The Literary Midwife

When a manuscript has been created and moves into the final trimester before delivery, our books go to my literary midwife, Kitty Madden. She is the final Editor for all books at Thorncraft. Because we work with words on paper, the editor can go in and change and adapt as she likes, but only as the author agrees. This is how we work together for every book.

Kitty Madden, Editor for Thorncraft Publishing. Photo by Beverly Fisher

Kitty Madden, Editor for Thorncraft Publishing. Photo by Beverly Fisher

When my journey began, I spent most of my time daydreaming and talking about ideas. I moved on to research and tangible words on paper with instructions. Kitty was one of the few people I trusted with my manuscript, with my growth as an author, and with the crazy idea in my head of publishing books. She marked up every page of my first book, not only with her corrections and questions, but also with positive praise about what I was doing to satisfy a reader and to communicate as I intended for the story to talk. Kitty makes corrections as an editor should, but she does not express the brutal cynicism that some people in books think is an automatic part of the literary landscape (for that, I am grateful…the world has enough cynics). I had no idea that she would encourage the publishing company to materialize, and she believed so truly and thoughtfully that I began to see a reality instead of a dream. She was also vocal about all of the obstacles and how she couldn’t imagine what they might be and wouldn’t want to try to confront them, but she would deliver these books alongside me.

As with any two (or three or four) creative individuals, we don’t always think of the same solution to a problem in our books, but our ability to collaborate offers peace in our work. Generally, one of us concedes at the other’s explanation for “why.”
This is always a fun discussion of, “oh, but I like your way and think maybe it is best.”
“Well, thank you, but I’ve been thinking about the way you changed it and I think it does work.” Etc etc. until we conclude, “Both ways work, and let’s do this.” Usually, we compromise. We trust one another and enjoy the creative process, which makes our work pleasant.

We are well into the final trimester of Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo’s next novel, Talking Underwater.
When we formatted the book, Melissa asked, “Will Kitty begin editing now?”
I said, yes, and Melissa expressed her relief. This is always affirmation that Kitty’s words coax the highest expression of the book into the world while comforting, reassuring, and coaching the author.

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