Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #2:
A Fuse #8 Production

h1 January 23rd, 2007 by jules

Hello there. Jules and Eisha here, continuing our interview series . . . There is much blog-crushing going on — in the kidlitosphere and even beyond — for A Fuse #8 Production. Betsy (we’ll call her Fuse) runs the show over there, and she always keeps things quite informative and entertaining. As Roger Sutton put it, she’s intrepid.

So, let’s get to know her a bit, shall we? And we’d like to quickly add again — in the name of Coming Attractions — that upcoming interviews will feature Roger Sutton, the editor-in-chief of The Horn Book (as if we have to tell you kidlitosphere folks his title); author Haven Kimmel (if you haven’t read about our good fortune, read here); and author Emily Jenkins, who has graciously agreed to an interview. Eisha and I are big fans of her work, especially her latest title, co-reviewed here. We are really looking forward to talking to her and bringing her to you, our readers. More blogger interviews to come soon, too. We promise.

Before we get to Fuse, here’s our Perfunctory Curse Word Disclaimer: Remember that we use the Pivot Questionnaire in our interviews. Remember that it includes the what-is-your-favorite-curse-word question. It’s optional for folks to answer, but if they do, we will not edit their responses in any way; yup, we’ll post their responses exactly as they send them to us. Some people might not use “*”s to edit their saucy words. If you’re easily offended, just don’t read that question.

* * *

Here’s what we here at 7ITBB love about Betsy at A Fuse #8 Production:

She is never afraid to speak her mind about everything related to children’s lit, and even some things that aren’t. She reviews books like they’re going out of style – averaging a review a day, but she’s promising to cut back in 2007 – with wit and candor and impeccable taste. She was one of the first reviewers anywhere to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Edward Tulane wasn’t all that great. Oh, and of course, the coolest feature on any blog: the Hot Men of Children’s Literature (HMOCL). Yum. (Oh, and we must add that the wonderful Blue Rose Girls, whom we will also beg for a collective interview one day, were featured as Hot Women of Children’s Literature, thanks very much). We also particularly like her terms of endearment, such as
“m’hearties,” and her always-interesting exclamatory remarks, such as “Zip! Blam! Zowie!”, to name just one.

Fuse not only gives us the HMOCL series, but she also tells us all about the authors and illustrators who visit and lecture in the Central Children’s Room so that we can live vicariously through her; she has begun “BRING IT BACK! Out-of-Print Crimes Against Humanity,” in which she features and then lists in the sidebar of her blog her favorite out-of-print titles, in the hopes that publishers will pay attention; and she’s also been consulted by NPR for her reading lists (again, see her sidebar). She has and sometimes still does participate in Poetry Fridays. She headed up the Middle Grade Novels team for the Cybils. And, last but certainly not least, she served as a member of the 2007 Newbery Medal Committee.

Want to know how she came up with such a title for her informative blog — and what it has to do with an old 1989 Buick? Read here at School Library Journal‘s blog.

Whew. We think that’s it and hope we didn’t miss anything.

What do you do for a living?

Fuse: I am a children’s librarian in the New York Public Library’s Central Children’s Room, located in the Donnell Library branch. I have, thus far, not been able to find any other way of making money.

How long have you been blogging?

Fuse: Since February 7th of 2006. I’m currently planning a big birthday celebration to celebrate the first 365 days. It’s about the same time as the SCBWI Conference. Perhaps I’ll have the Class of 2K7 party down with me.

Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

Fuse: I started on a whim. I wanted a blog and at first I made Fuse #8 into an introspective life-in-New-York bit of dribble. I quickly discovered that there are roughly 4 million life-in-New-York blogs out there, most better than mine, and some written by people not even living here. Then, around January or so of 2006, SLJ had an article on librarian bloggers. I figured that sounded pretty painless. I could do that, right? The very first kidlit blog I found, appropriately enough, was Kids Lit and it seemed like something I could do. I needed a hook, though. Something to get me noticed. Hence, the birth and propagation of The Hot Men of Children’s Literature.

Why do I commit to it? At this point I’m an addict. I can’t help myself. I want to find the best new information first and put it out there for all the world to see. If I go a day without blogging, I get the shakes. Really! I’m obviously going to be a screaming, quivering mass come ALA {Editor’s Note: Fuse’s responses were, obviously, sent before the ALA conference. We hope she’s calmed down by now}.

Which blog or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?

Fuse: The prom, eh? I adore Read Roger, so there is that. Big A little a has those hard to beat week-end summaries and MotherReader a voice so clearly her own that it’s impossible to mistake her for anyone else. I might consider taking good old Seven Impossible Things to the prom since your well-written reviews have such a significant voice and method of speech that they make for far better reading than many of the professional reviews out there {offical Editor’s Note: Aw shucks. Thanks}. Perhaps my heart belongs to Oz and Ends, though. I mean, talk about insightful, regular updates. That blog puts mine to shame.

What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

Fuse: Writing, to some extent. Reviews, fiction, articles, etc. I love me my enormous DVD collection, and El Husbando and I are currently watching several series on DVD, DVR, and Netflix. I’m also a fan of the theater (thee-aye-tah), but that requires money of which (as you can see by question number one) I have none.

What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/iPod lately?

Fuse: I think you mean to say, what’s in heavy rotation on my iPod that I will admit to. At the moment I’m on a big Magnetic Fields kick. Can’t get me enough of that Stephin Merritt. “69 Love Songs” accompanies me to and from work each and every day. Recently, I discovered that amazing recording of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Lick the Tins, too. Then I have my regular Divine Comedy selections and my favorite unsung chanteuse Tulip Sweet and Her Trail of Tears who moved to New York from Minnesota then abruptly quit. I will never forgive her for that. And I’m enjoying the artist Gnarls Barkley at the moment. Such cool stuff.

If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

Fuse: First off, I wouldn’t have them “over” in the sense of in my home. That place is a pit. No, I’d invite them to somewhere comfortable and cozy, like The Heights for a drink and maybe a fabulous hamburger. I guess the first no-brainer is Maurice Sendak. That man is undoubtedly the golden star. He’s the one you wouldn’t mind meeting. Next, and this is going to sound so trite, but J.K. Rowling wouldn’t hurt. I mean, she seems good-natured and could probably converse on a wide range of topics. Now number three should, following this train of logic, be Philip Pullman, but here I like to go on a different route. I think I should like to sit down and chat with first-time author Laura Amy Schlitz. She’s a librarian, just like me, and the two books she put out in 2006 (A Drowned Maiden’s Hair and The Hero Schliemann) have been magnificent. Yet try to find even so much as an interview with her out there and you’re stymied. She, I would like to meet.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

Fuse: I have a birthmark in the shape of an upside down heart on my right shin. I can warble as I whistle, spin on a spinning wheel, and I still have one of my baby teeth.

The Pivot Questionnaire:

What is your favorite word?

Fuse: “Moot” . . . That’s pretty standard. Everyone likes “moot.” How can you not? Moot moot moot.

What is your least favorite word?

Fuse: Uh . . . well, it rhymes with “shunt” and there was a great “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that involved it as an accidental misspelling of the word “aunt.”

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Fuse: People. I may not speak very well around them, but I love being around them. Watching them. Listening to them. People make me very happy. Friends make me very happy. My husband and family make me very happy. And when I am happy, I am a productive beastie.

What turns you off?

Fuse: Conflict of any kind. Which, considering my profession, is not a good thing. Even the slightest brush, unfortunately, causes me to actually physically start to shake. The fact that I also cry when I’m mad doesn’t help matters any at all.

What is your favorite curse word?

Fuse: “Fuckwad” . . . I never use it. I just like that it exists.

What sound or noise do you love?

Fuse: The ring of my phone. For everything that it entails.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Fuse: The rub of styrofoam against styrofoam. The sound of fabric near my ears rubbing against other pieces of fabric. Any raised voice.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Fuse: It would, in the abstract sense of the thing, be fun to be an editor of children’s books, I think. I wouldn’t mind being a writer as well, but that’s just a thought. And I once wanted to be a photographer or an archival librarian. Both still sound rather lovely.

What profession would you not like to do?

Fuse: Any complaint desk. Anywhere that a buck happens to stop as well.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Fuse: Another go?

19 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #2:
A Fuse #8 Production

  1. Love it! Thanks for another great interview!

  2. Excellent interview, dudes!

    Regarding Betsy’s least favorite word: My favorite Xmas ever involved sister #1 (2 years younger than I) giving sister #2 (12 years younger than I) a book by that very title. My poor parents! As boomer liberals they tried to be open-minded, but had quite the difficult time of it.

    Love “Magnetic Fields” too. Sister #2 (the young one) gave me 69 Love Songs two-three years ago and I’m still listening to it!

  3. Good work, 7ITBB!

  4. First I read Librarian Liz’s fabulous interview and now Librarian Betsy’s, right after Librarian Susan won the Newbery. Is it too late to get an MLS? Sign me up.

  5. Great interview and lead-up, guys. I’m so lovin’ this!

    Fuse, thanks for the love. You’re special to me too – even more now that I know your a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. Very cool.

  6. Mitali, I KEEP MEANING to credit you where credit is due — on the whole phrase “blog-crush.” I should have linked to your great blog-crush post, which is where I picked up that phrase. I’ll go in to this post and do that now. Off to edit.

    Yes, come join the dark side and get an MLS.

  7. Nice work! I had no idea Fuse and I had so much in common. I also hate the sound of styrofoam against styrofoam and love the Magnetic Fields!

  8. Great interview, ladies–just like the first one you did with Liz. And thanks for the Blue Rose Girls mention. Although at my age, I think you’d have to classify me as a Hot Flash Woman of Children’s Literature!

  9. Okay, Mitali, I see that you got the concept of a “blog-crush” from Anastasia Goodstein’s Ypulse. But I still read it first on your blog. Just givin’ credit, man . . .

    At the risk of sounding like a nauseatingly super-cheerful facilitator at, like, a new job orientation, the kind of comments people are leaving is exactly why we wanted to do these interviews. I love learning a bit more about the bloggers we admire — I mean, they never get the chance to discuss their favorite tunes, for example, you know? And a person’s music taste can say so much about them (as well as those weirdly insightful Pivot questions) . . .

    I admit that I cringe every time I simply read Fuse’s comment about styrofoam rubbing against styrofoam. Ew. EW . . . EW. I’m doing it again. Let’s talk about something else: The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Discuss (as the Coffee Talk lady used to say — or was it, um, Voltaire?).

    Oh Elaine, thanks for the laugh!

  10. Fuse Rules! Very entertaining and provocative interview. Thanks for the link.

  11. Thanks for the credit! We’re a warm, fuzzy bunch, aren’t we, sharing our blog crushes like schoolgirls? Haven’t we had any heated, robust debates in the kidlit cyberworld (besides Fuse’s SCBWI post)? Why not ask your interviewees to identify their most controversial post, or the one they most regret publishing? Of if they’ve ever deleted or edited a post significantly and why? Wait, that’s sort of gossipy stuff, too, isn’t it? Guess I’ll always be a desperate middle-school girl at heart.

  12. Ooh, Mitali! I actually love those questions! I think Jules and I may have to incorporate at least one of them. And give you credit, as always…

  13. Great interview! Loved getting to know Fust #8 better. GIrls, I totally LOVE this interview idea. Can’t wait to read them as you post them. Great idea!
    Thanks for doing this!

  14. Fabulous interview. All sorts of good info to give us “behind the scenes info.”

    And I too, am a big big fan of the word MOOT.

    Moot moot moot. I’m so happy just typing that.

  15. I like Mitali’s idea about adding a question about which was their most controversial post, or the one they most regret publishing. Juicy.

  16. Ah, very nice. But I really wanted to know who Ms. Fuse thinks is THE hottest man in children’s literature. Huh? Is there a “Sexiest man in the kidlitosphere”?

    Just kidding. Fun interview. Thanks so much for posting these.

  17. Dear Fuse:
    Dear Fuse: Wanted to offer some help in finding an interview with Laura Amy Schlitz. She was recently interviewed on a public radio station in Maryland. I’m not sure how far back their archives go, but if you go to, you may be able to access it. Candlewick Press will also be coming out with a series of video interviews with a few of our authors, to be used for promotional purposes. Laura is among the authors featured. If you contact our Marketing Department, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to put you at the top of the list to receive one!
    Mary Lee Donovan/Executive Editor/Candlewick Press

  18. Thanks, Mary. Actually, I discovered the web interview a month or so ago, but the link was down and I couldn’t access it properly. As it happens, though, because of this lovely interview Ms. Schlitz contacted me herself. She’s absolutely lovely. Just the nicest person. I’m delighted to see that you’ll be doing a video interview with her. PLEASE e-mail me the link at when hers is up so that I can post it on my blog.

    Much appreciated.

  19. Great interview! And I just saw that you’d like to do a group interview of the Blue Rose Girls…I’m in!

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact Thanks.