Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 12, 2016

Free Fall Friday – August’s Editor Part 1 Interview

This month we have a treat; Editor Julia Maguire has agreed to be our first page critiquer and this month’s Featured Professional. We will find out more about Julia next Friday. Meanwhile, send in your first pages (see bottom of page).

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Julia Maguire is an Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers. Prior to that, she worked at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

She currently edits picture books and middle grade and YA novels. She also, is working with illustrators and picture book writers during a 5 week online course at the Children’s Book Academy, starting next month.

She received her degree in communications from the University of Massachusetts and her Masters in Publishing from NYU. She started her publishing career interning at Bloomsbury Children’s Books in 2006 and has worked on picture books ever since. The best part of the job is collaborating with artists and art directors to bring a picture book to life. She has worked with several wonderful illustrators including Matthew Cordell, Jennifer A. Bell, Ben Clanton, Gemma Correll, Abigail Halpin, Louis Thomas and Lucy Knisley.

In her spare time, she loves to run and has finished one marathon and several half marathons. She also loves to bake (hence all the running.)

Here is Part One:

When did you decide you wanted to be a children’s book editor?

When I interned at Bloomsbury my first year of grad school. I had been interested in being an editor, but I hadn’t thought about children’s books until then. My supervisor, Jill Davis (now an editor at HarperCollins) was terrific and introduced me to the wonderful world of picture books.

Did you move to NYC right after graduating from the University of Massachusetts?

No, I lived in Boston for a few years and worked in a customer service job. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do yet, but it was a good first step.

What made you decide to go for your Master’s in Publishing at NYU?

Eventually the job started to feel like it wasn’t leading anywhere so I started studying for my GRE’s and in my grad school research I found the program at NYU. It offered an inside look at publishing from people working in the industry as well as help with internships. I thought it would be the perfect route to get my foot in the door.

Do you feel that going to college for communication has helped you while studying for your Masters in Publishing?

Yes, it definitely provided me with the right kind of critical thinking and a working knowledge of media criticism, which was helpful in the program. Where my major was focused on theory the work I did at NYU was much more practical, so it was a good balance.

Did you intern at Bloomsbury Children’s Books while you were going for your masters?

Yes, I interned there for my first two semesters and then started at my first job as an editorial assistant at Simon and Schuster right as I started my second year.

How long have you been with Knopf?

It will be two years at the end of August.

I see that you are working with Mira Reisberg at the Children’s Book Academy. How did the two of you connect?

My coworker Kelly Delaney introduced us. I was a golden ticket judge for another class Mira and Kelly were teaching and that led to us discussing working together on this class.

Is this the first time the two of you have worked together?

Yes, but I had heard about her courses and am excited to be a part of this one!

What type of things will you be doing with the writers and illustrators who sign up for the interactive e-course Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books at the Children’s Book Academy?

We will be covering all aspects of picture book illustrations from creating thumbnails, character and setting development, crafting emotional arcs, working in different mediums as well as promoting yourself and your art. As this is a course about visuals, we’ll show lots of examples so students can see firsthand every aspect of creating a picture book.

How do you feel your work as an editor helps you work with illustration students in the upcoming online Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books course?

As an editor, I have a hand in the picture book every step of the way. From finding the right illustrator to match with the text (if it is not an author/illustrator) and working with the art director on how we envision the book to take shape. I know what kind of art style will match best with the text and what style I would like the illustrator to work in. Collaborating with the art director, I have my hand in every aspect of the process, from sketches to final art to proofs. It’s my favorite part of my job.

What parts of co-teaching illustration are you most looking forward to?

I like that Mira and I bring different experiences to the table and can each provide perspective on all the elements of the picture book process. No stone will be left unturned!

Are you available to answer questions and talk with the registrants in the classes?

Yes, there will be a Facebook page set up for the class, which Mira and I will be on a few times a week to answer any additional questions that don’t come up at the weekly webinars.

I have never had a critique with an editor or agent via Skype. Is this something you have done? Do you think it works well?

I haven’t done critiques via Skype, but I have done plenty of one on one critiques at other conferences and it shouldn’t be much different than that. I think having the face-to-face aspect is helpful and will make the process much smoother.


In the subject line, please write “August First Page Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: August 19th (12:00pm EST).

RESULTS: August 26th.

Please only submit one first page a month. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Beautiful work! Loved seeing your process.


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