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Editor for life: Marnie Lamb, freelance editor, indexer, and writer

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

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.

Marnie Lamb

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

My first paid editing job was at the, then named, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, in Hull, Quebec. I was hired during the summer when I was doing my master’s degree in English literature. (I won’t tell you how many years ago that was!) The job was quite a coup for a student, considering that most of my classmates stacked books at Chapters or worked as teaching assistants in mandatory English courses for unruly engineering students.

After I graduated, I left Indian Affairs and pursued other goals over the next few years (including a second master’s degree, this one a combined creative writing and English literature program). I then worked for a year as an editor for a professor at the University of Ottawa before moving to Toronto. I freelanced for a few months and then landed a position as a catalogue editor for an advertising agency that produced all of Sears’s advertising. I remained in that job over five years before making one of the best decisions of my life in September 2009, when I left the agency to start my own freelance editing business, Ewe Editorial Services.

Since then, I’ve completed a Publishing certificate at Ryerson University and watched my business blossom. I work mainly in book publishing, with scholarly, educational, and trade publishers. My specialties are permissions research, indexing, copy editing, and proofreading. Like most other freelancers, I love the variety and the freedom that comes with being my own boss.

Outside of editing, I have many hobbies and not enough time to pursue them! My passion is writing fiction. Several of my short stories have been published in Canadian literary journals. My first book, a preteen/teen novel named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, has just been published by Iguana Books, the publishing company of Editors Canada past president Greg Ioannou. (more…)

March speaker Q&A: Indexer and editor Marnie Lamb

Marnie LambNow that this month’s EAC Toronto branch meeting is almost upon us, we wanted to get you acquainted with Marnie Lamb, who will be giving a presentation all about indexing on March 25. What are the mechanics of creating an index? What type of reader uses an index? Marnie will discuss these questions in the context of her experience indexing Michael Bryant’s 28 Seconds, the memoir of a well-known and controversial Canadian politician.

Meeting details
March 25, 2014
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Room 318 (southwest corner of Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street West)
7 PM: Open discussion session for new and prospective EAC members
7:30 PM: Information session and program (Marnie Lamb’s presentation)
9 PM: Mix-and-mingle over coffee, tea, and cake
Meetings are FREE for EAC members and students, and $10 for all other attendees.

Q&A conducted by Laura Godfrey

You mention on your website that you’ve been told you have “the soul of an indexer.” What is it that you enjoy about indexing?

I love to read and to organize information. Like editing, indexing presents me with a great opportunity to be introduced to all kinds of people, places, and ideas I would not otherwise encounter. Through reading manuscripts on indexing jobs, I’ve learned about how deafness was portrayed in Victorian literature, how to make high schools safe for sexual-minority students, and how Canada’s wartime prime ministers each governed. I’ve grown both intellectually and emotionally by better understanding others’ perspectives. I am also constantly creating lists: lists of my clothing, of the movies I’ve watched, of the books I’ve read. The lists are not simple, either. My clothing list, for example, is broken down by season and type of garment and arranged in rainbow order (green tops are listed before blue). Indexing is the perfect marriage of my bibliophilia and my anal-retentiveness!