JULIE MATYSIK: A Vrooming Kidlit Editor
I simply fell in love with the book at first sight! I remember that my first week in the office, an advance copy was placed on my desk and I couldn’t stop smiling at the story and the illustrations. The premise of Sharon’s book is so simple yet so delightful and Dave’s artwork really helps her text come to life.
At what point in the publication process did you take over the steering wheel for RACE CAR DREAMS?
I really came in at the very tail end—Marlo handled everything from the acquisition to the editing to working with Teresa on the art direction. The book was already at the printer once I arrived, but I did see an advance copy my first week at RP Kids and was able to send a copy to Sharon that week as well. Since then, Sharon and I have been working on another book with a similar storyline, and RACE CAR DREAMS clearly paved the way for our upcoming book and has helped me make a lot of my editorial suggestions for that text.
In your opinion, why should an author like Sharon not worry to much when her editor changes?
It can be a scary and apprehensive time with your editor leaves the company you are publishing with, and I know that many authors panic a little bit, hoping that their new editor will understand their vision as much as their acquiring editor did. But even though individual editors have their own style of working, we all essentially perform the same functions and follow similar guidelines in how we take a book from acquisition and manuscript to finished product. Incoming editors want to make sure that existing authors feel valued and that their work will be in good hands. In Sharon’s case here, RACE CAR DREAMS was essentially finished, but she did have another book lined up with RP Kids, so I wanted to make sure we connected early on to build our own relationship so we could begin the creative and editorial process. Changes in editors simply requires patience and understanding on both sides—from the author and from the new editor. I hope Sharon felt that the transition was a smooth one.
Once you got caught up to speed, how excited were you to see RACE CAR DREAMS achieve the finish line of going to press?
I wish I could even take credit in seeing RACE CAR DREAMS off to press, but it was already there when I arrived! But it has been exciting to see the early reception we are getting for the book (from our sales team and customers) and to watch Sharon gear up for her publicity campaign with our team.
Tell us how the spark for BULLDOZER DREAMS, a companion book for RACE CAR DREAMS, came about?
My publisher and I were discussing the follow-up to RACE CAR DREAMS one day in her office and were trying to brainstorm different types of machinery or vehicles that we could use for a second story. Sharon had come up with one great idea but we felt it maybe wasn’t quite strong enough for the second book. So the publisher and I were thinking about what sorts of vehicles young kids are fascinated with and we instantly went to construction vehicles. And the bulldozer just sort of formed out of that (complete with his orange cone lovey!). I shared the idea with Sharon who took it and developed a funny and playful script, which is now in the process of being illustrated by John Joven.
After a day at the track of zipping and zooming, a race car is tired and ready for bed. He washes his rims, fills his tummy with oil, and chooses a book that is all about speed. All toasty and warm, he drifts off to sleep, he shifts into gear . . . and dreams of the race!
RACE CAR DREAMS is a delightful, bedtime tale written by Sharon Chriscoe, illustrated by Dave Mottram and published by Running Press Kids (September 2016).