Coffee and Conversation with editor Jill Santopolo

Happy Monday everyone! By the end of the week it will be March. Yup, time sure is flying!

Today we are very fortunate to have the lovely Jill Santopolo visit us in the Cyber Cafe.  She will be presenting “You’re Such a Character!” at our 20th Anniversary Conference.


Jill Santopolo is an Executive Editor at Philomel Books, an imprint of PenguinGroupUSA. She is also the author of THE NINA, THE PINTA AND THE VANISHING TREASURE (Scholastic, 2008) and THE RANSOM NOTE BLUES (Scholastic, 2009). She holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University and an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College. In her not-so-spare time, she teaches fiction writing at McDaniel College and is an MFA thesis adviser at The New School.

Welcome! First off, what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?

I’m big into green tea—no milk, no sugar.


And your favorite snack?

I love anything that’s dipped in dark chocolate—raisins, pretzels, dried cherries, strawberries…even a spoon


Dark chocolate or go home is what I say! So, what was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite book changed, depending on my age, but the ones that I read over and over (and over and over) were: Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. (The last one, of course, isn’t a children’s book, but I first read it in 6th grade, so I count it.) I was also a big fan of a bunch of series—Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, The Gymnasts and the Something Queer books, both by Elizabeth Levy, The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin, Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene, and the Sunset Island book by Cherie Bennett.


You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)

Ooh, an extra $100. If I’m going for frivolous, I think I’d probably hit the sale rack at a fancy department store and see what kind of deal I could find on a rockin’ dress.

You’ve been locked in a bank vault like that guy from The Twilight Zone, so you finally have time to read!  Your glasses remain unharmed, (whew,) so what’s the first book you crack open?  

Gosh, I hope I get locked in there for a while, so I can tackle all the books on my To Read list. I think I’d start in on some books written expressly for grown-ups. And at the top of my grown-up books list right now is a non-fiction book about the teenage hook-up culture called Sex and the Soul by Donna Freitas.

If you could sum up your best advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?

Follow your heart—always.

That’s advice everyone needs to hear! Thanks so much for stopping by, Jill. We’re all looking forward to hearing you speak at the conference!

About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
This entry was posted in Interviews: Agents & Editors. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Coffee and Conversation with editor Jill Santopolo

  1. Harriet M. Welsch was my hero as a sixth-grader, and so she remains to this day… plus I love dark chocolate. I can’t wait to meet you, Jill!

  2. Pingback: Conference Challenge #8: Preparing for a successful conference! | As the Eraser Burns

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.