Interview with Julie Scheina

By Theresa Rizzo

Date:11/24/09

 

Bio: Julie works on books for all ages, from commercial and literary novels to picture books. Under Megan Tingley, she has worked on books by Mary Ann Hoberman, Julie Anne Peters, Trenton Lee Stewart, and Stephenie Meyer. Julie's recent acquisitions include Jane, a contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre by English professor April Lindner, I am J, an inspiring novel about a transgender teen by award-winning author Cris Beam, and Beautiful Creatures, a gripping gothic paranormal romance by debut authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, which she acquired with Editorial Director Jennifer Hunt.

 

  1. Which categories do you currently acquire?Which category is your favorite?

    Answer:I acquire books for children and teens, from middle grade and YA fiction to quirky character-driver picture books. A few of my favorite genres are historical fiction, mystery, action, adventure, supernatural/fantasy, and fairy-tale retellings.

 

  1. In terms of submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of?

Answer: Iím always looking for novels with strong, compelling voices and a great sense of place Ė I love when the setting becomes a character. Iím less interested in books that seem to be trying to chase trends or repeat past successes.

 

  1. Do you accept unagented and/or email queries?

 

Answer: Unfortunately due to the volume of submissions we receive, Little, Brown Books for Young Readersí policy is not to accept any unsolicited submissions or queries.

 

  1. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial?

 

Answer: Depending on the length of the manuscript, I like to see a synopsis of a page or less Ė enough to introduce the characters, basic plot points and key conflict.

 

  1. What are the compelling elements that you think are necessary for a good
    read?†† What particularly grabs your attention?


    Answer: A compelling, believable voice is always key Ė if the character feels authentic and interesting, Iím immediately pulled in. I love when I put down a manuscript and canít stop thinking about it Ė or better yet, canít put it down until the end.

 

  1. Does meeting an author face-to-face at a conference make a difference in your response time, the submission process, or the rejection process (ie. Form letter vs a few sentences of advice)?

 

Answer: If Iíve met an author at a conference and have requested a project, I try to provide constructive feedback if itís not the right fit for me.

 

  1. Besides the writing, the story and the talent, what are the most important elements you look for in an author, ie. contest wins, cooperativeness, affiliations to writers organizations, knowledge of publishing industry, promotability, etc?

 

 

Answer: Itís good to know if the author has a particular background that could help in promoting their book. A basic familiarity with the publishing industry (the types of books we publish, current childrenís books, etc.) is also helpful when it comes to crafting a query letter and going through the submissions process.

 

  1. What do you love most about your job?

 

Answer: Falling in love with a project, the excitement of acquiring a book and having the first conversation with the author, the editing process, getting to rave about books I love, seeing the first finished copy of a new book, hearing from readers who have read and loved something I worked on Ė thereís so much I love about my job!

 

  1. Do you have any pet peeves?

 

Answer: Receiving submissions that are clearly not in line with what I acquire (such as adult fiction), and reading proposals that spend pages detailing marketing and merchandising opportunities and a only few lines discussing the project itself.

 

  1. Whatís your favorite genre/type of:
    1. Book: Too many to list! One of my perennial favorites is Grimmís Fairy Tales Ė I have a weathered copy with a missing corner I go back to again and again.
    2. Food: Italian
    3. Music: Iím a particular fan of movie soundtracks
    4. Movie: Comedies
    5. Hobbies: Reading, watching movies and tv, travelling, trying to cook

 

  1. What are you addicted to?

Answer: Coffee Ė any kind except decaf.

 

  1. What have you always wanted to do?

Answer: Iíd love to visit Australia.

 

 

  1. Do you have a favorite quote?

Answer: ďIt's kind of fun to do the impossible.Ē Ė Walt Disney