I’ve worked on books with many talented editors, but the one without peer is the incomparable Margaret Marbury. She has been in charge of my books for more than a decade. Most particularly, she has shepherded The Lakeshore Chronicles to success.
She has been instrumental in the crafting of each novel, from helping me hone an idea into a compelling story to dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. She has great instincts and insights. Any writer will tell you that the very best editor is one who sees things in a story the writer hasn’t even seen herself.
And every once in awhile, there’s a shout-out from an editor about a certain book that simply elevates the work and makes it sing. I was struggling insanely with STARLIGHT ON WILLOW LAKE. It happens. You write yourself into a corner and can’t see any way out–every writer I know has experienced this. It’s a dark place and you want to give up. That’s when having an amazing editor is the most incredible blessing. Margaret reads my work with an expert eye and open heart, guides me through revisions and reminds me of my motto: Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud.
More than that, an awesome editor is a friend, a coach, a mentor and a motivator. I reluctantly sent off my manuscript and braced myself to hear that the book was awful, my career was over, my life was no longer worth living. Instead, Margaret sent me one of her many well-thought-out, encouraging revision letters, firing me up to push until the book turned into something excellent. A lot of her note is about technical stuff, but here’s the excerpt that kept me happily slaving over a hot computer.
“I LOVED this book. I think it’s my favorite Lakeshore Chronicles book you’ve written. It’s funny, heartfelt, relatable, realistic and larger than life, gorgeously written – it just made me feel happy. If reader biofeedback is any indication of a book’s success, I laser-locked into this novel and let the world carry on behind me without noticing. It was great to be back in Avalon but with a different part of the Bellamy family. All of the characters resonated with me, in particular Alice. She was wonderfully cranky but really had such a big heart. I also adored Faith and Mason and their personal journeys – they are clearly the leads – but it’s Alice’s situation that brings them together and her character that provides the perfect foil for them in a way that I found real and refreshing.
“This one was pure pleasure. I fell in love with the characters, I laughed, I cried and was gripped the whole way…Kudos!”
Oh, and did I mention that she is gorgeous? Not that it has anything to do with her talent, but when you go out for drinks with your editor, it’s nice if she’s eye candy.
See what I mean? She talked me down. If you’re a writer, I hope you get to work with someone like Margaret one day. If you’re a reader, I want to celebrate the hidden genius behind a well-written novel.
Keep looking at the stars!
STARLIGHT ON WILLOW LAKE can be purchased in hardcover or eBook or audio formats for/from: