The Editor - Kristen Hamilton
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristen Hamilton, who worked with me from draft 7 of my novel to the polished version, which is set to release July 24! You can check her out on her website for a wide variety of editing services she provides.
Lets dive in, shall we?
1. What is the most exciting part of being an editor?
As a book editor, I have the power to shape a book that will be published and etched into history forever. That’s a BIG deal! Authors come to me with different needs for their book, from helping solidify and tighten the overall story to doing a basic check for grammar and typos.
I love the entire range of editing services I offer just in the sense that I’m improving a book in some way—whether that’s on a big scale (like changing the storyline to be more engaging and fast-paced) or on a small one (like ensuring no lingering errors remain).
2. What does a typical day look like in Kristen's world?
I love that question! I’m a very structured person, so I follow a tight schedule. I spend my first hour of the workday on promotion: answering e-mails, writing blogs, sending thank-you cards for recently completed projects, or ironing out the details for one of my weekly Facebook Live videos. After that, I launch right into the most in-depth, meticulous editing of the day: proofreading. I’m sharpest in the morning, so this works well. After a couple hours of proofreading, my brain needs a break—and it’s lunchtime, anyway!
After lunch, I’m in a much more creative mood, so I schedule developmental editing or manuscript critique projects. These are where I’m looking at improving the big-picture issues of a manuscript including pacing, character development, dialogue, and setting, for example. These projects require a lot of in-depth and creative thinking on what, if anything, could be improved in a story to make it better, and this usually takes up the rest of my afternoon.
I generally save one hour at the end of every workday to work on any last-minute rush projects; this can include anything from writing web copy for a business to, more often, editing a manuscript that has a tight timeframe. I generally book up my schedule a few months in advance, so this is a good option for authors who need me to finish their manuscript faster than what my regular availability allows.
Fridays are a little different: I usually host a live #Facebook video talking about some aspect of the publishing industry, spend my time wrapping up projects (I always schedule my deadlines at the end of a workweek), and write an Editor’s Report at the end of every manuscript I edit—this is a report I include outlining the major issues I saw in an author’s work, and what they should be aware of when writing future projects. It’s a relatively new service I’ve added on for free, and an instant hit. I love helping authors improve their writing!
4. What set STORM apart from other books you've edited in the past?
I most loved that there was a parallelism between the past and the present. The characters were reincarnations of their previous selves, a concept that I haven’t seen before (at least in any book I’ve edited). It was so unique! I loved how the characters were aware of their previous lives to varying degrees, and made conscious efforts not to repeat the past. It was such a unique storyline because of that—not something I’ll soon forget.
5. What's the number one advice you would give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing, no matter what it takes. There are so many authors I’ve worked with who easily give up on writing for a number of reasons: they don’t have the time or dedication to finish a story that they want to tell, they get caught up in self-editing before they even finish the first draft, or they get discouraged that the story isn’t as engaging as they want it to be. But here’s the funny thing: these are all things that a good editor will help you figure out!
Don’t stress about getting your writing perfect—seriously. That can come later. Right now, in the writing process, what’s important is that you get your story out on paper.
6. You spend most of your days editing novels, do you see yourself writing a book as well?
I might someday. When I was at the beginning of my career, I entertained thoughts of *someday* writing a novel of my own. But now that I’ve been wholly submerged in book editing professionally since 2012, I think less and less of writing my own book for a couple reasons: (1) I don’t really have the time, and (2) I enjoy editing material that’s already there so much more than writing material from scratch. I’m a true editor, through and through.
7. Who is your favorite author and why?
I’ve always loved #DeanKoontz. His story pacing is quick and to the point, chapters are short and snappy, and I’m always compelled to turn the page to find out what happens next. That’s great writing! For fun, I enjoy reading thrillers or #psychological #thrillers. Any book that can capture my attention and not let go until the last page—that’s so fun to me.
I don’t play favorites with my clients, so I don’t have one favorite editing client, but I’ve been truly blessed to have had some incredible books cross my editing desk. After some truly exceptional books I’ve edited are published, I always make sure to get a copy and lend it to family and friends who love a good read!
8. If you could be any superhero, who would it be and why?
Some of my clients call me a Word Goddess—no, really!—so does that count? Without sounding cheesy, I feel like I’m already saving the world…one book at a time.
9. When you’re not editing, what do you like to do?
Believe it or not, I spend a lot of my free time reading. That means, of course, that between editing books and reading for fun, I’m reading in some capacity upwards of 45-50 hours per week. That’s a LOT! The more I read, the more easily I can edit. Things come naturally to me, and the more time I spend reading others’ work and what’s working in the industry today, the better job I can do for my clients (as far as helping them get their manuscript up to par with what’s expected in today’s publishing world). Plus, it really helps that I enjoy reading…a lot.
When I’m not reading, I enjoy practicing French (I’m teaching it to myself), planning future vacations (I love to travel!), and ending the day with a relaxing hour or two of TV (right now, I’m enjoying watching reruns of #TheOffice).
10. What were your favorite books growing up?
I loved the #Goosebumps books. I would read one of those every single day when I was in elementary school, which really helped develop my love of reading. As I grew up, my interest in books flourished and by sixth grade I was reading my older sister’s college-age books. I didn’t realize anything was different until my mom saw the books I was reading and understanding and had me placed in advanced-level English classes. And, I guess you can say, the rest is history.
Today, I love reading all sorts of books, although in my free time I’m mostly reaching for psychological thrillers - it all started with The Girl on the Train by #PaulaHawkins, which was in 2015 or so. I've loved books like The Couple Next Door by #ShariLapena, Final Girls by #RileySagar, The Kind Worth Killing by #PeterSwanson, or You by #CarolineKepnes.
Others on my favorites list include Flowers for Algernon by #DanielKeyes, Angela's Ashes by #FrankMcCourt, Number the Stars by #LoisLowry, or anything by #DeanKoontz (my guilty pleasure!).