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Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster
Have you ever wondered what fellow editors like to read? We have, too. In our interview series “By the Book,” we get the inside scoop on editors’ all-time favourite books, their top style guide, and what their alternate-universe career would be.
Tell us about your current job, Noelle, plus a little-known quirky fact about you.
I’ve had the pleasure of being HarperCollins Canada’s managing editor for 11 years, where I oversee the publication of books of all sorts: cookbooks, literary and commercial fiction, mystery, history, biography, memoir, business, lifestyle, current affairs, popular science, and books for children. The breadth of the program is what attracted me to HarperCollins. There’s something on our list for every kind of reader.
I often describe my position as a bit like an air-traffic controller’s: I coordinate the “flight paths” of our edited manuscripts—sending them to freelance copy editors, proofreaders, and indexers, and redirecting them, in turn, to authors, in-house editors, or the production team. It’s my job to ensure that manuscripts travel smoothly through the final stages, meet professional standards, and arrive on time.
I’m not often described as a “quirky” person, but I’ve gone swimming with sharks, if that counts. It happened in the British Virgin Islands, where my husband and I were married. On our last day, while snorkelling, I became surrounded by a school of fish that completely obscured my view—until they suddenly vanished and left me staring at a black-tipped reef shark instead! I actually shrugged off the first encounter, but when I saw that unmistakable silhouette glide by a second time, I scrambled hastily to shore. The shark was about five or six feet long.