Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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My only mission is really to help writers
write the best book they can.
” — Stacey Barney

pencil bullet  To read all years’ faculty interviews, see our Directory.


Senior Editor

Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers


Why did you become an editor; what do you enjoy most about the work? What’s your personal mission?

I became an editor because I wanted to be involved with books. I’d always enjoyed analyzing literature and loved dissecting theme, plot, characterization et al. Being an editor allows me the opportunity to be a part of the process of putting all those pieces together to make what I enjoy most: a really good book. My only mission is really to help writers write the best book they can.

Approximately how many middle-grade and YA novels do you edit per year? What percentage (or how many) are debut authors?

This varies from year-to-year, so I can’t give a definite number, but I will say I publish about 10 novels a year. I don’t know what percentage are debut, but over the course of my career I’ve published a great many debuts.

Which novel genres are you soliciting? Will you acquire crossover genres and New Adult fiction?

I acquire primarily middle grade and young adult novels that walk the literary/commercial line. I acquire primarily contemporary, fantasy and historical and from time-to-time sci-fi and a merging of genres, i.e. historical fantasy.

Name up to three representative MG/YA novels you’ve edited or repped in the past few years. What aspects of each novel appealed to you from the query and/or manuscript’s first lines?

The Reader is representative of the sort of books I like to go for. The Reader is set in a world where reading is unheard of. The writing is absolutely gorgeous from word one and I adore this rich and imaginative world created by the author Traci Chee. The book has received four starred reviews, was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize and landed on a number of best of lists.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer is also indicative of the kind of book I go for. Tracy is a master at language. Hers is gorgeous and lyrical, and as a result Tracy has won several awards.

Note: In 2011, Tracy workshopped this lovely middle-grade manuscript at PCCWW, where several of us had the pleasure of critiquing it. In this interview, Tracy talks about her writing process and editor, Stacey Barney. Enjoy!

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