Dear Readers, we have an announcement: a Real Live Editor is joining the Pub(lishing) Crawl team. You may remember her from her guest post on mass market paperbacks. Either way, she’s a real publishing insider, and we’re so excited (and incredibly honored) to be able to introduce to you:
Jordan Hamessley London!
Jordan is an assistant editor at Grosset and Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers where she edits Adam-Troy Castro’s middle grade horror series Gustav Gloom, Literally Disturbed (an upcoming collection of scary stories from Ben H. Winters), A.J. Stern’s Frankly, Frannie series and more. She is on the editorial team for Ann Hood’s middle grade historical time-travel series The Treasure Chest. When not editing, Jordan can be found on twitter (@thejordache) talking about books, scary movies, and musical theater.
1) Tell us a little about how you settled on (or clawed your way into–whatever!) your current job.
I came to my job in a bit of a roundabout way. I moved to NYC to attend a theatre conservatory and worked as an actress throughout college. After a particularly dreadful gig on a national tour, I returned to New York and had some free time before classes started up again. I was reading a book a day and my writer boyfriend (now author husband) said I should look into being a reader for a publishing house. I applied for a lit agency internship that night and started interning two days later.
I interned throughout college with a pretty lengthy stint at TOR/FORGE BOOKS. After graduation I took a trip to Egypt and decided I would come back to the states and audition AND apply for publishing jobs. Whatever clicked first was what I was supposed to do. I never went on another audition. I got a job at the Barefoot Bookstore in FAO Schwartz and started submitting for editorial assistant jobs. I interviewed to be the publisher’s assistant at Grosset & Dunlap and he just happened to be a huge musical theatre nut, so we spent the first half of the interview talking books and the second half talking theater. I started a week later and I have been there ever since.
2) Wow. VERY COOL. From acting to Egypt to editing–that’s quite a journey. So when you’re reading–clients’ work, books for pleasure, submissions–what must the book have for you to enjoy it?
Voice is HUGE for me. I’m a big fan of science fiction and horror, so I’m usually hooked by concepts, but if the voice isn’t there, it just doesn’t work for me. I get a LOT of ghost submissions, but it takes a very skilled writer to pull off a great, creepy voice that keeps the tension of the plot intact. Perfect example: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. She was brilliant.
3) Sci-fi and horror, eh? Nice combo, but I agree–voice is HUGE. Now, outside of publishing/reading, what do you enjoy doing?
As seen from my previous life, I am a HUGE theatre nerd. I can talk about the current state of musical scene for hours. I have many opinions on SMASH. Ha. My current theatre obsession is the web series Submissions Only. Check it out! (http://www.submissionsonly.com/)
You can also find me watching tv when I’m not curled up with manuscripts. Current obsession: Sherlock. I heart Benedict Cumberbatch. Obsession to end all obsessions: Lost. I adored that show.
4) Yeah, Sherlock. I think we already fangirl squeed over that, but…there can never be too much squee-ing over that show. SO GOOD. N0w, Let’s say one of your writers is having a tough time with his/her story–do you have a personal motto or favorite saying you’d give?
The books I work on tend to have complicated magic and story arcs that build across a series. Whenever my authors run into problems, I always remind them that the characters have no idea what happens in book 4, just like the reader. Ask the questions. If your character is confused, that’s ok. Have the character acknowledge it. The reader will feel better knowing she is asking the same questions as the character.
5) You’re at the pub: what food groups are you gonna eat?
Fried foods and dips. I’m a sucker for a good spinach and artichoke dip or queso. Fried mozzarella with marinara sauce is my big weakness.
6) My mouth is literally watering as I type this. Queso–nom, nom, nom. Okay, final question: What’s your favorite literary cocktail?
Two parts horror with a twist of quirky humor.
Oooh, I like it! Horror and humor all the way (please say you know and adore the latest Fright Night!).
To celebrate Jordan’s arrival to our team, we’re giving away a copy of one of her favorite books—Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment telling us what YOU think of the TV show Sherlock (and of course, saying “hi” to Jordan!). We’ll pick a winner in a week, and the contest is open internationally!