Coffee and Conversation with Evelyn Fazio

With our 20th Anniversary Celebration and Conference now only a day away, I hope you’re as excited as I am!

I’m also happy to share our final pre-conference interview with the lovely Evelyn M. Fazio, whose session on Saturday, Writing YA Dialogue that works, will focus on the Dos and Don’ts for crafting natural dialogue that flows and keeps readers’ interest.


Evelyn M. Fazio is an award-winning publisher with three decades of experience in book publishing. She has worked at Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Random House and Marshall Cavendish, and was the founding publisher of WestSide Books. Evelyn also worked at the book distributor Baker & Taylor, setting up their e-books acquisitions program in which she worked with publishing houses across the spectrum. She has been a literary agent since 2004 and a freelance editor for many years. Evelyn holds an M.A. in History from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. from the University of Bridgeport. She taught high school briefly before working in publishing and is the co-author of seven nonfiction books, six of which make up the Staying Sane series published by Da Capo Press. Although she also has extensive nonfiction experience, YA and middle grade fiction are Evelyn’s favorite genres and she is focusing her work in these markets at her agency, EMF Books LLC.

And now that Evelyn is settled in the cyber chair with her favorite coffeehouse beverage, cappuccino …


And her favorite snack, cashews and freshly popped popcorn …


Let’s begin! First off, what was your favorite book as a child, Evelyn?

It’s impossible to pick one.

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

Orchid plants shipped from Hawaii.

Nice! Okay, 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?  

Tough question–and that’s my favorite Twilight Zone episode. Probably the Lois Lowry follow-ups to The Giver: The Gathering Blue and Messenger. Then Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan.


If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now? 

Actually, I’d be doing pretty much what I’m doing now. Being a book person from childhood, I worked on my high school yearbook and decided I wanted to be in publishing. Somehow it worked out.

For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick? 

Again with the impossible questions. Okay, Shakespeare. I wouldn’t mind finding out whether he really did write all those plays and sonnets that people think may have been written by others. If he’s not available, then Steinbeck. Or Ben Franklin. Tony Hillerman! I can’t pick just one.

What’s your favorite quote?

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” Henry David Thoreau, the great American Transcendentalist said it and he was right.


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

Don’t let anything discourage you or get in the way. People will tell you no; don’t let it get to you. Just be polite, say thank you and move on until you get a yes. Don’t fixate on rejection. Just focus on the end result and the rest will happen with persistence and patience. If you’re a writer, revise over and over, as many times as necessary until you get it right. Don’t be in a hurry or try to force things to happen before your work is ready. Join a writers group and get feedback—and then listen to it. Revise some more. And when you’re done, go through it one more time before you even think about sending whatever it is to an agent or editor.

Great advice! Thanks, Evelyn, for stopping by and we’re looking forward to hearing you speak on Saturday!

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 Conference Information, Interviews: Agents & Editors. Bookmark the permalink.

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.