For Day 29 of the Open mic Creativity and COVID-19 Special Project, I check in with independent editor extraordinaire Kristen Weber. She works with a number of well-known fiction authors, and it sounds like her schedule is as full as always.
OM: It sounds like you are as busy as ever. How has this all impacted your business?
Weber: I have been pleasantly surprised by how many authors are still writing and submitting. Since the lockdown started in Los Angeles around March 16th, I have edited several complete manuscripts. I have also edited submission packages (a query letter, synopsis, and first ten pages), web sites, marketing materials, and even a college paper for one of my author’s kids. I’m here to help new-to-me authors and my repeating clients in any way they need during this hard time – and always! And I feel so lucky, because the words of my clients are sustaining me during the darkness. This is an exceptional time, but agents are still looking for the next great project. If you can write right now, why shouldn’t it be yours?
OM: You are also a mom, which means you’re doing all this around also trying to home school your daughter. How has that been for you?
Weber: I have always worked from home and my daughter has been by my side since she was born in 2014. My husband is a television writer with very long hours and we have no family here so, while I did get a break when she started school this past September, we’re now back to our old routine. I just make it work. She knows that I work and my job is important, which I think is a very good lesson. I set her up with school or activities and work while she’s learning or playing, making sure we still have plenty of time for fun together. We’re a team here, so I do cook all the meals but everyone pitches in to help with household chores like setting and clearing the table, cleaning, and doing laundry. That’s a tremendous load off my plate. I’m also a very fast reader – and I remember almost every word I read – so I can get a lot done in the hours I dedicate to work.
OM: Are the projects you are working on mostly from before the outset of the pandemic? You work only with fiction – have new projects been different in any way from what you usually get?
Weber: I have received projects from a good number of clients that found me during the pandemic. It seems like most were already done with their projects and just happened to find me during this time. I haven’t seen a real difference in these projects yet. So far, they’ve included a couple of cozy mysteries, a contemporary romance, and a police procedural. I am ready for the coronavirus medical thrillers to start pouring in!
OM: Have you had to change how you interact with your writers? Did you ever work with anyone face to face? And are you using Zoom or Face Time or another visual communication tool?
Weber: A good day for me is when I don’t have to leave my house and can be back in my pajamas by five, so it is unsurprising that I rarely meet any of my authors face to face. I did meet author Elizabeth Breck for coffee a couple of months before this happened. Her excellent debut, “Anonymous,” featuring PI Madison Kelly and coming from Crooked Lane Books this fall, should be on everyone’s to-read list. I just wish I had given her one more hug! Once you work with me, I will stick with you for your entire career. I have one author I have worked with on over 100 books! And I feel so grateful all of my authors have become my friends. Going through an experience like this – far apart but together – has connected us even more.
OM: Are there any new projects you are working on that you want t share with us?
Weber: The projects I am currently working on won’t be on bookshelves for a bit, but I do have a few recently out in the world. First, Paul Levine’s new Jake Lassiter legal thriller, “Cheater’s Game.” It is all about the recent college admission scandal and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Also, I worked with Shaun Banes on “Black Rock Manor,” a cozy mystery set in the charming town of Little Belton, which is the perfect place to hide out from a pandemic. Melissa Foster’s latest, “She Loves Me,” is just out from Montlake. It is about two best friends willing to risk everything to give love a chance. Her contemporary romances are always fantastic. This pretty much covers all the bases of what I edit, cozy mysteries, thrillers, and romance!