Interview conducted by Adrineh Der-Boghossian.
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.
Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.
I live in West Hill [a neighbourhood in Toronto] with my partner, musician Cameron Watters, and my Alaskan malamute, Lupa. I am an author and an editor, a creative writing instructor, and a tutor, and I play in a band called Pineville. I’ve been editing for years. I used to be the managing editor of Write Magazine, even before the publication of my first book. As a creative writing instructor and final project supervisor at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, I have been editing students’ writing for the past 11 years. As a freelancer, I edit manuscripts for various independent clients, and two years ago I started my own small publishing house called Two Wolves Press. I am the publisher and the editor and have had the privilege of editing and publishing Aileen Santo’s debut novel Someone Like You and highly acclaimed poet Catherine Graham’s award-winning debut novel Quarry.
Who: If you could edit one famous author, living or dead, who would it be?
What: Do you have a favourite punctuation mark and/or a favourite word?
The period is my favourite punctuation mark, and my favourite word is innuendo.
Where: If you could work anywhere in the world as an editor, where would that be?
When: Was there ever a time in your life when you seriously questioned your career choice?
Why: Why did you choose to become an editor? Or, should we ask: Why did editing choose you?
Editing chose me because it is a natural extension and evolution of my writing life. I felt the need to nurture and help bring other people’s work to fruition, as well as my own. I like the selflessness of editing.
And, of course, we just had to ask the inevitable how: How would you sum up your motto?
I borrow my motto from an old saying: “Kick against the pricks.”
To me, it means continue to plough on despite opposition to or oppression toward what one is expressing. It also represents the determination to keep fighting for what I believe in and not be held back if I’m attempting to do something that defies the norm. I’m tired of being held back in any way.
So, I kick against the pricks.
I’m in good company: Nick Cave has a record entitled Kicking Against the Pricks and then there is the incredible Samuel Beckett’s collection of short prose More Pricks than Kicks.
Adrineh Der-Boghossian is the editor-in-chief of BoldFace.
This article was copy edited by Gagandeep Bimbh.