Editor’s Corner: Krista Marino Discusses The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series
Today we are excited to welcome Krista Marino, Executive Editor at Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books). She is the editor of the bestselling series THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL by Michael Scott and she joins us to share her experience working on the series over the last seven years.
In 2005 I received a submission in the mail from an agent I’d never worked with before. It was actually a query letter, so it had minimal information about the book, and I asked to see more material because it looked like it could be interesting. It was called THE ALCHEMYST: NICHOLAS FLAMEL. This was the beginning of what turned into the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. THE ALCHEMYST, the first book, was published on May 22, 2007.
Now, five years to the day later, we’ll be publishing the sixth book in the series, THE ENCHANTRESS.
As I said to someone recently, the series takes place over about seven days, but it took place over seven years of my life. In those seven years I’ve traveled around the world and I’ve brought the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel with me. Not literally, but in my mind, and of course, in my heart. Part of this is that many of the characters in the books are actual historical figures. And then, there are the characters and locations from myths and legends from around the world. I went to Poland and discovered that Dr. John Dee studied at Jagiellonian University in Krakow for a period of time.
Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.
In Santorini I saw the crater that the Greeks believe is where Atlantis (in the series, it’s known by it’s ancient name, Danu Talis) sank.
Map of Santorini, Greece.
Me in Santorini.
I went to Egypt and learned about the Gods Isis, Osiris, and Anubis.
Me and my sister and father in Egypt.
There really isn’t a country I could go to that doesn’t have some sort of tie to this series. And it’s made my travels so much more valuable. It’s made the world so much smaller for me.
The more exciting thing, though, is the possibility that kids who read these books might become curious about the world—both our world’s history and the many different cultures (and their stories) it’s home to. Michael Scott and Nicholas Flamel have shown me that, while our cultures vary, so many of our myths and legends come from similar roots. So how can everyone be all that different? That’s the kind of book I want in young readers’ hands these days. The action and adventure the books feature makes for great reading, but that these books might spark curiosity in readers’ minds, tolerance for our differences instead of suspicion, and appreciation for the human race and our grand tradition of storytelling, make them books that—hopefully—could stay around for a while. And maybe even turn some kids into readers.
In 2006, Michael came over to the US to meet the Random House sales staff for the first time. At lunch he asked me if I would be editing the whole series. I answered, yes, but I was thinking, Wow—2012 feels like 100 years into the future. Now that it’s here, though, it feels like just yesterday that we began this journey. I’ve been lucky enough to have edited all six of the books in the Nicholas Flamel series and the two e-shorts RHCB has published. The books are now International bestsellers—the rights have sold in over 36 countries worldwide—which goes to show that a good story can be appreciated by all.
In January, 2013, it will be my ten year mark at Random House. In 2013 I’ll be starting to work on Michael’s next series—The Earth Lords. By then I hope to have visited Morocco and Iceland, and I know I’ll be leaving on both journeys with knowledge of their myths and bookstores to visit Michael’s foreign editions in.
THE ALCHEMYST in Poland.
Many thanks to Krista Marino for joining us at RAoR today and for sharing how her experiences editing Michael Scott’s bestselling series have shaped her travels and visa versa. We’d love to hear your thoughts about the series in the comment section below.