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Publishing Interviews: Martha Mihalick, Editor for Greenwillow Books

In our Publishing Interviews Series, we sit down with people on the other side of book publishing -- agents, editors, and more -- providing insight into industry happenings and just what goes into getting a young adult novel on shelves.

Today we welcome Martha Mihalick, editor at Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. She edits books for young readers of all ages, from picture books through young adults. There's a little something for everyone here...


What book do you think every teen should read?

This is a hard question! I’m not certain there’s one book that’s right for every single reader, because we are all such different people and need different sorts of books at different times in our lives. That said, I want to give Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins to every teenage girl I meet, and I think everyone—regardless of age—should read Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia books.

What up and coming books/authors should we be watching for? 

If I were you, this spring I’d be watching for Entwined by Heather Dixon, A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford, and Nightspell by Leah Cypess. And next fall, you won’t want to miss The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Trust me.


What would you love to see in your sub pile?

This is another hard one! You see, what I’m looking for, really, is a story that surprises me, that makes me vividly remember what it was like to be a child, or that makes me see something—the world, a classic story, a person…—in a new way. Sure, I have my specific interests (snappy dialogue, crazy theoretical science like physics, space, ballet, theatre, strong friendships, hard, defining choices, subtle romance, sly humor…). But sometimes it’s the stories that make me interested in something I’d previously never thought about that hit me hardest.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Be persistent, be optimistic, keep trying, and always be professional. Write the story that speaks to you and that you love.

How did you come to be an editor?

It’s a pretty straightforward path from English major to Denver Publishing Institute to Greenwillow! I talked a little more about it on the Greenwillow blog.

What are your most and least favorite things about the job?

Best things: Calling an author/agent to say “Yes, I love this book!” and the editing and talking to the author about making the book even stronger. 

Least favorite thing: Having to say “no” to a lot of manuscripts.


Last book you read: Divergent by Veronica Roth

One thing you can't live without: My friends

3 words that describe the kind of books you want to edit: Original, thought-provoking, lovable

If you could have one superpower, it would be... To be able to apparate, like in Harry Potter

If you weren't an editor, you would be... I honestly can’t imagine being anything else, but if I had to choose, then I’d probably want to be a film editor or a dramaturg. I like being behind the scenes of creative processes.

Thank you for joining us, Martha!

Want to learn more? 
You can find Martha at Under the Green Willow, her personal blog, and on Twitter.

Next week we'll be talking with Rita Rumas of Balzer and Bray!

Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

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  1. She sounds super interesting, and like a cool person to have on your publishing side. Thanks for the interview!

  2. Ms. Mihalick is clearly a genius. The Attolia series by Turner is awesome, and apparating is definitely the best superpower. Hands down.

  3. Great interview! I love getting insight from a publishing insider. :)

  4. Great interview, thanks for doing it!

  5. Thanks to both for the great interview!


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Item Reviewed: Publishing Interviews: Martha Mihalick, Editor for Greenwillow Books Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart