Meet the Philly Publisher Working with Tim Burton to Bring Your Favorite Books to the Big Screen
Chances are, if you’ve walked into a bookstore within the last five years, you’ve seen some of the books Jason Rekulak has worked on. We’re talking mega-hits like YA series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (stay tuned — the novel is up for a big-screen adaptation in September) and cult favorite Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In his 16 years at Quirk Books, Rekulak has edited five New York Times bestsellers, read around 150 books per year, and published approximately 25 new titles every year. We chatted with the Philly publisher about his everyday routine — including working with Tim Burton, his go-to coffeeshop and where to score surprising literary finds.
“I’m up by 6:30. My wife, Julie, and I make breakfast for our kids. Then I walk my daughter to school, hop on my bike, and ride for miles from our West Philly home to Quirk headquarters in Old City.”
“Old City Coffee is next to my office, and the Quirk wi-fi signal reaches their dining room. I’m there from nine to 10 most weekday mornings.”
“Our go-to restaurant for family dinners is Vietnam Café on 47th Street. On nice days, they open the windows, and I feel like I’m in a wonderful urban oasis.”
“My office is where I meet with editors, designers and visiting authors. The shelves are filled with weird knickknacks, like tiki shot glasses and a velvet tiger. Quirk has a very playful identity, so I always felt the shelves shouldn’t look like a university library.”
“I have a lot of favorite Philadelphia bookstores. Head House Books is the most inviting; Brickbat has the hippest selection; Penn Book Center always surprises me with unexpected finds; Book Trader is packed with bizarre oddities.”
“I love Skagen watches. There’s a guy at the airport in Terminal B who sells their whole lines; I’m always tempted to pick up another.”
“I taught my kids to bike and roller-skate on the trails of Woodlands Cemetery. Sometimes we’ll just walk around looking at old gravestones. I recently learned that Frank Stockton, author of “The Lady, or the Tiger?,” is buried there. Who knew?”
“A week before Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children came out, we got the call from 20th Century Fox that they wanted to option it for Tim Burton. You have to sign on with the idea that you’re going to get what Tim Burton wants to do, and you love him so much, you trust him. It’s coming out September 30th.”
Published as “Day in the Life” in the August issue of Philadelphia magazine.