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Back to My Past

As expected, Book Expo 2015 was a unique experience for me. Once I got beyond the pre-show jitters (it’s hard to shake the ingrained response of 20-plus years) and hugged a few good buddies, I let it sink in that I actually had no agenda and there was nowhere specific I had to be. I was free to roam the cavernous hall and keep my eyes open for the literary glitterati (I got up close and personal with Mika Brzezinski and saw Gloria Steinem and Erin-from-the-Waltons signing books). Besides catching up with my besties who still live in the book world, I finally met my accomplished publisher, Brooke Warner, facBEA 2015e-to-face, hung out with a dozen smart, warm, welcoming She Writes Press authors and passed out a stack of business cards. Will any of those to whom I handed a card help sell my book? Who knows? But it felt good to see my pile dwindle and fantasize about possibilities. I also had a surprise visit with my editor, the lovely Annie Tucker, who flew in from LA at the last minute to make an appearance at the show. I had a happy, surreal moment on an empty stage when my friend and photographer, Davida, took this picture of me holding Gap Year Girl just before the show closed. I walked away from the show with the same feeling I used to have for so many years: There are so many books and so many authors but too few who read them. Readers where are you?

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Editing Process

Connecting and working with the right editor is joy, pure joy, a writer’s muse, a gift from the gods. The right partner can make you not only a better writer, but a braver one as well. Having an honest broker who believes in you and the words you put on the page — but who also tells you, gently and constructively, when you’ve gone astray — allows a writer to take chances.

The editing gods lead me directly, without passing go, to Annie Tucker. Sensitive and sage, sincere and smart, Annie had my and my story’s interests at heart and reviewed my writing wisely. She asked careful questions, challenged what I wrote and examined how I wrote it. Over the six months we worked together, she became a trusted friend and ally, but not so close that she couldn’t tell me the truth for fear of hurting my feelings. Writers know it’s all about “the voice,” and good editors know this as well. Annie came to appreciate my writing voice and did all she could to drive me to enhance it. Her mission was clear from the beginning: to help me tell a genuine and compelling travel tale for readers. She enlightened me to the sad fact that audiences are always looking for reasons to give up on a narrative and that my job as a writer is to thwart reader desertion by making sure they always want more.

Like any effective relationship, a writer’s with her editor should make her world better.

And so it was with Annie. I looked forward every week to our half-hour calls, when she would gently make suggestions about the 5,000-word segment I’d sent her the week before, yet be perfectly clear about her point. Authors want others to read their writing and editors want the same, so there’s little time for coddling when you’re an editor and no room for defensiveness when you’re a writer. An enviable aspect of being a writer is that you can always edit, always revise, always enhance to better articulate those feelings and experiences that defy facile description. And while writers write first drafts, knowing what they want to say, word by word and line by line, editors instinctively recognize when clarification is in order. My editor, my Jiminy Cricket, whispered in my ear and was my clarification companion on my book-writing journey. Thank you, always thank you, Annie Tucker.

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Publishing Process

 

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