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Sam Devotta, publicist at PRH: "Moist... gave me the shivers."

What was the first book you ever read all by yourself?

I definitely read picture books and early chapter books on my own but the first “novel” I remember reading (without my parents or one of my siblings helping me) was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I was around 7 or 8.

What book changed the way you look at the world?

There are two that stand out, about a decade apart! When I was 8, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine showed me a different way of looking at fairy tales and when I was 18, The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray taught me that books don’t always have to have happy endings.

Tell us a favorite opening line from any children’s book.

“All children, except one, grow up.” – Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie (like Peter, I also don’t want to grow up!)

Which fictional character do you wish was your best friend?

Lockwood (and Lucy and George) from Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. series – they’re ghost-hunting kids in an alternate version of Victorian London, you can’t get cooler than that! If we’re talking fictional characters outside of books, it would be the Doctor from Doctor Who…any regeneration would work, but preferably David Tennant. 😉

What is a word you loathe?

Moist. It didn’t bug me until that one episode of How I Met Your Mother (“Stuff”, 2007), when it was repeated over and over and gave me the shivers.

What was your first book-related job?

I went to McMaster University and worked in the campus bookstore – it was called Titles at the time – starting in my second year. I worked with the school branded merchandise, but I could often be found browsing the bookshelves in between folding t-shirts or re-stocking pens.

Have you ever written fiction? In what form?

Yes! I did the Humber Creative Writing by Correspondence program a few years ago before getting into publishing and it pushed me to complete a YA manuscript (which is probably terrible and I’m scared to look at it). I still sometimes dabble in writing, especially during NaNoWriMo when I feel extra motivated.

What do you look for first when promoting a new book?

I look for a good hook or think of a short, snappy description to help me pitch the book, whether I’m reaching out to my usual outlets or finding someone new who can help me introduce the book to a different audience.

Please let me know if there’s anything else you need from my end! If it’s being shared on social media, you can tag me as @samdevotta on Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks again for this opportunity!


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