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Rachel-K
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Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Please welcome Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis, to First Look! Sarah will be with us for this week only, so let's take advantage of the time we have to ask her questions!

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nfam
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Thank you for being with us to answer questions, Sarah. I will ask you the same question I used for the publisher. What drew you to the book? Many people are having trouble with the format and number of characters. Did you think this would present a problem? I'm also curious about the two prologues. Was that the author's idea or yours? Certainly, without the prologues it would be much harder to get into the story and see where it's going. 

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DSaff
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Welcome to the First Look group, Sarah! It is good to have you with us and we appreciate your time. My question for you is, what is your greatest challenge as an editor?

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
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Sarah-Landis
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

[ Edited ]

When I got this novel on submission, I was immediately intrigued by the writing circle setup.  I haven't read another novel about a group of writers, and I know from working closely with novelists that these groups exist and sometimes they are nurturing and wonderful and others are fraught with jealously and ulterior motives.  I love the way Corinne takes you inside the heads of these very different characters.  They became so real to me, and it's rare to read a novel with so many characters that all sound different and distinct.  The two prologues was definitely Corinne's idea.  I was initially concerned that it might throw readers off or confuse them, but I think Corinne works it out brilliantly in the end.  We worked hard on the ending to tie up all those loose ends.  I had an idea that Corinne should include snippets of her novel throughout the book, but Corinne wisely pointed out that it wouldn't do either story justice to do it halfway.  We didn't end the book with Gillian until the final draft, but she was the only voice who could tell (THE ENDING) without it sounding pat. 

 

(Note: Mod edited a spoiler in the parentheses in this response.)

nfam wrote:Note: Mod edited a spoiler in the parens in this response!)

Thank you for being with us to answer questions, Sarah. I will ask you the same question I used for the publisher. What drew you to the book? Many people are having trouble with the format and number of characters. Did you think this would present a problem? I'm also curious about the two prologues. Was that the author's idea or yours? Certainly, without the prologues it would be much harder to get into the story and see where it's going. 

 

 

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Sarah-Landis
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

I feel so lucky to be able to discover great new writers.  After 10 years in this job I still get that tingly feeling when I read the opening pages of a great novel.  I would have to say my biggest challenge is working so hard on a novel I really believe in and then watching it not succeed.  The most frustrating thing to hear as an editor is friends or family talk about the same 2 or 3 books.  I love that people are still reading and buying books when there's so much else out there to occupy their time, but I do wish readers expanded their horizon a little bit and gave new, unheard-of authors a chance.  There's so many talented authors out there, and we as publishers always struggle with how to introduce them to the world.  But everyone I work with are book lovers, and we believe in what we do despite all the challenges

DSaff wrote:

Welcome to the First Look group, Sarah! It is good to have you with us and we appreciate your time. My question for you is, what is your greatest challenge as an editor?

 

.  It's truly a labor of love!

 

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MSaff
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Hi Sarah and Welcome to our little corner of the World,

 

  Thank you for allowing us to delve into this wonderful novel.  It is a very interesting concept, and I am enjoying both the book and the discussion.  My question to you is this,  How do you decide on a novel and can you tell your processes?

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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dhaupt
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Sarah, thanks for being here with us. I loved your comment about still after all these years getting excited finding new authors and great reads. 

I was one of those people you were concerned about when reading the novel and not getting it with all the different perspectives going on and at first that was the case, but it's starting to now in the middle sections make more sense to me. I also wonder if not having the actual book to glance back at is making the processing of it in my head harder too.

Thanks again Sarah

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Suetj
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Sarah-as you mentioned there are so many great new authors out there...what references does a reader go to when finding some of these new authors.  Are there websites like Barnes and Noble that lists these new books but unknown authors?  I always am researching for these new disocerys and BN does a great job uncovering these treasures but was wondering if there are additionl resourses for this?  Thank you for your insights on the editing of The writing Cirlce!

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violetangel
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

[ Edited ]

I'm confused.  The book I'm reading gives us one perspective - the narrator's.  The FOCUS changes from one character to another, but the perspective is always that of the narrator.  Do others have a book where the characters are actually telling their own stories in first person?

‎"No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anyone but oneself." -Virginia Woolf
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Vermontcozy
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Hi Sarah Welcome to FirstLook..I hope this experience will stay with you,because its very special for us.I am really liking TWC.really exploring all the dynamics between the characters..It feels so real,and familiar in certain scenes to me.I was reading TWC like a Play...As the pace picked up,it is reading more like a novel..I am sorry if this has been asked before,but I haven't read all your posts.How did you happen to have TWC come across your Desk so to speak...Thank you Sarah..Looking forward to Monday...Susan Vtc...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Sarah-Landis
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

I wish I could say I find novels without a literary agent representing the project and submitting them to me, but I don't.  I've gotten to know certain literary agents over the years, and they know what I like.  Literary agents work as a sort of filtering process for editors.  When I first started in publishing as an assistant we read manuscripts that came to the house in what was called a "slush pile."  But pretty much every house has done away with that process, sadly.  I'm sure there are hidden gems that get overlooked at an agency because of various reasons.  

 

What I look for in a submission is a great voice and the ability to tell a story.  I see a lot of novels that are beautifully written but don't go anywhere--they don't entertain or keep you turning the pages.  By the time a project gets to me its usually been through several edits, so I have to see a clear way to fix it without totally restructuring it.  I usually talk to the author before I buy something to make sure we're all on board with whatever changes might need to be made.  I've bought a project on an idea alone, and that doesn't always pan out!

 

 

MSaff wrote:

Hi Sarah and Welcome to our little corner of the World,

 

  Thank you for allowing us to delve into this wonderful novel.  It is a very interesting concept, and I am enjoying both the book and the discussion.  My question to you is this,  How do you decide on a novel and can you tell your processes?

 

 

 

 

 

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Sarah-Landis
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

You are absolutely right!  The omniscient narrator takes us inside the heads of these different characters.  It's so difficult to write a book in the first person.  And even tougher to pull off more than one character in the first person!

 

 

violetangel wrote:

I'm confused.  The book I'm reading gives us one perspective - the narrator's.  The FOCUS changes from one character to another, but the perspective is always that of the narrator.  Do others have a book where the characters are actually telling their own stories in first person?

 

 

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Sarah-Landis
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

I'm so glad you're liking the book!  I think it's really special, and I found that these characters stayed with me long after I finished reading.  I had TWC submitted to me by a literary agent.  I read about twenty pages, and immediately sent it to my colleagues to read along with me.  Sometimes 20 pages is all it takes!  There was an immediate embracing of the novel from the different departments in-house (sales, publicity, marketing).  We are a small publishing house, so it's really important to get everyone to fall in love with a novel as much as I love it.  They are the ones who take charge of the publication after the nuts and bolts editing work is done. 

 

Vermontcozy wrote:

Hi Sarah Welcome to FirstLook..I hope this experience will stay with you,because its very special for us.I am really liking TWC.really exploring all the dynamics between the characters..It feels so real,and familiar in certain scenes to me.I was reading TWC like a Play...As the pace picked up,it is reading more like a novel..I am sorry if this has been asked before,but I haven't read all your posts.How did you happen to have TWC come across your Desk so to speak...Thank you Sarah..Looking forward to Monday...Susan Vtc...

 

 

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

 

Sarah-Landis wrote:

I'm so glad you're liking the book!  I think it's really special, and I found that these characters stayed with me long after I finished reading.  I had TWC submitted to me by a literary agent.  I read about twenty pages, and immediately sent it to my colleagues to read along with me.  Sometimes 20 pages is all it takes!  There was an immediate embracing of the novel from the different departments in-house (sales, publicity, marketing).  We are a small publishing house, so it's really important to get everyone to fall in love with a novel as much as I love it.  They are the ones who take charge of the publication after the nuts and bolts editing work is done. 

 

Vermontcozy wrote:

Hi Sarah Welcome to FirstLook..I hope this experience will stay with you,because its very special for us.I am really liking TWC.really exploring all the dynamics between the characters..It feels so real,and familiar in certain scenes to me.I was reading TWC like a Play...As the pace picked up,it is reading more like a novel..I am sorry if this has been asked before,but I haven't read all your posts.How did you happen to have TWC come across your Desk so to speak...Thank you Sarah..Looking forward to Monday...Susan Vtc...

 

 

 

Thanks Sarah.I always like to know how the process works..I know that Corinne will be having many signings in MA..Any chance of a signing in VT?  We have a few MA.residents on FirstLook,so it will be very special when they finally meet Corinne...Susan

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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StewiesMom
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Hi Sarah,

 

I have no question, just a comment.  I love your chosen avatar!  Nice choice for someone who helps an author polish their story!

"Tact, my dear"..."is merely a ploy of the unimaginative." - Bernard in Corinne Demas' "The Writing Circle"
"My life is my own, and the opinions of others don't interest me..." — Carroll John Daly**
**This is not necessarily true, I just love the quote!**
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BethAnnH
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Hi Sarah,  When I read your comment

 

"The most frustrating thing to hear as an editor is friends or family talk about the same 2 or 3 books.  I love that people are still reading and buying books when there's so much else out there to occupy their time, but I do wish readers expanded their horizon a little bit and gave new, unheard-of authors a chance.  There's so many talented authors out there, and we as publishers always struggle with how to introduce them to the world"

 

  I would have to admit that in the past I very rarely  stepped out of my Comfort zone of reading, unless a friend recommended a book.  But since I bought the NOOK and  joined the BN book clubs, my reading as expanded immensely.  I am really enjoying the Writing Circle and so glad that First Look is previewing the book, and that it's the eBook version.  Thank you.

 

 

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LarryOnLI
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

 

Sarah-Landis wrote:

I feel so lucky to be able to discover great new writers.  After 10 years in this job I still get that tingly feeling when I read the opening pages of a great novel.  I would have to say my biggest challenge is working so hard on a novel I really believe in and then watching it not succeed.  The most frustrating thing to hear as an editor is friends or family talk about the same 2 or 3 books.  I love that people are still reading and buying books when there's so much else out there to occupy their time, but I do wish readers expanded their horizon a little bit and gave new, unheard-of authors a chance.  There's so many talented authors out there, and we as publishers always struggle with how to introduce them to the world.  But everyone I work with are book lovers, and we believe in what we do despite all the challenges

DSaff wrote:

Welcome to the First Look group, Sarah! It is good to have you with us and we appreciate your time. My question for you is, what is your greatest challenge as an editor?

 

.  It's truly a labor of love!

 

 

 

Sarah,

 

Speaking from the consumer side, with a limited book buying budget I am reluctant to spend it on unknown to me authors.

 

Since purchasing the NOOK back in January I have expanded the list of authors I am willing to spend money on through the practice of B&N offering a free eBook copy of an authors earlier work when a new novel is released.

 

I can then read the older work risk free (it's not a lost sale because I would have never bought the book anyway) and if I like the author's work I then purchase the new book.

 

In fact I have on occasion gone back and purchased a number of the author's previously published books as well,

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MSaff
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

Thank you Sarah.

 

 

Sarah-Landis wrote:

I wish I could say I find novels without a literary agent representing the project and submitting them to me, but I don't.  I've gotten to know certain literary agents over the years, and they know what I like.  Literary agents work as a sort of filtering process for editors.  When I first started in publishing as an assistant we read manuscripts that came to the house in what was called a "slush pile."  But pretty much every house has done away with that process, sadly.  I'm sure there are hidden gems that get overlooked at an agency because of various reasons.  

 

What I look for in a submission is a great voice and the ability to tell a story.  I see a lot of novels that are beautifully written but don't go anywhere--they don't entertain or keep you turning the pages.  By the time a project gets to me its usually been through several edits, so I have to see a clear way to fix it without totally restructuring it.  I usually talk to the author before I buy something to make sure we're all on board with whatever changes might need to be made.  I've bought a project on an idea alone, and that doesn't always pan out!

 

 

MSaff wrote:

Hi Sarah and Welcome to our little corner of the World,

 

  Thank you for allowing us to delve into this wonderful novel.  It is a very interesting concept, and I am enjoying both the book and the discussion.  My question to you is this,  How do you decide on a novel and can you tell your processes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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tnbsmommy
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

I have to agree with some of the others, while I LOVE to read, and will read just about anything I get my hands on, I stuck to my tried and true authors because of money. Since I've gotten my Nook, I've been really amazed at how many other great authors are out there that I would have never read a book by otherwise. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to talk to the readers here and answer questions. It's been quite informative. I enjoyed reading The Writing Circle.

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violetangel
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Re: Questions for Corinne's editor, Sarah Landis

My question regarding the "friends and family commenting about 2 or 3 books" is...  Do you know for a fact they are only reading 2 or 3 books?  Or is thee a chance that they are reading others and you just happen to be around them when they are discussing those 2 or 3.

 

I also agree with Larry in what he says about a limited book-buying budget.  I have a limited amount of money that I can spend on books, and I'm not likely to buy a book I haven't had any experience with - unless a friend whose taste in books I know and understand recommends it.  Now, that doesn't mean I won't check something out from the library to try out a new-to-me author.  The sample feature on the nook is nice - when that sample isn't all blurbs and table of contents.  I haven't done the in-store reading yet as I've been finishing up library ebooks and have a backlog of other books to read on my nook.

‎"No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anyone but oneself." -Virginia Woolf