Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet the Editor: Ann Leveille

What is your background and experience in editing?

I’ve been working at Ellora’s Cave since late 2004 – about seven years now. In that time I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure of editing all sorts of books, including some for the now-defunct Cerridwen and Lotus Circle imprints. Before becoming an Ellora’s Cave editor, I was a reviewer for a time – I reviewed romance novels, erotic novels, erotic romance novels, and a bunch of stuff in between. I studied English in college without a clear goal besides wanting to do something with publishing, and hoping I could find a place for myself in the romance publishing world, as romance has been my favorite genre for a long, long time. I’m so, so happy I ended up at Ellora’s Cave!

How would you describe your editing style?

I’m nit-picky sometimes, aiming to make sure that every sentence is clear and every phrase is logical and consistent. I’ve been working hard at letting my authors know when I particularly enjoy a phrase or twist or aspect of their story, but I do have a tendency to get so deeply into an edit that it is hard to remember to put in those comments that I know authors need to hear.

Overall, though, I do think of editing as a partnership. I will always work with my authors to make sure that they’re satisfied with any changes and understand why a change should – or has to – be made. I do expect my authors to let me know if they’re uncomfortable with anything, and I’m always open to talking about any concern my authors have. I can’t promise that I can fix everything, but no author’s concerns should go ignored or unaddressed!

What is your favorite thing about editing?

Working with my authors to polish a story ‘til it shines! I know that authors work so hard to put together compelling stories, and I’m happy that I can help make sure that those stories put their best feet forward when they go out to meet the readers!

Of course, that whole “getting to read books I love and get paid for it” aspect isn’t exactly negligible!

What are your pet peeves in books or submissions?

A clear lack of knowledge regarding punctuation can irritate me. While an author’s characterization, world building, etc., are really a matter of practice and skill, punctuation is something that any writer can learn. And I’m not talking about the occasional hiccup or confusion about some specific rule, I mean authors who clearly don’t know - and haven’t bothered to find out - how to properly punctuate a common sentence before submitting their story.

In published novels that have undergone a full editing process? I’m always aware that a few errors in punctuation, grammar, etc., can squeak through, so that sort of thing won’t make a book a wall-banger for me, but if the book has logical/consistency errors, well, all bets are off. (Okay, I’ll probably finish reading it, but I’ll gripe all the way through…)

For personal reading, what are your favorite genres and all-time favorite books?

Of course I love romance and will happily read any subgenre of it, but I also really enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy (especially if there’s a romantic subplot in there!). However, I’m pretty much open to any genre. For the time that I lived in a very French-centric suburb of Montreal, I was reading whatever the local library had in English. (And then trying some young adult novels in French, too!)

My favorite books include:

Trust Me – Jayne Ann Krentz
Absolutely, Positively – Jayne Ann Krentz
Scout’s Progress – Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Conflict of Honors – Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley
Bet Me – Jennifer Crusie

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