Why these genres?
My degrees are in ancient history and science, so these are my fields of enthusiasm and expertise, where I can offer fiction and nonfiction editing of the highest possible calibre. I’ve edited enough cozy mysteries and romantic comedies (both historical and modern-day) to discover a taste for them and to hone my editing skills in those genres. I also edit romances if they have a thriller, mystery, science fiction or historical element to them.
What’s your experience?
I come from a literary and publishing family, so I’ve been reading (and, increasingly, editing), drafts and completed manuscripts since I was about fourteen. I grew up with problems of plot, structure, conflict, and motivation as normal topics of conversation, and then at Oxford an array of formidable tutors introduced me to the nonfiction equivalents. Since then, for friends and colleagues I’ve edited everything from theses through academic papers to secondary school curricula. From 2010 to 2012 I worked part-time for a small publishing startup, editing a range of different books, and have also been freelance.
I’ve also seen this process from the other end. I’ve had a variety of editors and agents, some terrific, some terrible. I know the difference between constructive criticism and a hatchet job, and what they feel like on the receiving end. I’ve seen the difference that editing made to drafts of my novels, and I’ve had the benefit of being able to talk through points of plot, structure, and characterization with experienced writers and editors before my books went anywhere near a publisher.
What are your educational qualifications?
I hold BA and Master’s degrees from St John’s College, Oxford, in ancient history, and a B.Sc in planetary science from the University of London. I’ve also spent time at UC Berkeley and the British School at Rome, and my educational experiences have included climbing the staircase inside Trajan’s Column (yes, you can do that!), hauling radar equipment across the Icelandic outback, and spending late nights in cold observatory domes. Plus a great deal of time spent in Oxford’s mediaeval Bodleian Library.