To round out our fabulous trio of panelists and consultants next week, Random House Children's Books Senior Editor Caroline Abbey will offer up her expertise and experience. Here, she reveals her favorite outdoor reading place, her status as a Twitter-stalkee, and her early adoration of Harry Potter.
1. Seattle in April: Do you have a Rainstorm Protection Plan (i.e., do you bring an umbrella, wellies, or just wing it)? Have you been here before?
I hadn’t really given this much thought before I got your email! Do I need to bring my wellies? I do have a bright yellow pair that I love! I’ve only been to Seattle once and it was only for a day (before my grandpa took the family on a cruise to Alaska), so I’m excited to stay a few days after the conference and explore the city with Mary Kate Castellani!
2. Where, outside of your day job, do you like to read? Do you read much outside of work (not a trick question)? Genres?
In the summer, I like to read in Central Park or on my building’s small roof deck. In the winter, I’m probably curled up on my couch! Like any editor, I find it tough to fit in “outside of work” reading. But lately I’ve been on a nonfiction kick. The last three books I read for fun were: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut, by Mike Mullane, Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity, by David Kirby, and The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, by Sarah Knight (the cover calls this one a “practical parody” and I would totally agree with that statement!).
3. What is the aspect of working at a large publishing house that's changed the most in the last five years?
Huh…I feel stumped by this one because I moved from a small/medium house to a big house in the last five years. So my job changed a lot, but it’s not necessarily related to publishing on the whole. I think probably the explosion of social media has made a big difference in how we market books and how visible I feel in the world of publishing. For example, I got a hilarious email from an agent recently that said “I’ve been twitter-stalking you and I think we need to have lunch!” It was flattering and made me realize that there are probably lots of ways to figure out my taste now that there are so many ways to “stalk” me online! (Please follow me on Twitter at @carolineabbey or friend “Caroline Abbey Editorial” on Facebook!)
4. Who was your favorite author from childhood? Were you a bookworm as a kid?
I think my very favorite book was Matilda, by Roald Dahl. But I was also a huge Babysitter’s Club fan and I loved Saddle Club, too! I was a big reader until high school. Then once we had so much required reading for school, my love of reading sort of disappeared…until senior year when I saw a preview for this little unknown movie called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And I thought, “Huh, I’m not a huge fantasy fan, but maybe I should give that book series a try.” Fast forward three weeks and my mom is standing in my bedroom doorway saying “I will confiscate that book (Goblet of Fire) if you don’t work on your college essay.”
5. What is the food you most associate with Seattle?
Probably coffee. So let me know what I should be eating with my coffee!