A long time ago I learned a valuable lesson: A good editor can help improve your book. But if you find a great editor it can lead to a published book.
The other thing I learned is chemistry. The author and the editor must have it in order for the book to grow.
Molly and I had it.
My dear friends, without further adieu, my interview with the editor of Dempsey’s Grill, Molly Martin.
If I remember correctly your choice of entertainment is not comedy/romance. What changed your mind with my book?
In all honesty, comedy/romance still isn’t my genre of choice, but Demsey’s Grill had relatably flawed characters and a compelling story, and – I cannot stress this enough – you were willing to work hard to make the story as good as you could. As an editor, I first fall in love with the story, but if the author refuses to make any revisions, I have to wonder what they’re paying me for. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to accept money for the privilege of reading people’s stories, but I’m told this is not an actual career. When I’m getting paid to edit a story, I expect the author won’t listen to all my amazing suggestions, but they should be listening to most – say about 70-90%. If not, why hire an editor?
So, short answer – your story was fun and you were committed to the editorial process.
What was the biggest challenge early on?
Being an editor is a lot like being a psychologist, but for books and people. The biggest challenge was, and often is with new writers, to establish trust between author (you) and editor (me). We were about to go through a crucible together and it was critical that I truly understood and respected your vision so my suggestions served your story, not my interpretation of your story. This required good questioning and listening skills on my part.
It was also important for you to trust that I had your story’s best interests at heart so that when I told you to cut a beloved scene, character, or subplot, you would be willing to at least consider it.
Worst case scenario is when the author believes their editor is trying to rewrite or even ruin the story. That’s never my intent, but I encounter so many writers who seem to see the editor as a foe not an ally.
I’m putting myself on the line here….gulp….What was the hardest part of working with me?
The constant, shameless attempts to bribe me with delicious treats and beverages. It availed you naught! You still had to make the changes I ever so gently suggested.
You have a wonderful way of connecting the dots. It always amazes me how you are able to see things far in advance. With that in mind, was there a character you were drawn to early that you knew would be a key part of the story?
I knew Hope was a key character. She started out as an antagonist in Gibson’s life, but part of his arch was for him to reconcile with his family. To do that, Hope needed to be open to forgiving him for past sins and moving forward. In early drafts, Hope was a larger-than-life character, almost a caricature. I wanted to bring out her humanity, her vulnerabilities, and dreams, not just her ambitions, failures, and flaws. Fleshing out Hope enabled you to deepen other characters and to develop a romantic subplot for her that would have been almost impossible for Hope 1.0. I think writing Hope in a sympathetic way caused you to really grow as a writer and pushed you out of your comfort zone. You’re welcome.
Are you editing any novels at this time?
I am editing the second novel in Kristin J. Dawson’s The Unchosen series. I also edited the first book “The Lilac Plague” so I feel very invested in the characters. No spoilers, but there’s plenty of intrigue and some heartbreak in Book 2.
I’m also helping Polly Irving to polish up her novel for submission. Again no spoilers, but I will say is Kate is one of my favorite characters and I’m so excited to see it at this stage of the process.
Thank you, Molly. You are a dear friend as much as you are an amazing editor.