Friday, July 7, 2017

Editors' Panel: Kendra Levin

Having had the pleasure of meeting Kendra Levin at a SCBWI Western Washington Conference, I can confirm that she is maybe one of the most calming yet energizing presences around, so if you get the chance to be one of her authors, it's probably best to request all of your editorial talks/meetings/notes be delivered in person. I know this is going to complicate her schedule, but I don't care, just demand it in your contracts and you'll thank me later.

Kendra has been an editor at Penguin/Random House for twelve years. She edits everything from picture books to YA, and a few titles are linked to below. To start the panel off, Rubin asks every editor to provide a mock memoir title. And Kendra's hypothetical biography title is Kendra, Plain Old Jerk: 

Rubin asks: What does 'being relevant' mean to you?

Kendra says the more things change the more things stay the same. A lot of what we are seeing right now has been repeated before. What to Kendra is always relevant is empathy. That's the core of what Kendra does as an editor, finding empathy in her authors' writing and bringing it out in their books.

Asked what makes for an authentic voice? Kendra says someone speaking from a place of experience whether it's a culture or any number of things. It number one comes from experience, but she goes on to define if it's out of your literal life experience, what Kendra thinks is important to remember is to write the emotional truth you do know (Research being a separate question).

Some of Kendra's books:
REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwin Hamilton
DON'T THROW IT TO MO! by David A. Adler
and THE LOST HOUSE by B.B. Cronin

Kendra has ALSO written a book! THE HERO IS YOU, a grounded self-help guide to a healthier writing process. Kendra is also on twitter @kendralevin.

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