First, give us a little background on how you came to be an editor/writer. Did you know from a young age that’s what you wanted to do?
I have known that I always wanted to be a writer. I would regularly sit under the kitchen table as a child dreaming up stories! In terms of the editing, it was only after I published my first novel, and I started to connect with and review books for other indie authors, that I realized that there was a massive demand for a Pay As You Go Editorial Service. Something that would enable authors to get the help that they needed but on terms that suited them, and crucially that they could afford!
What do you love about your work?
I love the satisfaction that I get from helping authors turn their ideas into something that is fully polished and suitable for publication. Lots of manuscripts come to me in a very raw state, and I love the challenge of going through them forensically, correcting where appropriate and making suggestions to authors as to how I think their manuscript could be improved. I love it even more, when several days or maybe a week later the manuscript comes back to me, with the author having implemented the changes that I have suggested…
What book are you most proud of editing?
This is going to sound corny, but I am proud of them all!
What’s one mistake/issue you see in manuscripts that makes you crazy?
I’d have to say authors shifting continuously between past and present tense, because it makes for really awkward reading.
You’re a writer and an editor. One of the rules of writing is that you can’t edit your own work. So who edits an editor’s manuscript?
I am fortunate that my book goes to several different people for their opinions and a forensic picking apart. I am not afraid of criticism, and thankfully those that I send my work to for editing, are not afraid to pick me up on my errors and laugh at me!
Which authors have inspired you the most?
Probably, J.K Rowling and E.L. James – Simply because of the buzz that they have created.
Name your five favorite books of all time.
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Floats the Dark Shadow – Yves Fey
The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Boudicca – Manda Scott
Define “manuscript assessment” for us.
Okay, this is early days for me in terms of this service, and I am constantly tweaking the service in line with feedback that I have received from clients. I currently offer several different levels of service as people were telling me that they wanted to be able to cherry pick and mix ‘n’ match the services that they wanted. So, for a one off fee of just £20.00 ($33.31) I will read manuscripts of up to 60,000 words OR £25.00 ($41.60) if it is 61,000 words and over and will provide a detailed report focusing on the credibility/strengths and weaknesses of your characters, plot, dialogue, sentence structure, general writing skills, marketability, viewpoint, tense etc.
For an additional £20.00 ($33.31) I will also check and correct the manuscript for grammatical errors, if purchased at same time as an assessment; otherwise a fee of £40.00 ($66.57) applies. At that stage, I will not make any further changes to the document.
Once an author has had a chance to read my assessment they can then decide whether they require any/all of my BOLT ON SERVICES. Full editorial service, where I will iron out all issues £4.00 ($6.58) per 1000 words (or 0-1000 words) on a Pay As You Go basis (minimum 2000 words each time)
Or I can help with:
Re-working issues with tense (Past/Present)
Re-working awkward sentences to make them more reader friendly
Resolving issues with viewpoint
Resolving issues/flaws in plot
I will provide the author with a tailor made quote, for the individual bolt on services, depending upon the amount of work that is going to be involved.
You also have a blog and run a blogging service. What kinds of things do you like to blog about? What’s one topic you always suggest writer’s blog about?
I offer a free book review service to indie authors, so a lot of my blog posts are reviews. I also blog quite a lot about things which I feel are relevant and helpful to indie authors. I want to make my blog more accessible to readers as well as authors, so this is something that I will be working on in the future…In terms of other writers, I don’t think there are any rules! I think everyone needs to blog about the issues that matter most to them; some might be primarily review sites like my own, whereas other writers may want to talk about more general stuff/current affairs. There are no hard and fast rules. I do offer a ghost blogging service not just to authors, but also to small businesses, and I always try to make sure that I find out exactly what makes them tick so that I can tailor posts specifically for them.
Tell us about your workspace . . . is it quiet, do you have a view, do you work with background music?
At the moment, my work space is chaotic as I have recently inherited a lot of my father and father in law’s possessions/paper work. Ordinarily though, I use the dining room to work in and I like things to be neatly boxed away. I don’t have a view, and I don’t need a lot of space. Just a seat and my laptop! I prefer silence to music, and like to shut the door to keep the family and the dog out!
Do you have a favorite genre to write/edit?
I will review and edit all genres. I love books, and I love reading and I can honestly say that there is nothing that I won’t try. In terms of my writing, so far that has all been around the subject of death. My most recent novella, The Tunnel Betwixt…is about a Near Death Experience. I also like to weave mythology/ancient civilizations into my work. I am, however, planning on going more mainstream at least for the next year or two, and I am writing a paranormal romance about the Newcastle witches under the name Luna Ballantyne. I am also working on a couple of stories in my “One Night Stand” series which will be extremely sexually explicit.
For many people, reading is a hobby. You read for work and for your review blog. What else do you do for fun?
I enjoy going out for meals with my family; we do that quite a lot, and now that the Spring is here, we will be getting out and about in the car much more. I love wandering around historic buildings and castles. Just yesterday, we were at Rosslyn Chapel, in Scotland – The setting for Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, and I got to spend some time alone down in the crypt where the Knights Templar are buried…
When are you the most productive . . . 9 to 5 then you shut off, or do you work best in the evening?
I am an early bird so I would say I am at my most productive between 4a.m and 3p.m. I do work into the evenings, but prefer to be up early and wrapped up early.
Share one thing that most people don’t know about you.
I once dressed up as a giant tampon; (complete with string) and bounced up and down on a trampoline to music in Newcastle City Centre on a busy Saturday lunchtime, to raise awareness of Endometriosis, a disease of the womb which I have suffered from since my twenties.