Friday 5 April 2013

Editor Interview: ‘My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish’ Editor Rachel Kellehar, Fiction and Non-fiction Editor, Macmillan Children's Books

What was your favourite children’s book as a child?
Strangely, my favourite children’s book as a child (or rather, as a young adolescent) was Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, which isn’t a children’s book at all. I’ve always loved fantasy novels, and this tale of a young antichrist and his ‘would be’ satanic and angelic mentors is utterly hilarious.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

The children’s books I have come back to again and again as an adult, always finding something new, are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite, but if I had to, I’d say Northern Lights is the one I love the most. Lyra is just such a brilliant character. I wish I was as cool and tough as she is.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

Books are portals into other worlds. When you read, you’re not just entering the author’s world; you’re creating your own version of it inside your head. That’s why books are so brilliant.

What do you love about 'My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish'and what makes it stand out?
Who doesn’t love zombies? Especially zombie pets! Everything about My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish is just completely brilliant. Mo O’Hara is a fantastic writer and I love all of the characters she has created, especially Frankie! I wish I’d had a zombie goldfish of my own to help me out when I was ten!

What made you want to work in children’s publishing?

Storytelling has existed since the beginning of time, (or at least, since the beginning of people), and I just love a good story. I tried storytelling as a journalist, but it just wasn’t as fun (because you have to stick to the facts, unfortunately). In children’s books, there are no limits, it’s all about imagination.

Is it easier to edit a debut author’s book or an established author?

That’s a funny question! Every book and every author are different, so there’s no way of ever knowing how easy or difficult an edit is going to be.

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