Janine O'Malley is a Senior Editor with Farrar, Straus and Girroux and is the editor of Marie Rutkoski's THE WINNER'S CURSE. Janine is here with us today with some amazing insight into what it was like working with Marie and creating the amazing book that is THE WINNER'S CURSE.
1) What is it about THE WINNER'S CURSE that attracts people the most?
I think that it's the characters. Marie is wonderful at crafting characters that you can't help but become emotionally invested in. Kestrel and Arin feel so real that your heart aches for them as you are pulled into their lives. I love the way that they grow and change because of knowing each other, and the risks that they each take for the other, even as they deny themselves the happiness of being together.
2) What's your favorite part about working with Marie?
Definitely her! Marie is lovely and smart and incredibly talented. She is truly one of my very favorite people on the planet.
3) What were your first thoughts on THE WINNER'S CURSE when you first read through it?
When Marie told me about the book while she was writing it, I got chills because it sounded so good. TWC is my fifth book with Marie, and while I have loved all of them, I knew that this series was something special. I was just about to go on maternity leave with my second child when Marie sent me the draft of the manuscript, and I was worried that I wouldn't have time to read it before baby arrived, but once I read the first line, I didn't stop until I reached the last one. I was in awe. The book is at turns beautiful and heartbreaking, and it's absolutely riveting from beginning to end.
4) What do you love/hate about the editing process?
I love digging in and getting to the heart of a book. It's my job to help the author write the strongest novel possible, and so I enjoy raising questions and getting the author to go deep.
5) What do you feel makes a good author-editor relationship?
Listening to and trusting each other.
6) How was this experience different from other projects you've worked on?
Marie is such a great writer that I don't have to do all that much heavy lifting or line editing. Sometimes it can be tricky line editing her books because every sentence is so well-chosen that I get swept along and I have to pause and go back to ask the necessary questions. It's a good problem to have!
7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers going through revisions?
Ask your story and characters lots of questions as you're revising. And try to find an unbiased reader who will do the same.