Julie Klassen, Part 2

Julie Klassen, Part 2


Today, we finish our conversation with Julie Klassen, author of the just released Lady of Milkweed Manor. (Isn’t that a gorgeous cover?)

You are an editor at your “day job”. How did it feel when you were first on the other side of the editor’s red pen :-)?
Vulnerable! I worried about weaknesses and errors in the draft, since as an editor, I was supposed to know better. But fortunately, the editors who worked on the book really liked it–and it’s always easier to take criticism when sugared with genuine praise. From the editors’ suggestions, I learned a lot about both writing and editing, and I think the experience will make me a better and more supportive editor in the future.

Tell us a little about how you came to be an editor.
My background is in advertising, and it was in this position that I first worked in publishing. But I was given some great career advice right after college: if someone asks you to do something “above and beyond” your current position, don’t say “that isn’t my job”—do it! So, when I was asked by a co-worker to review an audio book abridgement (done out of house) and found it lacking, I took a stab at abridging the book myself. This led to my becoming the in-house abridger. Later, when my sons were born and I was looking for a way to work primarily from home, my abridging skill was recalled and I was offered a job in editorial. I have been an editor for nearly eight years, and it has been a great fit with my interests and abilities.

Sounds like taking that career advice really paid off! Do you edit yourself as you write, or do you get it all out there and go back and edit?
A lot of what I write initially I know will need to be trashed or at least revamped, but I try to just keep writing all the “fodder” I can. Once all the raw material is there, I know I can go back and fix it. I am, after all, an editor.

Since you are at an editor at the publishing house where you book is published, were there any extra steps you had to go through (or any fewer steps)?

Since I knew some of the people who would be reviewing my proposal, I submitted it under a pseudonym so that if it was accepted, it would be done so objectively. (Of course, this also allowed me to cower under the protection of anonymity in case it was rejected!) But otherwise, I think the steps were similar to those any author would go through (editorial feedback, rewrites, several levels of editing, etc.). The publisher did use a freelance line editor, but the copyeditor and proofreaders were all co-workers. Even though changes were suggested and edits made, I felt that everyone was supportive and “on my team.” It was a great experience overall.

Thanks Julie for talking with us!


  1. Julie Carobini on January 17, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Hey Katie,

    Very nice interview, and it looks like an intriguing book. Julie, I enjoyed reading about how you came up with the idea for the story.

  2. Jackie on February 18, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I read her book in two days. It was so compelling I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out what would happen to Charlotte, Sally and Dr. Taylor. I can’t wait for Julie’s second book to come out in December 2008. I think Julie has a bright future in writing.

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