Posts Tagged editor interview

Interview with Stephanie Lurie, Editorial Director of the Rick Riordan Presents imprint at Disney-Hyperion!

Hello Mixed-Up Filers!

Are we in for a treat! A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Stephanie Lurie at a Florida SCBWI conference, as well as take a workshop she was giving. Besides being extremely informative, she couldn’t have been nicer.

If you don’t know her, she’s the Editorial Director of the Rick Riordan Presents imprint at Disney-Hyperion, and I’m thrilled to feature her in the Editor Spotlight!

Hi Stephanie, thanks for joining us today!

JR: You’ve had a long, successful career in publishing. Could you tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an editor, and eventually working for Disney-Hyperion?

SL: Being a children’s book editor was a career choice I made very early on. When I was fifteen, a local bookstore owner asked me to review a book a townsperson had written for young adults. As I read the book, I thought, “Too bad this woman doesn’t know how kids really think.” It was an “aha!” moment for me: I could help authors make their books stronger. I’m not even sure how I knew such a job existed. . . .

I went on to be a creative writing major at Oberlin College, and during the first semester of my senior year, I had an internship for college credit at Dodd, Mead and Company in New York (a publishing house that was ultimately acquired by Thomas Nelson Books). My experience working for a children’s book editor at Dodd, Mead proved to me that I had found my calling. Dodd, Mead offered me a job after college–for a whopping $8,000 a year!–in sales promotion and customer service. I learned a lot, but I wanted to get back to children’s editorial. I jumped over to Little, Brown, where I grew up from editorial assistant to senior editor over twelve years. After that I ran the imprint Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for six years. My next stint was as president and publisher of Dutton Children’s books at Penguin. In my ninth year there, a friend of mine who was working at Disney Hyperion talked me into applying for an editorial director job by saying, “How would you like to do what you are doing at Dutton but not have any other imprints competing for marketing and publicity attention?” That sounded pretty good to me, and over the past decade there I have enjoyed being part of a boutique publisher within a huge entertainment company.

 

JR: That’s some exciting journey! What was the first book you worked on?

SL: I had a generous boss at Little, Brown who allowed me to “cut my teeth” on manuscripts by their top authors at the time, such as Lois Duncan, Ellen Conford, and Matt Christopher. One of the first authors I acquired was Neal Shusterman, who has gone on to be a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Award winner with other editors.

JR: When you first saw The Lightning Thief, what about it appealed to you so much?

SL: Rick Riordan’s first middle grade novel, The Lightning Thief, was acquired at auction before my time at Disney. Rick chose to go with Miramax Books, which eventually became part of Disney-Hyperion. Jennifer Besser (now at Macmillan) edited the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I took over as Rick’s editor after she left, picking up on the Kane Chronicles trilogy. I was amazed by how he made ancient Egyptian mythology relevant to modern readers with exciting adventure, relatable characters, a healthy dose of humor, and a breakneck pace. He makes it look easy.

JR: What’s changed in publishing between the time you started and now?

SL: What hasn’t? I’m so old (How old are you?), I pre-date office computers! Yes, we had to type on Selectrics, using carbon paper. The biggest changes have come from: corporate buy-outs of family-owned companies, which necessitated more attention to the bottom line; the rise of chain bookstores; the Harry Potter phenomenon, which brought hardcover fiction back from the brink of death; the importance of social media in author promotion; Amazon’s dominance; and today, more focus on diversity.

JR: I grew up doing all my reports on typewriters. Slightly easier now. And by the way, I could’ve sworn I heard Gene Rayburn say the “I’m so old” part before you answered (How old are you?) But back to the interview. Disney has recently acquired a lot of new properties. Does that mean anything for the publishing division?

SL: Disney now encompasses several premiere brands, such as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and Fox Entertainment. We can publish against all of these brands, from straight movie tie-ins to extension books that tell new stories based on the characters from the movies. It also means that there is more opportunity for intercompany synergy for authors writing their own IP (intellectual property).

JR: What do you enjoy the most about your job?

SL: I’m having a blast helping Rick curate the Rick Riordan Presents line of middle grade fiction by under-represented authors who want to write stories about their own cultures’ folklore and mythology. I send him submissions to consider, acquire the projects we agree on, edit the manuscripts, and collaborate with my colleagues on book design and promotion.

JR: All that sounds like a tremendous amount of fun. What sort of books do you look for?

SL: For Rick Riordan Presents, we want the same qualities that make Rick’s own books so popular, because the imprint was created to satisfy his fans’ craving for adventure based on mythology. We look for a funny, snarky teenage voice; a fast pace; an exciting, high-stakes plot; and a likeable but flawed protagonist who grows over the course of the story.

JR: The kinds of books I love! Are you very hands-on with your authors?

SL: I’ve always enjoyed helping writers bring out their story by asking pointed questions and making suggestions to improve logic, flow, and clarity. For the Rick Riordan Presents authors, my guidance may be a bit more involved, because there is a certain flavor we are trying to achieve while retaining the author’s own voice. It’s a delicate balance.

JR: What’s the state of publishing right now, in particular, Middle Grade? 

SL: It can be difficult for a book—any book—to break out in this time when there is so much entertainment content for consumers to choose from and there are fewer retail outlets for print. Amazon is grabbing more and more market share, but the online site doesn’t encourage browsing. Buyers who shop there usually go already knowing what they want. This is part of the reason best-selling authors remain best-selling authors and new authors have trouble competing. Authors need to partner more with their publisher on promotion as a result.

JR: Probably more important than ever for authors to get involved in the promotion process. What advice can you give to authors?

SL: The best way to learn to write is to read, read, read, and write, write, write.

Remember that you are communicating with an audience and not just writing to satisfy your own ego.

A good concept isn’t enough by itself. Write the entire manuscript.

You may have to land a literary agent before you can land a publishing deal.

Choosing an agent and editor/publisher is like choosing any partner. Make sure there is good chemistry between you.

Be open to feedback but stand up for what is important to you.

Don’t expect the publication of your book to satisfy all your desires or change your life.

Writing the book is only 50% of the work; promotion after publication is the other 50%.

School visits are still one of the best ways to build word-of-mouth.

Support other authors on your way up, and they will (should) do the same for you.

 

JR: All of that is outstanding advice. In my experience, many authors have been extremely supportive of each other. I think strong relationships are extremely important in that regard. I read that Harriet the Spy was one of your favorite childhood books. I have a few friends who wholeheartedly agree with you. What did you love about it and what other books were among your favorites?

SL: I loved how honest Harriet the Spy was about a kid’s real life—I believe it was one of the first contemporary middle grade novels ever published. To this day I enjoy books in which a well-meaning main character makes a big mistake that causes them humiliation, e.g. The Truth About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. As a kid I also enjoyed animal-based fantasies such as Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. High fantasies such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings stood out, too.

JR: The Narnia books were also among my favorites as a child. Speaking of childhood, what’s one thing from your childhood that you wish could come back?

SL: My fun-loving dad. He taught me to always remain a kid at heart.

JR: Okay, that answer hit me. If there’s one thing I could wish for from then, it would also be to see my dad. How can people follow you on social media?

SL: For publishing news and comments, Twitter is probably the best bet: @SOLurie.

JR: Before we go, is there anything else that you’d like to add?

SL: Thank you for inviting me to answer these questions. I greatly admire authors—both aspiring and published—and wish everyone a fulfilling journey. Your book could be the one that makes a reluctant reader a forever reader, changes a kid’s perspective, and inspires someone else to be a writer.

JR: Extremely true. Thank you again for taking the time to speak with us today!

 

Well, that’s it for now, Mixed-Up Filers. I’d like to once again thank Stephanie Lurie for joining us! And if you ever see her listed to speak at a conference, I strongly suggest you go listen!

Until next time . . .

Editor Spotlight: Hannah Allaman, Disney-Hyperion

What do we mean by Middle Grade?

Hi Hannah, thanks for joining us to talk about your editorial work at Disney-Hyperion. To jump right in: My friends and I have an ongoing debate about what makes a book middle grade. It gets complicated when MG books in the US sell as adult in the UK, or books written as adult get slotted as MG (I know two debuts this year that fit that bill), or when very well received MG books don’t really read as typical MG. I think of novels like Wolf Hollow, which breaks the MG “rules” when the grown-up narrator appears to be telling a story about her distant 12-year-old self. Or a book like Quicksand Pond, where a good bit of the story is narrated from the perspective of a very old woman. So what makes middle grade middle grade?

To me, middle grade is all about that coming of age moment where you’re discovering your own autonomy and independence in complicated ways—those moments when you start taking ownership, making new friendships and exploring new interests, even discovering that your loved ones are flawed and that life isn’t always fair.

Positioning a book a certain way and for a certain audience can be rather subjective, but when I think about my overall list of middle grade titles, I tend to think about hope and humor. Even if it’s not a “funny” book, I think there’s often a sense of levity or lightness in the middle grade space that balances out darker themes kids may be interested in exploring, as well as an ultimate note of hope to buoy the story for younger audiences.

One of my middle grade titles, THE BONE SPARROW by Zana Fraillon, is a novel that sits on the cusp of middle grade and adult because of the heartbreaking topics it explores, but its central thread of hope and friendship feels just right for a middle grade audience.

And related to this, what ever happened to that hot “tween” category we used to hear about? There’s been a lot of convo on social media about the need for “younger YA” that might ride close to the line of “upper MG.” What’s your take on that nebulous readership? Are their needs being addressed?

I’m always, always looking for titles that reach those hinge readers who are moving between categories, because I do think there are gaps where we have greater likelihood of losing readers. We’re publishing more and more into that upper middle grade space with characters who are 13-14, but I think there’s still so much room for younger middle grade that captures readers transitioning out of chapter books (particularly stories with an emphasis on play and imagination), as well as in that younger YA space (especially stories that focus on friendship in those late middle school/early high school years). Those in-between audiences can be hard to capture, but I’m always on the hunt for stories that fill those gaps and meet readers’ needs at all stages.

Hannah’s Middle Grade Wish List

Every genre has trends. Are there any trends now that excite you? Are there any possible trends in MG that you dearly wish will soon have their moment?

I’m really hoping middle grade horror has its moment! There are some incredible new horror selections on shelves—I just finished THE DARKDEEP, by Allie Condie and Brendan Reichs, and I just got my hands on the audiobook of SMALL SPACES, by Katherine Arden. I grew up on a steady diet of R.L. Stine and would love for that type of accessible horror to make a comeback. For me, I think it’s all about that nailing that creepy commercial hook while still delivering a story that’s super voice-driven. I would love to find a horror story that uses a childhood game as a device, like truth or dare—so chilling and creepy and fun!

I also think witches are having a major moment—anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with witches. I like to say that I’m acquiring my own literary coven. But I honestly think they’re cropping up in so many different iterations, from seriously dark to sweet and bubbly. I’m absolutely looking for a charming, whimsical witchy chapter book or young middle grade novel!

I adore this recent crop of voicey, character-driven contemporary middle grade novels with a focus on sports—I loved ROLLER GIRL, by Victoria Jamieson, THE CROSSOVER, by Kwame Alexander, and SO DONE, by Paula Chase, and I can’t wait to get my hands on NIKKI ON THE LINE, by Barbara Carroll Roberts. (Give me a MG cheerleading book that engages with the sport on a similar level as E.K. Johnston’s YA novel, EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR!) Also on the contemporary MG side, I think aspirational, high concept music stories are having a moment. From country to K-pop, stories about kids breaking into the music industry seem to be—oh no, I’m going to do it, I’m going to make a pun—hitting all the right notes.

Hook + Voice = Love

What’s the biggest factor that decides you to give a thumbs up on a book. Is it voice? Concept? What do you consider “fixable” and what isn’t?

I look for that perfect marriage of voice and concept—I want a big, fresh, stand-out hook to reel me in, but it’s really the strong voice and complex family relationships and friendships at the heart of a story that make me want to champion it. Sense of place is also something that can tip the scales of a story for me—I adore immersive, specific settings that become their own character (like in THE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141ST STREET, by Karina Yan Glaser). And particularly in middle grade, I want stakes, both emotional and larger-scale, that take the reader seriously.

To me, if a story has an unforgettable voice, anything else is potentially fixable. That doesn’t always mean that it’s ready for our acquisitions process; in fact, most of my R&R requests come from stories with exceptional voices/prose that need structural and pacing work. As an editor, I can help develop and shape so much about a story, but it’s gotta have that intangible, special, authentic voice at its heart.

How intensive is the editorial work you do with authors? Would you sign a book that was a long way away from being “ready to go”?

My authors will tell you I’ve been known to write some ridiculously long editorial letters. J Once I’ve acquired a project, I love taking a deep dive into developmental edits; I usually send an initial 10-15 page letter, followed by a shorter round focusing on pacing and any final character development notes, and then line edits. My style is super conversational, though, and I love the collaborative nature of revisions; I often come up with a lot of specific ideas to get our conversations going, but to me it’s all about finding the solutions that feel right for the story together.

Our acquisitions process is pretty rigorous; both the editorial team and the larger acquisitions group, including sales, marketing, and publicity, have to be excited about a project in order to move forward with it. (This is great in the long run, because our titles have a built in fan base when we bring them to our launch and sales conferences!) Because of that process, though, it’s hard for me to sign up something that’s a long way from being ready.

That said, I’m a huge fan of R&Rs—I have two that I ended up acquiring and are now on my upcoming 2020 slate! Especially because I’m a young editor who’s still building my list, I’m always looking for those exciting seeds of potential that I can help shape, and it’s thrilling to find an author who’s a skilled reviser and eager to partner with me on our shared vision for the manuscript.

What’s the toughest thing you have to do as an editor?

Honestly, R&Rs that ultimately don’t work out are heartbreaking for everyone, including me. It’s tough to fall in love with something that still needs more time to bake before it’s ready, so to speak, or just isn’t right for my overall list, even though I see its potential. But I cheer for them extra-loud when they do find their perfect homes!

Hannah’s 2019+ Middle Grade List

Can you introduce some of the MG titles you’re publishing this year, including my terrific 2019 debut mate Shauna Barnes Holyoak? What drew you to these titles?

I have such an amazing group of MG titles this year! Here are my highlights (but be warned, I could talk about these books for ages):

The Secrets of Topsea series, by Kir Fox and M. Shelley Coats: In January, we published the second book in the Secrets of Topsea series (THE EXTREMELY HIGH TIDE!), which follows a zany group of fifth graders in a fictional, topsy-turvy coastal town. These books are SO weird (think Wayside School meets the Nightvale podcast) and so full of heart, and I adore their original formats, including narrative/character-driven chapters, newspaper articles, journal entries, and more.

The Click’d series, by Tamara Ireland Stone: We also published the second book in the Click’d series (SWAP’D) in February. Crushes and coding—what more could you want in a MG novel?! Most of all, I love the complex, authentic friendships at the heart of these stories. And the covers, illustrated by Jameela Wahlgren, are seriously the CUTEST.

KAZU JONES AND THE DENVER DOGNAPPERS, by Shauna Holyoak: Okay, you already know this MG mystery stole my heart! Not only are there tons of cute pups (I cannot get enough of Genki and his doggy nests!), but there’s also an amazing mother-daughter relationship, seriously high stakes that had me on the edge of my seat, and an incredible ensemble cast of fifth graders who have all the spunk and persistence of the Scooby Gang.

MIDNIGHT ON STRANGE STREET, by K. E. Ormsbee: I’m cheating a little bit, because this one comes out January 2020, but I love it so much that I have to talk about it. J Imagine if all the kids in STRANGER THINGS had Eleven’s powers—that’s MIDNIGHT ON STRANGE STREET. I love the way the author uses these strange new powers to encapsulate both the extraordinary and extraordinarily tough aspects of being a middle schooler. Also, the kids are on a glowboarding team, which is the coolest sport that doesn’t (yet) exist—think sci-fi roller derby!

How long have you been tap dancing and what got you into it? I just met another MG editor who’s a tap dancer, and one of the characters in my WIP is too. Is something in the air?

Ooh, I hope so! I’ve been tap dancing since I was two. My mom put me in a combination class in hopes that I’d become a ballerina, but it didn’t take. I did competition tap in elementary/middle school and was obsessed with being on stage. One of my favorite tap solos was “I’m Getting Good at Being Bad” from the 102 Dalmatians soundtrack (the one with Glenn Close). My mom made my costume, which was held together with black & white sequins and hot glue.

I mostly stopped tapping in high school but picked it back up in college, in that way you sort of rediscover things you did as a kid that were actually really cool when you’re in college. I ended up taking classes with Margaret Morrison (including tap history courses, which were the absolute coolest for a tap nerd like me) and joining an on-campus tap group. Now I still occasionally take classes at the American Tap Dance Foundation!

All of which is to say, I’m desperate to find a book with a character who tap dances! (Honestly, dance of any kind, but bring on the tap!) We actually published an adorable tap picture book by Tim Federle called TOMMY CAN’T STOP! in 2015, which I highly recommend, but I’m hungry for a MG tap novel.

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Hannah! Best of luck to you and all your middle grade books this year!

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hallaman13,  and look for her on Manuscript Wish List @ManuscriptWList and Manuscriptwishlist.com.

Interview with Francesco Sedita, President and Publisher of Penguin Workshop at Penguin Young Readers!

Hello Mixed-Up Filers!

Are we in for a treat! A couple of years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Francesco Sedita and take a workshop he was giving on humor. Besides being extremely funny, he couldn’t have been nicer.

If you don’t know him, he’s the President and Publisher of Penguin Workshop at Penguin Young Readers, and I’m thrilled to feature him in the Editor Spotlight!

 

 

JR: Hi Francesco, thanks for joining us today!

Before I even get into the publishing side, I have to say that your resume is all kinds of impressive. To start with, you had my utmost respect when I read that you used to do stand-up and interned on Saturday Night Live. Anyone who knows me, knows that humor and anything funny are always at the top of my must lists, so can you tell us what those experiences were like?

FS: Yeah, this was a majorly formative experience for me on a whole lot of levels.  The question people always ask, and we can get it out of the way, was who was on the show when I was there.  It was Mike Myers, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Jay Mohr, Tim Meadows, Julia Sweeney, Melanie Hutsell, Sarah Silverman, David Spade, Chris Farley, Ellen Cleghorne, Phil Hartman. (This is not in order of favorites at all, by the way.  And Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger hosted the Valentine’s show and Kim was one of the loveliest, kindest people I have ever met.  It’s one of my favorite memories of that time.  I once picked Courtney Love and a tiny Frances Bean up in the lobby to bring them to the show and she was incredibly kind.  And Nicole Kidman smells of elegant lilac.  And Sarah Silverman used to take me to the parties in her limo with Melanie and I felt VERY BADASS.)  It was all a terrifying dream come true.  Look, I made a lot of coffee for some pretty jazzy people, but I also did get to sit at the table and contribute a bit.  And that was really mind-blowing.  Norm MacDonald was writing there then, and he read my stuff and would talk me through my skits and I’m forever grateful.

JR: Okay, now that I heard all that, besides my respect, you have my jealousy as well! Wow, that must have been amazing! How about standup, another thing I’ve always wanted to do? 

FS: As far as standup, it’s something I have always admired and I just did it for a white-hot minute.  I really liked it.  I wasn’t out yet so it never felt true to my real humor and point of view.  I have warned my friends that I am going to text them and have them show up to the Comedy Cellar one night to try it again.  Gulp.  (Also, RuPaul accidentally outed me at a party when I was 19 and it is a story that I will tell one day very soon.  Yes, RuPaul.)

JR: Okay, now I must hear the RuPaul story! You have an open invitation to come back, if you ever want a forum to tell that on!

By the way, I practically lived at the Comedy Cellar and Cafe Wha? at around the time I’m guessing that you performed, so if that’s the place that you were back then, I might’ve seen you! Getting back to bookish things, could you tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an editor/publisher, and working for Penguin?

FS: As with many things in life, this is best done over a cocktail.  But here’s the quick version:

I was living in the East Village, I had written, directed, and produced an immersive show (take that, “Sleep No More”) that ran Off-Off Broadway for some time.  I was making no money and my parents were very generously supporting me.  But then one day, my phone rang.  My parents had been at a cocktail party at their lawyer’s house and had met Si Newhouse.

#1: I didn’t know my parents had a lawyer.  Like, why?

#2: I didn’t know my parents went to cocktail parties.

#3: I didn’t know who Si Newhouse was.

I was really pissed.  The next day, someone from Random House HR called to set up an interview.  I went.  I had platinum hair and a nose piercing.

I wore:

#1: Sailors pants.  Real ones.

#2: A ruffled tuxedo shirt.  Like real ruffles.

# 3: Platform shoes.

The poor woman looked at me and said, “You should be in publicity!” And so I interviewed the next day at Knopf with the really lovely Paul Bogaards, who I consider one of the smartest people I’ll ever know, and he hired me.  (I didn’t wear the outfit, PS.  But the receptionist asked me to take my piercing out and I refused.)

I left a year later for grad school, freelancing at the Random House imprint to make some money.  When Bogaards found out, he sent someone to get me and told me I had to work at Knopf if I was in the building.  I returned.  He let me leave and go to classes during the day.  Then I graduated, left Knopf again, had two stupid internet jobs when everyone had them, and then wound up at Scholastic in the Reading Clubs.  My first interview there was meant to be on September 11, 2001.  So chilling and odd.  I’ll never forget that phone call.

Then the story goes that I was in Clubs for a few great years and then moved to the Trade group, where I became Creative Director and worked on Harry Potter and lots of other wonderful things, like Jeff Smith’s Bone and Goosebumps.  And then Penguin called.

JR: That’s an incredible journey, and way to hold your ground on the nose ring! 🙂 You met so many wonderful people. After all that, what was the first book you worked on?

FS: The first book I edited was when I was Creative Director at Scholastic.  It was my dear friend (and writing teacher in grad school) Ann Hood’s first middle grade novel, How I Saved My Father’s Life (And Ruined Everything Else).  Ann and I still love the parentheses on that one.  I was petrified to edit such a great writer.  She was kind and patient.

JR: What’s changed in publishing between the time you started and now?

FS: You know, sort of everything and nothing.  We will always want great voices, great, authentic points of view, and to make objects that people will hopefully hug when they turn the final page.

JR: Speaking of changes, you’re also a producer on the wonderful Netflix program The Who Was Show?, based on your great history series of the same name. I devour shows about history, and yours is done very well. What has that experience been like and how heavily involved with the show are you?

FS: Now, this is another dream come true.  It started as an “I dare you” kind of thing from my boss at the time, the great Don Weisberg.  And so I called two amazing friends from grad school and we made a short pilot: What would happen if Andy Warhol met Laura Ingalls Wilder??  We had casting calls, shot in a friend’s farm, laughed a lot and stressed a lot.  It was a dream come true.  And then Penguin sold it to Netflix!  #WHATWHAT?!?!

JR: (Since the interview, The Who Was Show was nominated for FIVE Daytime Emmy Awards! So, if anyone isn’t watching, get to it! Congrats and good luck, Francesco!)

JR:What do you enjoy the most about your job?

FS: This incredible Workshop team that I get to work with every day.  They are bold, funny, curious, daring, and committed to making magic in every title.  That’s not easy and I love them all for it.

JR: What sort of books do you look for?

FS: We are so open.  Make us feel something.  We like to laugh, I LOVE to cry, and do so at least once a day in a meeting.

JR: Are you very hands-on with your authors?

FS: Yes.  Unless the author is like “um, personal space, please” then I will stop asking you to go out for lunch and drinks.

JR: Can’t be too many authors turning down free lunches! 🙂 What’s the state of publishing right now, in particular, Middle Grade? 

FR: It’s exciting.  It’s a time to take big risks, a time to challenge ourselves to think different, to think bigger, and to strive for the ever-evolving definition of relevance and excellence.

 

JR: What advice can you give to authors?

FS: Write your face off.  And stop asking what’s going on in the marketplace.  Write what you want to write, what you need to write.  Let us people on the other side worry about the marketplace for now.  (This changes when you sell the book.  Then you gotta know.) Oh, and don’t walk around thinking you deserve anything just because you write or have an idea or have written 46 books.  I say this to myself all the time.  I will write all weekend sometimes on my personal projects and I find myself thinking things should HAPPEN because I decided to shut off The Real Housewives and commit to my craft.  Not happening, buddy.  Not happening.

 

JR: Excellent advice. I think I was given similar when I first started, “Don’t believe your press clippings.” What was your favorite book as a child?

FS: Charlotte’s Web.  My mother read it to me many times and it’s so vivid in my head that it vibrates.

JR: I think I bawled my eyes out when I first read it. Definitely a moment I remember from childhood. And speaking of childhood, what’s one thing from your childhood that you wish could come back?

FS: Smurfs.  With me in total control.  I have some ideas for Azrael that would change the face of cat books!  And Gargamel is totally going on Queer Eye.

 

JR: Now all I can think about is Gargamel on Queer Eye. I think Jonathan is going to have his hands full with those eyebrows.

 

JR: How can people follow you on social media?

FS: I’m terrible at Twitter and a little meh on fb so find mr_francesco on Insta, where you can see my adorable cat, Alfredo!

JR: I can’t believe we didn’t include pics of Alfredo! 

JR: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us, and the best of luck with the Daytime Emmy Awards!

 

Well, that’s it for now, my Mixed-Up friends. Dorian Cirrone says I’ve mingled with the public long enough and wants me to get back to my cubicle at Mixed-Up Files Headquarters, so until next time . . .

 

Jonathan