Last month, I interviewed my agent for some insights on her career and publishing. In part two this month, I'm interviewing my editor, Brian Farrey-Latz, acquiring editor for Flux (the Young Adult imprint of Llewelyn Publishing):
How would you like me to introduce you?
I would like you to introduce me as El Elegante de la Supremo, but what you’ve got above will do nicely.
What types of stories do you see trending now and in the future in the young adult genre?
What I like about what I’m seeing now is there are more stories with emotional stakes that aren’t necessarily about falling in love or the perils of not having a boy/girlfriend. I often tell people that I want an issue book that’s NOT about the issue but the characters and how they deal with the fallout. Writers are taking more chances and breaking out of the same ole/same ole patterns. I would like to see that continue.
What would you love to see in your in box?
Something surprising. Something I haven’t seen before. Something that keeps me guessing. With beautiful, beautiful words that cut me and remind me why I do what I do.
When you receive a manuscript submission, is there something that draws you in instantly?
A strong, unique voice. It’s the one thing almost always guaranteed to save an idea I’ve seen a hundred times before (girl meets boy, the “chosen one,” etc.). I’m a word and language junky and I’m drawn to lyrical voices that don’t descend into purple prose.
What turns you off in a submission?
--Too much info dump early in the book. (I like backstory and plot points to unfold organically over the course of a manuscript. The first ten pages aren’t a race to get to the exciting stuff. Intrigue me, yes. Plant seeds for future revelations, definitely. But don’t cram it down my throat.)
--Mirror scenes. (Protagonists who feel compelled to gaze into a mirror and describe themselves for the reader’s benefit.) This is more of a personal pet peeve but, man, it makes my skin crawl. It tells me a lot about what a writer values in storytelling.
--Familiar tropes executed with familiar means. (Boring protagonist leads a boring life BUT THEN Hot Person moves to town and inexplicably finds protagonist fascinating… It’s overdone but can work if you break away from how everyone does it. See above about strong, unique voice.)
Who are your favorite YA authors and books?
Flux authors aside, two of my favorites working today are Andrew Smith and A. S. King. I’m also very fond of David Almond. And I’m watching the career of Stephanie Kuehn with lots of interest.
What is a typical day like for you?
There’s no such thing. There are many days where I start by composing a “to do” list and, by day’s end, I haven’t touched anything on the list. (I’ll admit there are times when it takes days to get to the list.) Things come up, plans change. When things go to plan, I spend lots of time reading (submissions and current author manuscripts). I prepare for and attend meetings. And at some point in there, I edit.
Thank you for your time, Brian, aka El Elegante de la Supremo (who by the way is an amazing author as well).