Coffee and Conversation with Liz Kossnar: From Dreaming to Doing Conference

We’re just steamrolling ahead with our From Dreaming to Doing conference faculty interviews.  Up next is Liz Kossnar, Associate Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Liz began her career in children’s publishing managing the review websites and, but quickly transitioned into editorial at S&S BFYR. Over the past three years there, she’s worked with authors and illustrators such as Daniel Miyares, Jeff Mack, Stuart Gibbs, and Neal Shusterman. liz-kossnar_1-150x150She most enjoys fairy tale-inspired or tongue-and-cheek picture books, diverse and magical whimsical contemporary middle grade, and subversive young adult fiction. Anything feminist is a plus.

Liz will be presenting “Like Me, Follow Me, Tag Me” (Saturday breakout); “Introverts, Extroverts, Ambiverts, Oh My!: Personality Types in Publishing” (Saturday panel); and “Agents, Editors, and Art Directors” (Saturday panel)

Welcome, Liz! Let’s get started. What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? And now, as an adult?

Child: Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech512m9elnsgl-_sx334_bo1204203200_ 5135bye3vtl-_sx329_bo1204203200_

Teen: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Adult: Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson (but also anything by this author)41y98cdonxl-_sx326_bo1204203200_

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

I guess since I can make my own definition of “frivolous,” I’d just give it all to Planned Parenthood.

You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read!  Your glasses are fine (whew!) so what’s the first book you crack open? 

I’ve been dying to read IQ84 by Haruki Murakami, so that’d have to be it–and I’d need all the time I could get.

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

In high school, I think I wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer. I guess being an editor is a fine combination of those two, sort of.

For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author or artist you want.  Who do you pick?

Can I just choose to visit Gertrude Stein and have all her friends be present at her apartment like in Midnight in Paris?

What’s your favorite motivational quote?

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway.” –Carrie Fisher


Advice to live by. So, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I like to do all of the things. I tend to load up my schedule with readings, museum visits, comedy show, festivals, etc. In short, I like to run around and meet people.

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

Do your market research!

Time for the lightning round! What’s your favorite…

Book to movie adaptation? Stardust

Music to listen to while working? Rihanna

Book title? The Statistically Probability of Love at First Sight

Book cover? American Girls by Alison Umminger

Pair of shoes? My purple Doc Martins

Guilty pleasure? Rihanna; also, Thin Mints

Line from a movie? “Meet me in Montauk.”

Thanks so much for dropping by the Cyber Café, Liz.  We’re looking forward to meeting you at the conference!

Friends, don’t forget to check out our previous interviews with Patricia Hruby Powell and Aslyssa Nassner. Also, remember that the critique deadline is rapidly approaching – February 17th! Follow this link for information on submitting and getting the most out of a critique.

Happy writing and illustrating!!

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.
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