I never intended to become Summer’s editor. I just … well, accidentally edited one of her novels.
It all started with Summer’s second novel, Honeysuckle Love. Summer and I knew each other through graduate school. One of our mutual friends (SHOUT OUT TO MARSHA KINDRACHUK LOVERSKY) helped critique Summer’s first novel, Hoodie (which is dedicated to Marsha). Marsha excitedly told me about her work critiquing Hoodie during some of our girls’ nights out.
I’ve been writing and editing professionally long enough to refuse to say how long I’ve been writing and editing professionally. My career has concentrated on nonfiction, but I’d been struggling with a stab at writing some fiction of my own. When Hoodie was released, I bought it, loved it, and emailed Summer with some questions. Summer then invited me to join Marsha as one of her critique partners for Honeysuckle Love, and I joyfully accepted.
The manuscript for Honeysuckle Love arrived shortly afterward. I soaked into it – pen in hand – like a sponge in a warm bath. I scribbled notes, comments, deletions, suggestions, and occasional smartass remarks on the manuscript. That’s what I thought critique partners do when a fictional work is being prepared for mass consumption – give it honest, in-depth, detailed feedback. I sent the manuscript back to Summer.
A few days later, I received an email from her. It said, “You’re not my critique partner. You’re my editor – for life!”
I thought I was critiquing, but I guess I was editing on autopilot. Maybe after years of editing for passion and a paycheck, it becomes an involuntary reflex. Maybe I inadvertently crossed some confusing line between critiquing and editing. All I know is that I thought I was critiquing, and Summer thought I was editing. Whatever. “A rose by any other name …” and all that.
The bottom line? A really fulfilling and happy collaboration emerged for both of us, and we share a common vision of the endgame: Deliver a book that hooks, that you can’t put down, that elicits an emotional response, that is worth your time, that leaves you immersed in the storytelling and committed to the characters … happily ever after.