GumboWriters had an opportunity to speak with Reka Simonsen, editor at Henry Holt. Here's what Reka had to say:
Why did you decide to become an editor, Reka?
I'd always loved children's books but didn't want to be a writer or a teacher. I wasn't really aware that there was a third option until I was working in a children's bookstore and learned more about the process of turning a rough manuscript into a finished book. A coworker there did freelance editorial work for a publishing company, and he gave me a chance to get my foot in the door.
What are some books you've acquired that you're most excited about?
Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sean Qualls
The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio by Lloyd Alexander
The Melvin Beederman, Superhero series by Greg Trine, illustrated by Rhode Montijo
Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal (will be published next spring)
When an author agent sends you a manuscript what makes you get excited about it?
It always comes down to the writing. Brilliant writing, whether the style is lyrical or painful or fantastical or funny or terrifying, is what makes a book sink or swim.
How can a writer keep from being at the bottom of the slush pile?
I try to look at the first page of everything pretty quickly, so if that first page piques my interest, I'm likely to bring it home to read overnight, or at least as quickly as I can.
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