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Meet the Team

Every wonder what it takes to get a book from manuscript to finished product?

This was a proud moment for me -- posing for cameras at the historic Benson Hotel in Portland, OR, after winning the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal for Popular Fiction. Behind the success of this book was a very talented team.

It took me a little over two years to write The Dining Car.

The book's 502-page double-spaced manuscript, written in MS-Word, went first to Jennifer Silva Redmond for a story edit. Jennifer, formerly editor-in-chief at Sunbelt Publications in San Diego, is a freelance editor, publishing consultant, writing instructor, and speaker.

Jennifer's story edit offered a critique of the manuscript at 30,000 feet: what worked, what didn't work, what could be improved, characters that could be combined or cut. If you're a writer, the story edit is no time to show hypersensitivity or thin skin.

Next came the line edit. Again, I turned to Jennifer. She went line-by-line through the now-revised manuscript, asking these questions: Can this sentence be improved or rewritten for more punch? Is this passage in the right place? Does this line of dialogue ring true for the character doing the speaking?

Concurrently with the story and line edits, we brought in Kathleen Wise for the book's cover and interior design. Kathy came to the project with extensive experience in formatting, proofing, and testing e-pub versions for digital platforms, but it's her sense of artistic design that sets her apart in the world of book manufacturing.

Kathy read the manuscript, suggested a number of line edits of her own, and nailed the book cover with her first comp. Her stunning cover, we all agreed, captured the essence of Horace Button's private railroad car, the Pioneer Mother. Moreover, it invited the reader into Horace's insulated white-linen world.

As an aspiring midlist publisher, we at Huckleberry House have put a stake in the ground on product quality.

Our quest for quality demanded that we bring in the best copyeditor and proofreader we could find for The Dining Car. Jennifer found her, actually -- a conscientious professional with meticulous standards, an editor she'd worked with on a previous project.

Laurie Gibson is an editor with more than two decades of professional experience serving writers, book and periodical publishers, and a variety of other organizations, such as nonprofits. She's taught copyediting for both the UCSD and UCLA Extension programs.

With Laurie's edits came a stream of thoughtful suggestions: consider doing x here, y here. Laurie's edits made The Dining Car a better book and me a better writer.

At its core, The Dining Car is about a team of attentive professionals who make their bungling boss look good. The analogy hasn't been lost on me. We've reassembled the team for Sunshine Chief.

For information on how to reach Jennifer, Kathy, or Laurie for your own book projects, use the CONTACT form on this website, and we'll put you in touch.

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