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By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

AmandaAmanda Isabel Ramirez, Assistant Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, is on the faculty of the SCBWI CenCal Writers’ Day, Saturday, October 12, 2019. She has worked with award-winning authors, including Neal Shusterman, Andrew Smith, Katherine Rundell, and Tim Federle. She has also written numerous articles for such publications as The Celebrity Café and Puckermob. We are very excited she is joining us in October.

ANN ROUSSEAU SMITH: Welcome to the Kite Tales blog! Our theme for Writers’ Day is “The Creative Life for Me.” As a writer and editor, what can you share about living the creative life? 

Thunderhead Cover.jpgAMANDA ISABEL RAMIREZ: Well, I tend to have very strict schedules for myself, which I know a lot of creative types don’t usually do. But it’s important to me, since I can bring so much of my work home / since so much of it can be done anywhere, that I have a defined, purposely allotted amount of time to work. Sundays are very much “Amanda is going to sit around and watch YouTube videos all day,” and my commutes are reserved solely for pleasure-reading or day-dreaming time, and I don’t allow myself to write or edit after 9 p.m. on any given day. This isn’t to say that I only work during specific times; sometimes I’ll be inspired to write, so I’ll get right to it, and other days I’ll be really into a manuscript I’ve been editing or a submission I started reading.

This is all to say: I love everything I do. But some days, I need to just not do anything, and that’s especially important for someone who can do their job anywhere, even if I don’t work remotely. The temptation to keep working after I’ve gone home is always pretty high.

ARS: How did you get your start in publishing?Better Nate than Ever Cover

AIR: A good friend of mine from college was working in the Simon & Schuster children’s production department when a position opened up in Books for Young Readers editorial. She sent my resume along and I went from being a children’s lead bookseller at my local Barnes & Noble to almost three years editing books at Simon & Schuster!

ARS: In addition to diverse contemporary fiction, you are interested in superheroes and graphic novels. Can you expand on that?

AIR: Marvel comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has informed a huge part of my life and the types of stories I prefer. I’ve been following the MCU since the first Iron Man movie in 2008, so I’m a sucker for superhero stories and stories that follow the path of ordinary to extraordinary. One of my favorite stories ever told was Shane Black’s Iron Man 3.

As for graphic novels, I grew up reading traditional manga and American comic books. Visual storytelling is so important to me; storytelling in general doesn’t need to be limited to the words you can fit on a page, but the expressions of your characters, the color palette of your setting, physical structure of your narrative. I’d love to work on graphic novels featuring ensemble casts and interesting worlds — from contemporary to sci-fi to mythological, from middle grade to young adult.

The Explorer Cover.jpgARS: What are you NOT interested in?

AIR: I’m not particularly interested in: picture books; chapter books; sports fiction; Euro-centric-based sci-fi, fantasy, or historical fiction; non-fiction; slapstick satirical or parody humor; or books featuring animals as the protagonists. Some of these are a case-by-case situation (such as non-fiction or picture books), but on the whole, I’m not really looking for them.

ARS: And I have to ask about your “vigilante-in-training” moniker. Please elaborate.

AIR: I’m a dramatic dork who likes to pretend that she’s gonna’ grow up to be a superhero. You never know. I got time.

Thank you, Amanda!

To learn more about Amanda Isabel Ramirez, check out her website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Join us for Writers’ Day, October 12, 2019, to hear more from Amanda Isabel Ramirez and the rest of our illustrious faculty and speakers.



For information on SCBWI-CenCal events (open to all SCBWI members!), go to cencal.scbwi.org.


For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.

Images provided by Amanda Isabel Ramirez, SCBWI Central-Coastal Region, and Simon & Schuster.