Editor’s Note: This is the eighth interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, their work depends on the generous support of everyday readers who keep LARB going; we hope you’ll consider giving this month for our winter fund drive. Here we present Cecil Castellucci, Young Adult Fiction Editor. Check out today’s YA special coverage on the legacy of Little Red Riding Hood stories and how they’ve evolved: Aisha Anwar’s “In the Shadow of the Wolf,” and Claire Jimenez’s “Eight Ways Red.”
Give us some background – how did you end up working at LARB? What do you do for LARB? What do you do when you’re not working for LARB?
When Tom Lutz launched the LA Review of Books, he wanted to make sure that all the literary nooks were covered. I had met him at various functions in Los Angeles and since I am so involved with the YA world in Los Angeles he turned to me. I edit the YA and Children’s section. This means mostly I commission or accept pitches for thought pieces and essay’s on Young People’s Literature. I am a full time Young Adult author. Feel free to read my books! My latest is a sci fi novel called TIN STAR!
Could you talk about one of the pieces you submitted for the 2014 LARB Digital Anthology? What was it, what was the editing process, and why did you submit it? (The 2014 LARB Digital Anthology is available as a thank you to donors of $50 or above during our fund drive.)
The piece that I thought really represented what I like best about the YA/C section was Robin Wasserman’s “Girl Trouble,” looking at hysteria in the books Conversion by Catherine Howe and The Fever by Megan Abbot. I think that it does what I like best which is to talk about a theme and relate it to books. I am more a fan of these kinds of conversations about books than a straight review. It helps to really open up the way that we can view books and also allows for reconsideration of older books as well through these contexts. I thought Wasserman’s discussion and insight was extremely provocative and interesting.
Talk about a book you read this year you’d recommend — could be recent or old, well-known or unknown. As long as you read it this year and you think it’s worth reading.
Dead Like Me by Mary McCoy. It’s a noir YA set in Los Angeles. It actually comes out next March. I just finished it and it’s a great love letter to the genre and to our city. Mary is also a YA librarian at LAPL Central Library who runs the LA Teen Author Reading Series with me.