Her name is Shelly Shapiro, and in the world of science fiction and fantasy she is legend. She’s also an editor which is why you may not automatically recognize her name. I first met Shelly when I started at Del Rey Books in the fall of 2000. I was new to New York (fresh off the dog sled – Canadian joke) and in awe of pretty much everything. What fascinated me about Shelly was that she was there in the early days, working for Lester Del Rey and Judy Lynn. She’s worked (and in some cases still works) with authors like Clarke, Asimov, Brooks, McCaffrey among many, many others, and is the steady hand on the rudder of the SS Star Wars publishing juggernaut at Del Rey. She’s probably spent more time at Skywalker Ranch than anyone except Lucas. She’s seen publishing at its high points and low points and has stories that would make a killer publishing memoir if she ever decided to write them…and the lawyers signed off on it. She started young working at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club and is, lest I give the wrong impression, still young (late 30s I think…early 40s at the most.) And she’s my friend, and sage council.
We had lunch at the Heartland Brewery in Union Square and talked all things publishing and life. Shelly was in town for the preview screening of the new Indiana Jones movie (and yes, she is the editor for the novelization.) It’s always great to hang out in person, even if yesterday was monsoon-like.