KAS INTERVIEWS – THE EDINATRIX EDITION
How did you come to be involved with the Kindle AllStars?
Ha ha … I feel as though I’ve told this story a thousand times and I worry that people will get tired of hearing it, but …
Bernard Schaffer, whom I knew a little bit from twitter, posted a tweet that he was looking for short stories to include in an anthology. Within twenty-four hours, I sent him a polished draft of a piece I’d written a while back and never really done anything with. It was one of the first pieces Bernard accepted for the first KAS project. From there, I ended up helping with publicity and, eventually, some of the editing for Resistance Front.
That piece, “Fear of the Dark,” has morphed into a tale of erotica and is currently for sale on Amazon, both as a stand-alone short story and as part of my own erotic anthology, Strange Kisses. The clean version is exclusive to the Resistance Front anthology and I have no intention of offering it anywhere else.
Tell us a little bit about your own work outside of the Kindle All-Stars.
Where to begin? I am, first and foremost, a freelance fiction editor. I specialize in working with independent authors like yourself, Bernard Schaffer, and Susan Smith-Josephy. My work runs the gamut from more serious subject matter like Schaffer’s Superbia series, to hard core erotica like Shaina Richmond’s Safe With Me, to lighter fantasy like Eisah’s Outlander Leander series.
Although I’m a published author, I’ve published more as a way for editorial clients to view my work. My passion truly lies in the editing versus the writing.
I’m also an avid crafter which morphed, a few years ago, into crochet pattern designer. I published a book of my crochet patterns (Quick Crochet for Kitchen and Bath) last spring and will likely follow that first book with four more volumes in the series. My individual patterns are available in pdf format on Etsy.com and Ravelry.com.
What’s your favorite cryptid?
I’ve always been fascinated with tales of the Loch Ness Monster. Now that I’m older, I’m curious to see whether we will eventually find hard evidence that there really is a plesiosaur living in Loch Ness, or Ogopogo, or even Lake Michigan. Each of those lakes is actually deep enough and large enough to support an animal as large as Nessie is supposed to be. I think it’s possible if not probable, but scientists found specimens of the coelacanth and chupacabra, so . . .
How did the editing duties play out with this anthology?
The editing duties were quite different this time around. Bernard decided he would not be doing any developmental editing for this book as he had for the original, so a couple of the individual authors contacted me separately to professionally edit their pieces before they submitted them. Additionally, I acted as a submissions editor for the project. Every story in this group was chosen by both Bernard and me. No piece got in unless we both agreed.
Also, the two pieces I was paid to edit did not get preferential treatment other than an automatic yes from me. If Bernard had not liked them, they would not have been included.
Were you tempted at any point to write a cryptid story yourself?
Not at all. Bernard told me a year ago he wanted the next anthology to be a group of cryptid-based stories. I told him then that I would not be submitting anything for consideration, but he could count on my help. I didn’t know at the time I would be his co-editor.
Moving on from CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS, what have you got planned for the near-future?
Writing-wise, I’m planning a collaboration with an author you may know by the name of Tony Healey.
Beyond that, I have several editorial clients who are writing series to which I’m committed. There’s your own Far From Home serial, Reeni Austin’s Borboza Brothers trilogy, Eisah’s series which began with Flute of the Wind Queen, AND Bernard Schaffer’s Superbia and Guns of Seneca 6 series may likely be expanding this year as well.
Additionally, there are some newcomers with whom I’m working. I’m very excited about Anthony Deaver’s Garden War, Michael Tognetti’s Souls of the Past, Alexander Maisey’s Malevolence, and an as-yet unnamed short story anthology by Susan Smith-Josephy which is full of surprises.
And that’s barely the tip of the iceberg.
If you had one shot at selling this collection to a stranger in the street, what would you say?
These stories are so much more than monsters and horror. Matt’s story had me howling with laughter, tears streaming down my face. Simon’s and Doug’s stories brought tears to my eyes for other reasons; they both have such heart. Yours and Susan’s fill me with pride because I had the good fortune of seeing them through from the roughest first drafts to the beautifully polished stories they’ve become. Jeff’s had me grinning a wicked grin, but I don’t want to spoil anything by telling you why. And Bernard and Vitka could write just about anything and I’d read it.
I will always be a fan of each of the authors in this anthology.
I can vouch for your work as an editor myself, but to authors out there who are about to publish but haven’t had their work edited yet, what would you say? Just how important is it?
I like to paraphrase the old adage about the defendant who acts as his own attorney: The writer who acts as his own editor has a fool for a client. When we read our own work, we see what we intended to write. When someone else reads what we’ve written, they see what we actually put on the page. It is literally impossible for a writer to see his or her work objectively.
I’ll give you a few examples (and the major reason I’ve earned the nickname Edinatrix): Recently, one of my most talented clients sent me a manuscript they thought was their best work. This person was literally beaming with pride at how good this piece was. I read it through with my editor hat on, and when I finished reading, I said to myself, “This is probably the worst thing this person has ever sent me.”
It’s not that [insert name here] is a bad writer; it’s just that they couldn’t see the book from a reader’s point of view.
I had another author who hired me but refused to put any work into her end through the editing process. You see, an editor suggests changes; she doesn’t rewrite the work. That’s up to the writer. This author refused to put any time into actually rewriting, so I told her in no uncertain terms that I didn’t want my name associated with the book. I have a reputation for quality work and I intend to keep it. I take pride in what I do and it shows; I earn it.
A third writer hired me because he kept getting one-star reviews. He didn’t want to put any work into editing because I suggested a complete rewrite. What I should have told him is that he had a bright future as a plumber, but I held back. Instead, I quit the job and he pulled the book from Amazon. He later changed the cover and title and republished, still unedited, full of typos and bad formatting, not to mention crap writing.
When an author, especially an indie author, does something like that, it makes every one of us look bad. Independent authors have a reputation for poor quality and for churning out sub-standard work. It comes from the minority of lazy indies who expect to make a quick buck, and it seriously ticks me off because most of us work our tails off to publish quality.
Editing is crucial. There is no excuse for releasing a book that has not been edited. Even if all you do is have another writer read your manuscript and give you editorial feedback, some form of constructive criticism. And for goodness sake, if you can’t have a professional proofread done, then at least have your Aunt Sally, the retired teacher, read your work and catch any major grammatical mistakes and spelling errors or typos.
There, their, and there are NOT interchangeable!