This month I asked Berkley editor Kate Seaver to step into the spotlight and tell us all a little about herself and her role as editor.
So Kate, welcome and the floor is all yours!
It's a pleasure to be a guest on this wonderful site. Thanks for inviting me, Winnie! By way of introducing myself, I'm a Senior Editor at Berkley Publishing Group where I acquire and edit a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including romance, women's fiction, and mystery titles. I recently wrote about my path to becoming an editor and some of the first books that inspired my love of reading and I thought I'd share it with you.
I was the kid who hid a novel inside her history textbook during class and read late into the night by flashlight. I always carried a book with me in case I had a few extra minutes to spare for reading. I knew the local librarian and bookseller by first name and would spend hours in both the public library and the nearby bookstore.
It never occurred to me to become an editor, though. Reading was something I did for pleasure and I didn't consider that a whole industry was built on publishing books. When I graduated from Vassar College with a history degree, I got a job in the business world in order to learn practical skills in marketing, sales, and accounting. It wasn't until a couple of years later when I saw an ad for an editorial assistant position that I decided to follow my passion for books to the publishing world. From that very first job, I felt incredibly lucky to work with authors and play a role in publishing books.
One of my favorite parts of being an editor is working with talented and creative authors who delight me with their imagination and storytelling ability. I'm continually amazed by the fictional worlds authors create. Whether the stories are predominantly humorous and fun or scary and dark I enjoy the adventure!
I remember my third grade teacher reading The Phantom Tollbooth out loud to my class. I was enchanted! It was so clever and different from any book I'd encountered. It's still one of my favorites. Some of my other early favorite novels were Anne of Green Gables, Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing, Bridge to Terabithia, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Island of the Blue Dolphins, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. I also read all of Madeleine L'Engle and Cynthia Voigt's books. That's such a small sample of titles and authors I loved, but I think it points to the fact that what I appreciate is a really good story.
As a young reader I wanted to be entertained, whether the story made me laugh or cry, and it's definitely a quality I'm searching for as an editor. I want to acquire well written novels that stand out for their originality, whether in plot, voice, or character. I have a forty-five minute commute on the subway in the morning and evening, and I'm looking for submissions that are so engaging I miss my stop—especially at the end of a long day.
Thanks again for the invite, Winnie. I hope this snippet provided your readers a little insight about me and what kind of books l'm looking to acquire.
WG: Thank you for stopping by Kate. It was a pleasure visiting with you, as always!