Ann is the best-selling and multiple-award-winning author of several novels for children and adults. Her first adult novel, The Magic of Ordinary Days, was turned into a critically acclaimed and instant smash hit film for CBS television by Hallmark Hall of Fame, garnering the highest ratings for a Hall of Fame film in a decade. While You Were Mine became an instant #1 Kindle bestseller, followed by bestsellers including The Whiskey Sea andThe River Widow. For younger readers, she has published standalone novels as well as novels in the American Girl “Girl of the Year” series. Her latest adult novel is Mercy Road (Lake Union, 2019), which also became a bestseller upon publication. For over fourteen years now, Ann has also been editing via Book Editing Associates, helping other authors improve their writing and their manuscripts to ready them for publication.
How long have you been an editor? How long have you been with Book Editing Associates?
I began editing with Book Editing Associates fourteen years ago and have been with the network ever since.
I love the creative process of writing a book, and as much as I enjoy working on my own projects, I find a strong sense of satisfaction while helping other authors improve their manuscripts and achieve their goals.
After twelve novels published, I look back on them all with fond memories. But the standout is THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS, my first adult novel published by Viking (Penguin Putnam), which was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. That was before the Hallmark Channel, when Hallmark films were aired on CBS on Sunday nights. A decade later and several novels in between, I dearly loved writing THE WHISKEY SEA, too.
More and more I hear agents and editors say that they want something that blows them back in their chairs and makes them say, “I’ve never read anything like this before.” This could come in the form of a startling new voice or narrative style, but most often it comes in the form of a plot element or premise. With this in mind, I help authors enhance the “uniqueness” factor that the market demands today.
Being a part of an original creative endeavor excites me. I feel it every time I open a new writing sample or manuscript and begin reading the first lines. The talented authors I work with never fail to impress me. The biggest challenge comes when I recommend a heavy revision, but I always propose different options and offer my ideas. I don’t hesitate to advise honestly, even if it means the author has more work ahead.
How do you balance between the author’s style and vision, and the taste of commercial publishers or readers?
I make recommendations while keeping in mind that all writers have their own voices and each should be allowed to reveal itself. My goal is to help make the book the best it can be in collaboration and also make it the most marketable. I advise authors as to what changes I think will make the book more likely to be well-received, but if the client chooses to run with my suggestions, they write the new and changed passages in their own voice, using their own style. I always caution against emulating others.
Other than uniqueness, it’s all about the writing and finding an authentic, original, and strong voice. Editors at publishing houses and agents tell me they want to discover an author who has exciting ideas and a voice that jumps off the page rather than simply discovering a good manuscript. They’re looking to launch an author’s career rather than publish just one project.
I help authors strengthen and improve their manuscripts so their talent shines through. I make recommendations on all aspects of the story: plot; setting; characters; dialogue; timing; pacing; voice; theme; tone; description; formatting; title; the beginning, middle, and ending; and anything else that needs addressing. I also offer my advice on marketing and help with query letters at no extra charge.
I continue to write my own novels and hang out in the Great Smoky Mountains, hiking, river running, and sighting bears in the wild.