Today, our first interview with an editor. I give you Kris Jacen.
Kris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.
Kris is also the Editorial Director for Wilde City Press where she gets to work with Ethan Day and Geoff Knight and a roster of wonderful authors and a fantastic staff.
CC: Do you work better under pressure of deadline?
KJ: There are ALWAYS deadlines that I’m working with since in addition to the editing for MLR and Wilde City, I do all the formatting (unless I assign it to my formatting assistant). So do I work better? I don’t think I know how to work without a deadline honestly.
CC: Is it difficult going from one story to the next?
KJ: Sometimes it is difficult. I do try and balance the lengths of the stories that I’m working on but that isn’t always possible. When I’m working on a group of short stories or novellas, it’s more draining since there’s so many more things to keep track of than when I’m working on a few novel length stories.
CC: How many stories do you edit at a time?
KJ: On any given day, I’m working on at least 4-5 sets of edits whether I’m reviewing author revisions, lines edits, proofer comments, galley comments, or content edits. In my active queue for edits at the moment I have around 24 titles.
CC: Where do you edit?
KJ: I’m lucky in that I actually have a home office now (see picture). When I started editing, my husband was deployed to Iraq and I worked on the coffee table while my daughters played and watched TV.
CC: Why do you edit?
KJ: I love reading. Honestly, that’s what it all comes down too. I’ve read tons and tons since I was a child and it seemed like I could combine that love with helping people achieve their dreams. I was in the right place at the right time back in 2004 when I started as a proofreader for another publishing house and I haven’t looked back.
CC: Where do you get your ideas for submissions?
KJ: Ideas for submissions? I think they come from the same places that authors find their inspirations – all around me. Music, articles on FB, news trends, seasonal and every so often requests from readers.
CC: Has there been a book you couldn’t edit?
KJ: I haven’t cried “Uncle” on an edit yet but there are some topics (and authors) that take me longer to edit.
CC: Is there a genre you haven’t edited, but would like to explore?
KJ: I’ve actually edited most genres since I work for such a variety of authors. I’ve worked on: children’s; YA; historical; sci-fi; contemporary; BDSM; gay-straight-bi-trans-asexual; multi-cultural; horror (though not my fave); military (tends to be my specialty); medical; shifters; paranormal; and just about everything in between.
CC: How has editing changed you?
KJ: I have some AMAZING friends that I wouldn’t have in my life if I hadn’t started editing. The support me, push me, challenge me, entertain me, listen to me whine and are just there for me. Between them and editing, I tend to be on the confident side of things but that could also be part of being a military spouse for 19 of our 22 years married.
CC: What books do you go to for advice?
KJ: One of the first books that I worked on at MLR was the first edition of Josh Lanyon’s Man, Oh Man! and I do look at that one and the Chicago Manual of Style all the time.
CC: What was the first thing you ever edited?
KJ: The first thing that I edited? Ummmm, I can remember first books that I worked with different authors on but the actual first book that I edited. Oh wow, one of the first with MLR would have been (yes, I cheated and looked at archived files) Easy by Ally Blue.
CC: Who was your favorite author as a child?
KJ: There are two series that I cherish from my childhood: The Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carol Keene and Dick Prescott Goes to West Point by H. Irving Hancock which is a four book series that were published between 1910-1911 that I commandeered from my dad. When I found romance novels in my teens favorites were/are: Nora Roberts, Catherine Mann, Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsey McKenna.
CC: Have you suggested changing the names of the characters in a book?
KJ: I have suggested changing names in books as well as suggesting names before the author starts writing. With those amazing friends of mine, I do a bit of beta reading for a few of them and love the process of helping them figure out who/what/why/when in their stories and that includes naming characters/places and even the books themselves.
CC: What do you do to stop procrastinating?
KJ: I don’t procrastinate that often but I do on occasion. Just like sometimes I have to force myself to workout or fold laundry or do the dishes, sometimes there’s no option but to force myself to do edits or format. No tricks except to promise myself that if I’m good I can read something I want to read.
Be sure to check out Ophelia Bell, a special Friday edition of the Walkabout.