So, how do you blog about meeting your editor when you know there’s a better than average chance that said editor will actually read what you write about her??? Fortunately, I don’t need to worry about it because I really liked her…so I don’t have to make anything up!
I told my husband I liked her and he said, “Well, of course you liked her! She’s your editor!” Okay, I’ll admit that when a person has pulled your manuscript out of the slush pile and then gone on to do quite a few more books with you, that does sort of start things off on the right foot socially…but just because someone is your editor doesn’t mean you have to like them! You have to be able to work with them, but you don’t necessarily have to like them. (But I figured I’d like her…after 5-6 years of e-mails, phone calls…plus reading her book and her blog, I had a pretty good idea what she’d be like…)
I got to the coffee shop early because (and anyone who’s ever met me at a coffee shop can attest to this) it takes me ten minutes to decide what I want! I always want the white mocha with the regular milk and the whipped cream and the pretty little drizzle of chocolate sauce, but I know tea is the “better decision.” And I usually DO make the “better decision,” it just takes me ten minutes to do it.
So I walked in ten minutes early, walked all the way to the back of the place to make sure my editor wasn’t there already…I didn’t see anyone that looked like her (nor did I see anyone with a catalog from the publisher, which was how I was supposed to recognize her if I didn’t recognize her from pictures I’ve seen on her Flickr account), so I went back to the counter to begin my deliberation. I let three people order ahead of me while I made up my mind (and watched the door). Then I finally went up and ordered my tea. While I was paying, and keeping one eye on the door, and wondering how mad the nice cashier girl would get if I suddenly said, “Wait a minute! I changed my mind! I want the mocha…it’s a special occasion. I’m meeting my editor!” my editor sort of appeared out of nowhere! She definitely didn’t come through the door while I was standing there…and I didn’t see her in the back, so I don’t know where she came from, but there she was…with a nice, big smile on her face. She knew me, even if I didn’t know her.
I had such a nice time with her! On my way downtown I wondered what we’d talk about (Iowa City? The weather? Why I botched my first draft of my current Boxcar book so badly?), but I needn’t have worried. There was NEVER a gap in conversation. We just talked and talked and talked. She was so easy to talk to…and really interesting! With everything she said I had like ten questions I wanted to ask…it was like hanging out with any of my friends. And before I knew it, almost three hours had passed! I couldn’t believe it! I definitely would have enjoyed spending the afternoon with her even if she wasn’t my editor.
She also showed me pictures…pictures of the outside of the building where she works, her office and another editor’s office (I cannot be the only author in the world who actually wants to see this stuff!), the warehouse, a three-day pile of slush…I even got to see a picture of them opening copies of my My Mom’s Having a Baby. I’m sure none of these pictures were any big deal to her since this is her job and she goes there every day…it’s probably comparable to somebody asking me to see pictures of my kitchen. But I LOVED seeing them. Someday I’ll have to actually go there and see it for myself.
I had forgotten that she was actually in town a few years ago when we worked on our first book together, but we didn’t get together then. And in retrospect, I think I’m glad we met for the first time now rather than back then. For one thing, I probably would’ve been too nervous to meet her then. It was nice to build a little more history together first. But after eight books together (okay, we’re still working on two of them), it was wonderful to have the opportunity spend time with her in a social situation and get to know her as a real person (she’s a writer, too!) instead of this almost larger-than-life, God-like being who picked MY manuscript out of the thousands of others she had to choose from.