Saturday, January 24, 2009

Interview with Zanoni Rose, Editor, The Wild Rose Press

Welcome to the first interview by me, Pandem Buckner, former romance editor, for The Deadly Vixens! No, I am not a vixen (or a mixen, as I think a male vixen should be called), I just somehow got talked into doing this and the occasional guest blog. The Vixens can be very persuasive.

For my first victim, um, interviewee, I chose Zanoni Rose, whom I used to work with at The Wild Rose Press. She was very willing to give an interview and speak to everyone, so, without further ado, here's Zanoni!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Zanoni Rose. I work full time as an editor for The Wild Rose Press in both the historical and paranormal lines.

2. Tell us a bit about the publisher you edit for.

The Wild Rose Press is a romance publisher of ebooks and print books. We’ve been in business for two and a half years. We like to think of ourselves as the publisher that grows authors, because we not only work with the ones we publish, but we also provide detailed feedback to the writers we don’t accept for publication.

3. What makes you a good editor?

I like to think I’m good at finding errors, but also at finding ways to make a story be the best it can be.

4. When an author has you for an editor, what should they expect in terms of deadlines/corrections/reasons to fear you?

I like to work with quick turnaround times. I’d like to think I’m not someone to be feared, but someone who has the best success of the author in mind.

5. Why is your favourite manuscript, of those you've edited, your favourite?

I love it when an author takes several characters or subplots and weaves them together so that they are all tied up neatly at the end. Most of the books I’ve edited have at least some mystery element, so I’ve enjoyed working on them all.

6. Why is your least-favourite manuscript, of those you've edited, your least-favourite?

I don’t like having to add or remove a lot of punctuation. One other thing that annoys me is anachronisms – words or phrases that were not in use at the time of the story. This can happen in historicals or time-travel stories and it always throws me out of the story—and of course it has to be changed.

7. Do you have any particular editorial likes?

I like being able to concentrate on the story arc and not having to correct spelling, grammar or punctuation. In fact, I will no longer accept stories that need a lot of work. I like it when the author has taken the time to polish the manuscript.

8. Do you have any particular editorial dislikes/pet peeves?

I don’t like having to tell an author they need to take out elements that are not acceptable to our publishing house, such as rape or marital infidelity. I think an author needs to do enough research to know what is acceptable when they submit to a publisher.

9. Any advice for published authors or prospective authors?

You’ve probably heard this before, but I’d recommend you read, read, read in the line you are targeting. This helps you to know what we’re interested in buying, but also can give you clues about what we’re seeing a lot of and what may be a cliché.

10. What are your goals as an editor? Have you achieved any of those goals yet?

I love it when my authors get good reviews from review sites and when their books are in the top bestsellers for our company – and that happens, so I’m pretty pleased about that!

11. What, if any, words are overused in the manuscripts you read?

I know there are very few other choices, but ‘gaze’ is one. I saw a manuscript recently that had the characters wink at each other a lot. Once or twice in a book would be enough.

12. What, if any, words are underused?

I can't think of any words that are specifically underused, but I do like it when a word is used correctly in context and I have to look it up to be sure I know the word - expanding my vocabulary!

13. What are your favourite writing/editing resources?

I use for checking anachronisms. I also use and the Chicago Manual of Style. I have an American Heritage dictionary on my desk, too.

14. Can you give a brief overview of a story you've seen in which the paranormal aspects were handled very well?

I edited a book recently in which the author told the story very well. She included several paranormal elements but didn’t give a lot of back story or stop to explain every detail, she wove it in gradually. She assumed the reader was able to infer the meaning from context and it made me feel she respected my intelligence as a reader.

15. Can you give a brief overview of a story you've seen in which the paranormal aspects were handled poorly?

Most of the problems I’ve seen are not with storytelling or with the paranormal aspects. Most of them are with basic writing craft. The trouble is, people don’t know what they don’t know. So if someone has problems with spelling or punctuation, or overuse of adverbs or adjectives, or point of view switches, they don’t know it. Sometimes they don’t have a critique partner who is able to help them correct these issues.

16. What do you do when you're not editing?

I read at least two books a week from authors other than my own. I’m also writing an Urban Fantasy story and I’m in a writers’ group with a well-known, published author, so I’m very fortunate to have that level of help available to me as a writer. I think working with the writers’ group has sharpened my skills as an editor.


Thank you very very much, Zanoni, for being interviewed, and for being my first interview!

If there are any questions that you, the readers, think I should have asked but didn't, or you'd like to see posed to an editor or author, please include it in the comments below!

Pandem (not the best at keeping track of times zones or, really, time itself)

6 deadly screams:

Carrie from Wisconsin said...

Hi there,

I just discovered this blog and I thought the interview covered some great issues and was well written.

It reminded me of my biggest writing flaw that people like to point out to me. I seem to switch tenses a lot, but not all of them are incorrect to my storyline.

However, it has taken a lot of practice to go back through and train myself to look for those mistakes when I edit.

I enjoyed the comment from Zanoni about the writer respecting the reader's intelligence. I always try to do that and I feel that some things can be left to the reader, but not all things should be.

Zanoni is a person after my own heart. Punctuation is a pet peeve of mine too. Without proper punctuation, stories are very hard to read.

I loved the read, read, read, comment. It's not the first time I heard it. One of my favorite writing teachers professed that the only way you can truly learn how to write is to read a lot and I find that very true.

Again, great interview. I am looking forward to reading your future interviews.

A question I would like to ask Zanoni: how can I get better at preventing myself from switching tenses in the first place? I know it has to be more than buying a grammar book.

Note - I now have even more authors to add to my TBR pile!

Tierney O'Malley said...

Hi Carrie,

Glad you found this blog.
I agree. Pandem did an awesome job interviewing Zanoni. Thank you Pandem and Zanoni.
Feel free to check out the previous posts, Carrie. :D I'm sure you'll find helpful comments and advice from wonderful authors and editors here.

Tierney O'Malley

Tierney O'Malley said...


Thank you for doing this. I enjoyed reading this interview. Great questions!!!
Yes, the Vixens can be persuasive. :D
Mixen for a male Vixen sounds better than Reynard. :D Pandem, the new mixen--ohhh I like it a lot.
Talk to you later, P.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Carrie,

Try Googling 'verb tense exercise' - for example:

Have fun!


Pandem said...

Well, thanks for the kind words, Tierney and Carrie, but I couldn't have done it without Zanoni! Thanks for responding to her question, too!

I am not a mixen!


Tierney O'Malley said...

Mixen, haloooo! LOL