!
Bio: Martha Mihalick is the associate editor at Greenwillow Books. In her nearly ten years at Greenwillow, she has worked with many acclaimed authors and artists, including Kevin Henkes, Lynne Rae Perkins, Megan Whalen Turner, Peter Sis, and Naomi Shihab Nye. She edits books spanning all age ranges, from picture books to edgy teen novels. Some recent books she has edited include Entwined by Heather Dixon, Nightspell by Leah Cypess, A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford, and the forthcoming The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. You can find her on the internet at marthamihalick.com and on twitter as @marthamihalick. Plus you can see what Greenwillow Books is up to at greenwillowblog.com.
1. Why did you choose to become a children’s book editor?
Books have always meant a lot to me, and I think the books I read as a kid and a teenager have meant the most. I feel that I am who I am because of Matilda, A Wrinkle in Time, The Secret Garden, the Drina ballerina books, Narnia, Tamora Pierce’s Alanna books, and Robin McKinley’s Beauty, among many others. I wanted to be part of giving other children the books that will help them find themselves. And there’s absolutely nothing better to me than reading an author’s story and helping him or her to make it the strongest it can be.
2. Are there any projects you wish you could have edited?
Oh, well, sure! I see deals on Publishers Lunch that make me feel pangs of “Oh, I wish I’d seen that!” And I admire—and love—so many of my friends’ and colleagues’ books. But I think that books and authors find the right editor for them. That said, I’d love to see more manuscripts that have the creepy, dreamy quality of Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls, or the adrenaline rush of The Hunger Games, or the humor of the Scott Pilgrim books.
3. What are you reading right now (for personal reading, for fun)?
What’s this “personal reading” you speak of? Honestly, I’m mostly trying to get on top of my submissions right now. I haven’t finished a non-work book since my vacation at the beginning of February. But I’m slowly finding time to reread Fire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. And I’ve started two grown-up books, but have not gotten very far: Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and Bonk by Mary Roach. My to-read piles are gradually overtaking my apartment.
4. How do you utilize Twitter? How do you believe it has changed the way we go about publishing children’s books?
I use twitter to talk to fellow editors, to agents, authors, librarians, booksellers, and sometimes even non-publishing friends (gasp!). It’s terrific for talking about books and making connections and generally being kind of a nerd and finding others who are, too. I don’t think it’s changed how we publish books, but it’s certainly helped me get to know people and to see the community that can form around books. The children’s book community is particularly genuine and supportive, so it’s a nice medium for everyone to share that enthusiasm.
5. If you had a crystal ball, where do you think (or hope) publishing will be in 5 yrs?
Jeeeez. I think (and hope!) that we will still be publishing good books and getting them into the hands of readers. The processes and even formats may change, but stories are always going to be important, and helping to make stories the best they can be and get them to readers are at the heart of publishing.
Thank you so much Martha! Questions, thoughts? Let us know what you think!