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Editor for Life: Freelance editor Catherine Dorton

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. FosterCatherine Dorton

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Catherine, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do, and how long you’ve been an editor.

I’ve been working as a freelance editor for 10 years after working in-house as a production editor at Penguin. I love the freedom and flexibility of freelancing and the amazing variety of projects I do. I work on trade books—all kinds—but with a special passion for children’s books. When I’m not editing, I’m often out hauling water to thirsty trees, biking, or sitting on my porch enjoying a coffee and a book.

Who: If you could edit one famous author, living or dead, who would it be?

Being an editor may be solitary, but I don’t welcome communing with ghosts! However, if I were to be haunted by a dead author (with manuscript in hand), I’d pick a Brontë, preferably Charlotte. I think we are kindred spirits.

Closer to home and the present, I’ve been a huge admirer of Deborah Ellis ever since my son and I “tandem” read The Breadwinner series last summer. She is an activist, and her books are a great catalyst for change among kids who can see themselves in the “ordinariness” of her characters as they prevail in the most difficult circumstances. From war-torn Afghanistan to the coca fields of Bolivia and beyond, she tackles big issues––drug trafficking, homelessness, child labour, leprosy, HIV––but somehow leaves the reader feeling renewed and hopeful. Kids are capable of so much empathy, and she really taps into that gift. It would be a pleasure and an honour to work on one of her books. (more…)

Freelance fashion: What should I wear?

By Whitney Matusiak

I haven’t always worked freelance. I spent eight years in anEAC-Wardrobe office where the dress code was business casual, which loosely translated to dressing well, but not trendily, not comfortably, and certainly not better than my clients or boss.

One year ago, I started working freelance, and I went from itchy-waist dress pants and impossible-to-wash knit sweaters to the other extreme: pajamas. Not only had the mighty fallen, but they were also still in bed.

And so the big question is, what should I wear? (more…)