Almost five years ago, when editor Nancy Mercado took on Birthmarked, she delivered the written offer to my agent in a box with an orange. Since an orange in the novel symbolized hope in dark places, her gesture resonated with me. I knew she would be the perfect editor to help me make the most of Gaia’s story, and it has been a delight to work with her through three and a half novels.
I’m going to miss her. Nan called a month ago to tell me she was taking a new job as an editorial director at Scholastic, and I was super excited for her. It’s a great opportunity, and she’ll have new, far-reaching responsibilities. Before she packed up her office, she managed to sneak in one more partial edit on my current book, and I’m savoring her last notes as I revise.
At the same time, I’m excited about beginning work with my new editor, Kate Jacobs. Kate has been at Roaring Brook for six years, and I have it from three different sources that she’s brilliant. We had our first phone call last week and hit it off immediately. (We both do Sudokus!) She has read the opening 100 pages, which she discussed with Nan, but otherwise, she’ll be coming into this project with fresh eyes, and I’m eager to see how the manuscript will hold up.
I’m not sure how many other writers have the chance to work with two crack editors on the same book, but I suspect it’s rare. I feel extraordinarily lucky. The one thing I want, most of all, is to make sure Project Next evolves into the richest, most satisfying thing I can write. I’m trusting my new editor to tell me if it’s not there yet, and to help me move it along. I’m also secretly hoping she’ll come up with the perfect title.