Madeline Smoot is the publisher of CBAY Books, a small independent press in Texas. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter where she masquerades online as the semi-anonymous Buried Editor.
- What are your favorite books (either that you acquired or wished you had acquired)?
Well me, that is an excellent question. I find that I love all the books I acquired. Since I have full discretion, I only acquire the books that I'm willing to read a minimum of 5 times. However some other favorite books of mine are Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, Ally Carter's books, Diana Wynne Jones' books (especially the Chrestomancis and Archer's Goon), Robin McKinley's Hero & the Crown and her Sunshine, Paranormalcy, A Brief History of Montmaray, Datlow & Windling's anthologies, The Lost Conspiracy, Larklight, the new Death Cloud by Andrew Lane and so many others I can't event think of them.
- What kind of books do you enjoy?
I like a variety of midgrade and teen books. My favorites are the ones that are funny, with great characters, a compelling plot, and great world building. I also like ones that take on religion in a thoughtful, thought provoking way. A good example of reinterpreting Judeo/Christian myth would be David Slater's Sacred Books that we have published. Each one gets a little more controversial than the last with the 5th and 6th books (whose first drafts I just read) being inflammatory enough to probably make some people really upset. Not burn books upset (books 2-4 already do that). I'm thinking more like rocks through the window, DaVinci Code kind of upset.
- What are you looking for for your list?
Right now CBAY exclusively focuses on fantasy and science fiction for midgrade and teens although we are branching into fantasy and science fiction picture books. CBAY's goal is also to publish "the banned books of tomorrow" so I wouldn't mind considering a tastefully controversial teen book (like The Mockingbirds or the like) if it came my way.
- What kind of books do you really dislike?
Books that are supposed to be funny, but that I find condescending to the reader and to children in general. I really hate books like that. There's a very fine line between a charming, witty book and one that's actually just rude. I'm also not much into romance, including paranormal romance. I like paranormal books, but I've found (especially with so many right now) that the romance part bores me.
- What kind of book is your dream book to acquire?
A steam punk picture book. I've never even seen one.
- What kind of book would you like to acquire but the right manuscript has never come across your desk?
A controversial, thought provoking science fiction novel set in space. I'm a huge hard science fiction (as opposed to soft science fiction -- yes these classifications exist, I'm not making them up) fan and would love to publish one. I would also like a really good mystery that doesn't cheat, preferably one with a murder. All of these things in some form have crossed my desk, but I haven't found that perfect one yet.
- Who are your favorite authors?
Dianna Wynne Jones, Garth Nix, Robin McKinley, Isaac Asimov (although I don't particularly like his juveniles), Heinlein (for his juveniles), Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers. These are the people I read over and over again, and I consider their books my comfort reads (just like some people have comfort foods).
- What are some of the books you have acquired?
Everything on the CBAY list. For Blooming Tree Press: Little Bunny Kung Fu, Jessica McBean Tap Dance Queen, Patrick the Somnambulist (although that one was found by our art director), Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy, Life in the Pit, and others I can't think of right now.
- Have you ever acquired something from the slush pile?
Yes. About 30% of my books came from slush. However, I found 80% of my authors that way.
- How many books do you usually acquire every year?
I publish 2-4 books a year, so that's how many I tend to acquire. However, I'm about to expand into ebook originals, so that number may go up to as high as 6-8.