One of the people who turned Red Lory into the book it is today is someone I met just recently. In respect to my project, she put on her editor cap, but her talents are many. She's an incredible vocalist whose voice is featured in the Red Lory book trailer, she's an artist with her own style, and she's an insightful writer. The following is an interview I did with her as a means of introducing you to someone I've come to work with and respect highly. Oh, and she decided she'd up and host a Red Lory giveaway contest, so there's that too. Details at the end.
Dave Newell: With you being an editor, I think the obvious question we're all wondering is: What kind of grades did you get in high school grammar class?
Lori Sabin: Well, the Christian school I attended shut down in the MIDDLE of my sophomore year. What could be worse for an awkward, shy girl? So I was homeschooled and graduated early, which makes me sound way smarter than I really was.
DN: Were you good at dodgeball?
LS: Can we talk about kickball instead? I loved kickball. Dodgeball...not so much.
DN: I never saw the fun in kickball. I always thought it was soccer for people who didn't like to run. But am I getting too personal with this line of questioning?
LS: Always, Dave. You always get too personal, but you can get away with it because you're so nice. And funny. And authorly. (Yes, I make up words sometimes. It's the writer in me, NOT the editor.)
DN: Let's get down to brass tacks...or is it tax? Editing goes beyond commas and apostrophes. What is your most important task as an editor?
LS: Brass tacks.
The commas and apostrophes can be the easiest part at times. The hardest task is to get inside the author's head, know what they're trying to say and to help them accomplish that. It's most important to me that the writer is understood and shown in their very best light.
DN: I still haven't been able to pin down Red Lory into a genre. With that said, I know you've edited books much different from this one. Do you have to readjust your approach at the start of each project?
LS: Yes. It can actually be liberating to edit a book that is a different genre from what I usually read. It's easier to spot things that aren't clear in those cases, rather than being able to subconsciously fill in the blanks when it's something familiar. That being said—I do try to get familiar with similar genres in the process, both to see how that book fits with its peers, and also, how it differs.
When I edited Red Lory, I revisited Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, mostly to get a feel for the slower pace and the small, quiet community feel of the town.
DN: Jayber Crow is a phenomenal book that I hadn't thought of while writing this story. Now I want to read it again. It's definitely a book everyone should read. With that said, what was your favorite aspect of Red Lory while you were working on it?
LS: The book came alive to me more the second time I read it. I enjoyed the first round, but I was too preoccupied with grammar, trying to make sure I fully understood it, commas...
When I read it the second time and saw all the hidden treasures that aren't necessarily obvious right away—the loneliness that is a character all in itself and the humanity and desperation in each character—I fell in love with the book.
DN: Lori flexed some vocal muscle and contributed to the Red Lory book trailer below:
DN: Do you have a Wall of Shame at your home, showcasing the most egregious of noun/pronoun agreement errors?
LS: Um, no. But that's a great idea.
DN: Truth is, for a long time I wasn't aware that you did editing because you make some really cool jewelry. What's your favorite element in the designs you do?
LS: I love to take old pieces of random objects...junk to most, I'm sure...and turn them into something beautiful. I like mixing the old with the new, so oftentimes, people will give me things that are precious to them, such as a jar of their grandmother's buttons or brooches, and I turn it into something they can wear. A keepsake.
DN: Let's get back to books. You're writing one, and this is good news for us all. What can you tell us so far and where can we go to learn more about it?
LS: It's a story about a couple who runs into each other at the airport after a traumatic breakup, and their realization that even though their love for one another hasn't changed, sometimes love just isn't enough. The story goes back to when they met five years prior and stays there, telling what lead to the breakup that forever altered their lives. The main character, Sparrow, is as honest as they come and the first to admit her shortcomings, which often makes for a humorous protagonist.
DN: Instead of referring to you as a grammar nazi. I prefer to think of you as a grammar superhero, preventing misplaced commas from destroying the world. What should your superhero name be?
LS: It should definitely have Super or Wonder in it, shouldn't it? Hmm. Yeah, all of these are just going to add to my nerdiness, but, that wouldn't take much.
How about—Super Syntax, Grammar Girly, or Wonder Writer...I'm still envious that Wonder Woman is taken.