On the Spiral Staircase with Rick Chillot
Rick Chillot’s first job in publishing was in a corporate library, sniffing out story leads for writers and editors. He later went on to write and edit for magazines and books, worked on early Internet ventures during the heyday of AOL and Netscape, had a brief stint at a newspaper, edited a college’s alumni mag, survived as a freelancer for nearly a decade, and crept into Quirk Books four years ago as a writer/editor.
If you were stranded on Mars and could only have one book to read, what would it be?
I guess The Martian Chronicles, so that as I die from lack of oxygen or freeze to death, whichever comes first, I might delude myself into thinking that I’m on a better Mars. I like short stories as much as novels, so Ray Bradbury’s interconnected Mars stories are a perfect combo. I’m not sure I’d be in a reading mood, though, as my lungs collapse and my blood turns to ice. You do know that the average temperature on Mars is negative 80 degrees? I expect I’d use my last breath to curse whoever stranded me there. Probably Doogie.
Tell us about something cool you keep at your desk.
I have a small collection of notes and other things that people have given me over the years and I put them on display according to my mood. For example (in the picture) Kelsey gave me that doodle she did during a meeting, our managing editor left the note, a fake Buddhist monk gave me a fake prayer card, and Blair invited me to her music recital (I didn’t go).
What's your fandom?
Growing up I clung to all the things that would kill any chance I had of being popular or having friends: science fiction, monster movies, D&D, Star Wars and Star Trek, cartoons. But it all started with comics. Comic books were my first glimpse into a world where anything was possible, and where doing the right thing was the measure of a hero. Of course superheroes were a lot less murdery back then.
Check out Mini-Comics Week to take a dive into my fandom.
What's an unexpected talent or side effect you've picked up while working at Quirk?
Talent or curse? You decide. I can’t look at a book without conjuring in my head the discussions that led to the book title. And then in parallel I imagine the discussions we would’ve had about it here at Quirk. (Our decision is inevitably better.)
If you were a Quirk book, which one would you be?
I’d like to be Find Momo, exploring a beautiful world and making friends everywhere I go. But I’m more like The League of Regrettable Superheroes, trying to convince people that my dumbest flaws are the very things that make me so lovable.