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Roy and Antrobus Discuss Adapting
Editing Stye to Fit An Author Needs
 Antrobus on Editing for Others
 and Authoring's Healing Effects

                              by Roberta M. Roy

Roberta M. Roy, Author Publisher ALVA Press, Inc.
Roy: Hi, David. Nice of you to stop by . . . but a long ways from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Poughkeepsie, New York, I’d say. Still, can’t beat the Internet for cutting travel time.
 
Antrobus: Yes, my home is just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, but I was born and raised in the United Kingdom.
 
Roy: Seems to me you are a pretty serious man but with a great appreciation for culture, music and play. For me that bespeaks strongly of a creative spirit.
  Editor David Antrobus, Author of Dissolute Kinship: a 9/11 Road Trip

Antrobus: Yes. My northern English roots probably keep me both down-to-earth and yet ready and able to draw on that Manc swagger, my adolescence in the English Midlands might add an element of myth (I grew up not far from the Nottingham area of Robin Hood fame), while living so long on the West Coast has both mellowed me and provided yet more rich mythological sources via the Coast Salish culture and iconography. The landscape itself is so spectacular (lush temperate rainforest, rivers of salmon, craggy mountains, the rich pacific coastline) that it would be impossible not to be inspired.
 
Roy: Yet the page can tie you down, no? For aren’t you both an editor and an author?
 
Antrobus: I have written in a variety of genres and styles: including music reviews, articles about youth and technology, even poetry. And I write for myself, hoping that at least one other person will appreciate it. My fiction is beginning to tend more toward darker fantasy and horror stuff lately.
 
Roy: But haven’t I also heard that you have written and published a book--something to do with 9/11?
 
Antrobus:
Yes, a rather short one: Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
 
Roy: Hmm. Interesting. What is it about?
 
Antrobus: It’s a nonfiction account of a very personal and emotional time in my life, a road trip from Western Canada to New York City set against the events of 9/11.
 
Roy: Interesting. At that time were you already involved in literature and writing?
 
Antrobus: Yes, I was. My father was a librarian, yet oddly enough, it was my mother who valued literature! And she encouraged me to read anything, not just literature. When she had finished the latest edition of the old Pan Book of Horror anthology, for example, she would leave it by my bedside, even when I was quite young. And right there is at least one explanation for my love of dark stories.
 
Roy: Yes, you mentioned before the recent turn in your style. Did your mother offer you any other literary influence?
 
Antrobus: She also appreciated a lyrical style, which I inherited (both the love of it and an urge to produce it).
 
Roy: So how was it you found yourself prompted by an event a continent away from you to write your first book? Could you talk about how that all came about?
 
Antrobus: 2001 was a very rough year for me. I had gone on medical leave from my job working with street kids due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression. I was on anti-depressants and was at a loss about what to do, what direction to take.
 
Roy: I’m sorry to hear that. I have known people who have suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It can be so debilitating. How did you manage to cope with it?
 Cover of Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip

Antrobus: During the summer, the idea of a long road trip occurred to me, due I think to some vague sense it might straighten my head out. I had a friend who lived in Brooklyn and I’d never visited New York City before, so that became my destination. So I set a date for the start: September 11, 2001.
 
Roy: Although I don’t believe there to have been any true link, in retrospect it sounds almost prophetic.
 
Antrobus: Yes, it was strange. Everything else that happened flowed from that coincidence. It took a long time to write, perhaps another full year, but I also tweaked it a lot and integrated it into a longer piece until finally deciding to return to the bare bones version and publish it last year. So, in a sense it took a decade, but mostly that’s because I didn’t know what on earth to do with it.
 
Roy: Isn’t that so often the story of first books? A traumatic or life-changing event accompanied by a special insight, an urge to share, and a latent ability to become an author. And oddly, as the stories are told, five to ten years in process is almost the norm. Currently I am working with a writer who has written an absolutely superb historic novel of the Civil War. It has taken him seventeen years to research and finalize. But had you already known you would become a writer?
 
Antrobus: I think I was probably around 14 when I actually had the thought “I want to be a writer”. In some ways, the first time you have the thought probably marks the first time you actually are a writer, in a rudimentary sense.
 
Roy: And there you were. 9/11. The world before you. A story to be told. What better time to begin? But what had shaped you and made you ready to do so?
 
Antrobus: Reading first and foremost. My favourite works I hear like music in my head and I caught their variations of rhythm and melody. I wanted to copy them. Then came writing.
 
Roy: So there you are—a writer speaking in one breath of both music and writing.
 
Antrobus: The two are inextricably linked for me.
 
Roy: Ah, such is the creative mind. But what about when you are editing—which I understand is really your bread and butter?
 
Antrobus: Even editing, which some think of as a drier exercise, is a part of the creative process, smoothing the edges, routing, sanding, shaping, reshaping.
 
Roy: There we come together. Perhaps it is because we both have been in caring professions. A long time ago I learned the verb to prize. This ability to love each as they are I refer to as prizing. I felt it with talented teachers. I know it with talented editors. I feel it with writers who come to me seeking to publish through ALVA Press. I understand what you are saying.
 
But let me ask you, David, do you edit your own work?
 
Antrobus: Popular advice about self-editing holds that you shouldn't do it, and I can see why that advice is given. The argument is that you only see what you meant to write and not necessarily what you actually wrote. And there's a great deal of truth to that.
 
Roy: Yet you generally do not have another person edit your work.
 
Antrobus: I don't fit the mold. It's nothing to be proud of: we're not proud of random quirks like eye color or the shape of our kneecaps. I just have this propensity for recognizing errors more quickly than most people. Sometime I just see errors as if they were stark and close up. Other times I have this complementary opposite thing that is similar to the effect of standing back to observe. It just makes the recognition of larger patterns easier, including when the pattern has been violated.
 
Roy: I do that sometimes, too. I just generally can’t do it in the same read through. You’re lucky to be able to do it in one.
 
Antrobus: Yes, I am lucky in that draft after draft I can be my first editor and last. That being said, however, I would probably still use an outside editor for a longer work for certainly no one can catch everything and this remains most true of ones own writing.
 
Roy: But this close-far approach seems to work for you for hasn’t editing been a very large part of your professional life?
 
Antrobus: I suppose, although I’ve been lucky in that I’ve pretty much only had positive responses from readers… and I don’t just mean my mom!
 
Roy: So what’s wrong with Mom’s?!! . . . Just joking. No offense, David. . . . But seriously. How to you find reader responses?
 
Antrobus: Reader responses are different. They are precious… even the bad ones.
 
Roy: Most authors seem to share your feelings the same take on them. . . . But do tell me how you go about the editing process.
 
Antrobus:
It’s linked to the almost painstakingly detailed way I observe my story, or any story I’m engrossed in. See, even there, I had to check whether it’s engrossed with, engrossed by, or engrossed in.
 
Roy: But do you not find it rather tedious?
 
Antrobus: The way words work, even in an intuitive level fascinates me, so for me, editing is far from the nuts-and-bolts activity it can appear to be. Language is music, so I like to tinker with the notes.
 
Roy: So you have done it because you enjoy the process?
 
Antrobus: Yes. And now it’s a way I put food on the table, my main source of income. I love to edit other writers, especially poor (in the financial sense!) independent writers, and as a result, I perhaps don’t charge what I’m worth, but it’s okay. Money has never been a motivator for me.


Roy: As an editor, what determines whether or not a work is something you are willing to take on?
 
Antrobus: If the work has at least minimal coherence and I feel I can work with the person, that we can understand each other.
 
Roy:
Isn’t that sometimes a tough call?
 
Antrobus: I feel my background in the so-called counseling field, as well as the work I’ve done on myself in that regard, genuinely help me communicate and empathize when it comes to a client’s needs and wishes.
 
Roy: How do you decide if a work needs only a line edit or a more extensive rewrite?
 
Antrobus: I read it through and try not to do any actual editing at first, get a feel for it. Then I decide. It’s difficult to put into words that process.
 
Roy: At ALVA we describe two approaches. One we think of as a read-through with recommendations for rewriting, the other as a line edit. Perhaps what you do is similar. But you said you enjoyed editing. If so, where does the fun come in?


Antrobus: Yes. And now it’s a way I put food on the table, my main source of income. I love to edit other writers, especially poor (in the financial sense!) independent writers, and as a result, I perhaps don’t charge what I’m worth, but it’s okay. Money has never been a motivator for me.
 
Roy: As an editor, what determines whether or not a work is something you are willing to take on?
 
Antrobus: If the work has at least minimal coherence and I feel I can work with the person, that we can understand each other.
 
Roy:
Isn’t that sometimes a tough call?
 
Antrobus: I feel my background in the so-called counseling field, as well as the work I’ve done on myself in that regard, genuinely help me communicate and empathize when it comes to a client’s needs and wishes.
 
Roy: How do you decide if a work needs only a line edit or a more extensive rewrite?
 
Antrobus: I read it through and try not to do any actual editing at first, get a feel for it. Then I decide. It’s difficult to put into words that process.
 
Roy: At ALVA we describe two approaches. One we think of as a read-through with recommendations for rewriting, the other as a line edit. Perhaps what you do is similar. But you said you enjoyed editing. If so, where does the fun come in?
 
Antrobus: When I feel like I am gleaning the author’s intention and streamlining the flow, honing it and cutting off extraneous material. Maybe it’s surgical. Or somewhere between a skillful surgery and that feeling of being “in the zone” that you sometimes get when you play sports!
 
Roy: Love your analogies, David. But how do you find your clients?
 
Antrobus: Word of mouth more and more. Initially, Craigslist, believe it or not.
 
Roy: American ingenuity! Or should I say Canadian-British? I love it! Craigslist. I also really appreciate your openness and honesty, David. Yes, it’s funny now. It probably was not so funny then—in the same way I once casually and accidentally—so to speak—left a small stack of bookmarks for Jolt: a rural noir on the counter at Starbucks.
 
Yes, I think we all have had our Craigslist in one way or another.
 
But when people contact you, how do you know just what to charge them?
 
Antrobus: It’s a slow negotiation, a kind of alchemy based on word count, the type of edit needed and a balance between my own financial situation and the client’s.
 
Roy:
A simple statement of a complex process. Well said, David.
 
Antrobus:
Thanks, Robin. 
 
Roy: You’re welcome.
 
But gosh, David, this has been fun. I feel I have really come to know you better. And, if I must say, given your pleasant manner and generous style, not only to prize you more, but to genuinely believe you are a really great guy whom most writers would enjoy as their editor—or most publishers and producers. Let’s talk again sometime.
 
Antrobus: Yes. Let’s do.
 
Learn more about David Antrobus, Editor Writer:
 
Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip:
         A nonfiction account of an emotionally charged road trip set   
          against the events of 9/11.
 

http://www.amazon.com/Dissolute-Kinship-Road-Trip-ebook/dp/B004U7EUGE/
 
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54664
 
The Migrant Type

http://www.the-migrant-type.com/




Tales from the Revolution - poems by Lorna Tychostup
Next Week's Interview
Lorna Tychostup, writer, photojournalist and formerly a Senior Editor with the Chronogram magazine will discuss writing and poetry and her soon to be released eBook of poems: Tales from the Revolution

Highlights
The "Mindquest Review of Books" is a leading authority for noteworthy book recommendations to book review media sources and the public. In its early summer 2012 edition it will Jolt: a rural noir. The review preview suggests the review will be read as a rave one.

In Other: Have you checked out Listopia for Great Indies Novels on Goodreads.com lately? For the month since April 15, 2012, Jolt: a rural noir by Roberta M Roy has held the top first or second spot from among more than one hundred and five nominees! Do use your vote to help keep Jolt on top.




Jolt: a rural noir
also in ePub and ePDF @
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/04105.htm
Roberta M. Roy
JOHN HARRIS  wrote, "Jolt is a well written and thoroughly researched novel which portrays, through the lives of its multiple characters, the apocalyptic aftermath of a post-nuclear 9/11. Setting her story in a fictional but believable future, Ms. Roy adroitly manages to involve the reader in her characters’ loves and lives while simultaneously illustrating the medical and societal horrors of a nuclear disaster. A “must read” for anyone, politician or otherwise, who needs to be reminded of the unimaginable consequences of a nuclear accident or attack on those fortunate or unfortunate enough to survive it."

  JOHN HARRIS, Ph.D. Radiation Biology and Biophysics
  M.D., Diplomat of American Board of Radiology
  Professor of Radiation Oncology, Emeritus

NANCY MEANS WRIGHT
responded, "Roberta M. Roy imagines in chilling detail the aftermath of a nuclear fallout on the lives of a number of sympathetic characters. She explores their joys, trials, and conflicts in both engaging backstory and traumatic present as they fight to save folk from the nightmare of radiation. This futuristic novel is well written and researched, and the victims’ stories are poignant; the plight of the young Matters brothers, in particular, will stir the blood."

NANCY MEANS WRIGHT, author of Mad Cow Nightmare and Midnight Fires

ROBERTA M ROY at the 2011 Living Now Awards
Jolt: a rural noir Midwest Book Review's Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Roberta M Roy - Not too Proud! At the 2011 Living Now Awards

Roberta M Roy is the internationally recognized award winning author of Jolt: a rural noir, the passionate love story of Natalie and Thaw as they struggle for survival in a tiny mountainside village in an imaginary part of the Northern USA overrun by forced emigrants fleeing terrorism and a nuclear meltdown, year 2020.
 

Roy blogs at:   http://alvapressinc.com,    http://alvapressinc.com/robertamroy,  and
http://robertamroy.wordpress.com/,  http://alvapressinc.com/robertamroyonnuclearsurvival.

Roy is the recipient of a 2011 Jenkins Living Now Award for Inspirational Fiction.





Drum Machine
by Kristen Henderson

KATE KNAPP JOHNSON wrote, “I don’t know whether to salute or bow to the depths and heights which this book attends to. Kristen Henderson is clever, craft-wise, CHdeliberate....Read and reread and hold the questions which rise -- as Henderson suggests: a poem “functions half as personal/note and half as telescope…”. Amen to the faith and care given to writing a nd sequencing these heart-breakingly comic, wondrously wrought, deeply felt poems.”

Kristen Henderson - eLit Gold Medal Poet
KRISTEN HENDERSON received her MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona. Her poems have appeared in Birmingham Review, ByLine, Clackamas Review, Karamu, Bloom, and other journals. In the spring of 2007, two of her poe ms wer e selected by Eamon Grennan to appear in Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley, II. Kristen is also a 2005 and 2007 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg award recipient and received First Honorable Mention in the Passages North Elinor Benedict poetry competition in 2001, and was a finalist again in 2006. Kristen received her MSW at SUNY Albany in May 2008. Kristen currently lives and works as Director of the Cherry Branch Gallery in Cherry Valley, NY. Henderson's collection of poems, Drum Machine, soon to be available at http://alvapressinc.com and currently available at http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/04105.htm, B&N, Apple iBookstore, IndieBound, Amazon.Kindle, and Lybrary.com and sixty plus other eBook retailers.


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Raves for 'Thriller' Jolt: a rural noir @ Midwest Book Review

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