Elodie Olson-Coons

Elodie Olson-Coons - Editor

La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Internationally-published ghostwriter and editor specialising in literary and historical fiction, memoir and travel writing.

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Overview

As an experienced literary consultant, ghostwriter, book editor, copy editor and proofreader, I can help you make your writing sharper and smoother, your ideas clearer and more accessible, your plot more coherent or a little more exciting.

I work on a regular basis with a number of British and international publishing houses, including Faber & Faber, Pushkin Press, Canelo, Head of Zeus, Unbound, Fairlight Books, Joffe Books, Gallic Books, Arcadian and White Mountain Books. I have been a full-time freelancer since 2014.

I like getting stuck into projects, and I'm comfortable with all the messy stages of bringing a book to life, from structuring to drafting, from developmental work to line editing, from pitching to printing. I'm particularly interested in ambitious projects, intimate projects, projects with a big heart.

yes please: both literary and commercial fiction (especially historical), autobiography and memoir, experimental writing, travel writing & books with a strong sense of place, magical realism, and myths and folktales.
Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Fiction
Action & Adventure
Fantasy
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Romance
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs

Certifications

  • BA English, First Class - Magdalene College, Cambridge
  • MSc Creative Writing, Honours - Edinburgh University

Work experience

Writer, Ghostwriter, Editor, Translator

Self-employed
January, 2014 – Present (over 6 years)

The Second Pen is a bespoke literary consultancy currently based in Switzerland. With seven years of professional experience as a book editor, I specialise in literary and historical fiction, memoir, auto/biography and travel writing. I'm drawn to the collaborative aspects of editing, including working closely with writers on structure and style.

As a structural editor, copyeditor and proofreader, I work on a regular basis with Faber & Faber, Pushkin Press, Canelo, Head of Zeus, Unbound, Fairlight Books, Arcadian Lifestyle Publishing, Joffe Books, Gallic and White Mountain Books. I also take on fiction and memoir manuscripts from private clients in order to fix them up for self-publishing or submission to agents, in parallel to my ghostwriting work.

Editor

Arcadian Lifestyle Publishing
June, 2012 – Present (about 8 years)

Since 2012, I've been a book editor for Arcadian Lifestyle, an independent publishing company shepherded by Bloomsbury and Oxford University Press, editing and proofreading in-house and external projects as well as managing freelance writers.

During my time with Arcadian, I've commissioned and edited academic articles, short stories and full-length fiction and nonfiction books, overseeing every stage from conception and structuring to drafting, proofreading and printing. From 2013 onwards, I have worked for the company freelance.

Reviewer & Music Writer

Freelance
January, 2012 – Present (over 8 years)

I review classical concerts in France, Switzerland and the UK for Bachtrack, a leading international website, specialising in contemporary music and opera. I also curate the culture section for Grand Genève Magazine, a local arts publication, and occasionally write features and interviews for other publications, including Music & Literature.

Portfolio (15 selected works)

Breakfast in Bogota

Helen Young

Bogotá, 1947. British architect Luke Vosey has left his past behind to undertake a commission for Anglo-Colombian Oil in South America. For Luke, this new venture seems to offer the chance to start again. But grieving and ashamed of his role in the war, he cannot run from the past or from his nightmares.Luke finds distraction with the whores of Las Cruces and in the friendship of a young newsp... read more

Bogotá, 1947. British architect Luke Vosey has left his past behind to undertake a commission for Anglo-Colombian Oil in South America. For Luke, this new venture seems to offer the chance to start again. But grieving and ashamed of his role in the war, he cannot run from the past or from his nightmares.Luke finds distraction with the whores of Las Cruces and in the friendship of a young newsp... read more

The Mystery of Henri Pick (Walter Presents)

David Foenkinos

The delightful first title in a new collaboration with Channel 4's Walter Presents: a fast-paced comic mystery enriched by a deep love of booksIn the small town of Crozon in Brittany, a library houses manuscripts that were rejected for publication: the faded dreams of aspiring writers. Visiting while on holiday, young editor Delphine Despero is thrilled to discover a novel so powerful that she... read more

The delightful first title in a new collaboration with Channel 4's Walter Presents: a fast-paced comic mystery enriched by a deep love of booksIn the small town of Crozon in Brittany, a library houses manuscripts that were rejected for publication: the faded dreams of aspiring writers. Visiting while on holiday, young editor Delphine Despero is thrilled to discover a novel so powerful that she... read more

Those Who Eat Like Crocodiles

Laura Fitzgerald

Those Who Eat Like Crocodiles is for anyone who has tried to understand - and be understood - in an alien environment. It is for anyone who knows what it’s like to reach a crossroads in life and realise that, somewhere along the way, the rules of the game changed and you weren’t notified. It’s for anyone who has had to confront an unwelcome and disappointing discovery: that you may not be the ... read more

Those Who Eat Like Crocodiles is for anyone who has tried to understand - and be understood - in an alien environment. It is for anyone who knows what it’s like to reach a crossroads in life and realise that, somewhere along the way, the rules of the game changed and you weren’t notified. It’s for anyone who has had to confront an unwelcome and disappointing discovery: that you may not be the ... read more

Odette

Jessica Duchen

A 21st-century twist on the familiar story of Swan Lake, Odette shows – in the best tradition of Christmas fairy-tales – how even against the greatest odds innocence, empathy, humanity and hope can win the day. When a swan crashes through Mitzi Fairweather’s front window during a winter storm, the shocked young journalist decides to tend the injured bird overnight. But this is no ordinary swan... read more

A 21st-century twist on the familiar story of Swan Lake, Odette shows – in the best tradition of Christmas fairy-tales – how even against the greatest odds innocence, empathy, humanity and hope can win the day. When a swan crashes through Mitzi Fairweather’s front window during a winter storm, the shocked young journalist decides to tend the injured bird overnight. But this is no ordinary swan... read more

The Root and the Blossom: Verses from a Sufi

Khalila Shahin

Born in 1884, Khalila Shahin was a pillar of the spiritual community in the Levant. A Sufi mystic, she and her teachings were venerated across the region, from Aleppo to Konya and Istanbul. Khalila was also a gifted poet, who wrote deeply philosophical verse in accordance with Arabic literary traditions. She was never published in the West, but her poetry was immensely popular in Syria and the... read more

Born in 1884, Khalila Shahin was a pillar of the spiritual community in the Levant. A Sufi mystic, she and her teachings were venerated across the region, from Aleppo to Konya and Istanbul. Khalila was also a gifted poet, who wrote deeply philosophical verse in accordance with Arabic literary traditions. She was never published in the West, but her poetry was immensely popular in Syria and the... read more

All Quiet on the West End Front

William Rycroft

War Horse is the most successful show in the National Theatre’s history. After two seasons at the NT it transferred to London’s West End and it was here that William Rycroft joined the company for what he thought would be six months. Four and a half years later he took his final bow having seen the show become a global smash-hit, spawning productions on Broadway, in Australia, China and other ... read more

War Horse is the most successful show in the National Theatre’s history. After two seasons at the NT it transferred to London’s West End and it was here that William Rycroft joined the company for what he thought would be six months. Four and a half years later he took his final bow having seen the show become a global smash-hit, spawning productions on Broadway, in Australia, China and other ... read more

Not Speaking

Norma Clarke

Families are places of love, care, and fun; also of anger, anxiety, and quarrels. Not Speaking tells the story of a Greek matriarch, Rena, and her English children in post-war London and the present.It begins with Rena’s move out of a flat in St John’s Wood owned by her son Nicky Clarke, and the family disagreement that erupted. Moving through the London slums of Blackfriars, Greece under Nazi... read more

Families are places of love, care, and fun; also of anger, anxiety, and quarrels. Not Speaking tells the story of a Greek matriarch, Rena, and her English children in post-war London and the present.It begins with Rena’s move out of a flat in St John’s Wood owned by her son Nicky Clarke, and the family disagreement that erupted. Moving through the London slums of Blackfriars, Greece under Nazi... read more

The Cabin in the Mountains

Robert Ferguson

Turf-roofed and wooden-built, offering fresh clean air, peace, isolation and the promise of a day's wood-chopping, hiking or snow-clearing amid amid landscapes of great beauty, the hytte – or wooden cabin home – is a crucial part of the national identity of every Norwegian. In 2016, Robert Ferguson and his wife bought a piece of land high up in the Hardangervidda, the plateau that dominates so... read more

Turf-roofed and wooden-built, offering fresh clean air, peace, isolation and the promise of a day's wood-chopping, hiking or snow-clearing amid amid landscapes of great beauty, the hytte – or wooden cabin home – is a crucial part of the national identity of every Norwegian. In 2016, Robert Ferguson and his wife bought a piece of land high up in the Hardangervidda, the plateau that dominates so... read more

Monsters

Raphaela Weissman

Every evening, Annie and Paul Mayfield and their son Thomas sit together in the seething silence of their Brooklyn apartment, still haunted by the memory of the attack on the Twin Towers a year earlier. The nights are plagued by Thomas's vivid nightmares, Annie's unexplained sleepwalking, and Paul's growing paranoia as he fears the implications of their disquiet. At eight years old, Thomas is ... read more

Every evening, Annie and Paul Mayfield and their son Thomas sit together in the seething silence of their Brooklyn apartment, still haunted by the memory of the attack on the Twin Towers a year earlier. The nights are plagued by Thomas's vivid nightmares, Annie's unexplained sleepwalking, and Paul's growing paranoia as he fears the implications of their disquiet. At eight years old, Thomas is ... read more

Nightingales and Roses: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen

Maryam Sinaiee

In Nightingales and Roses, Iranian food blogger and home cook Maryam Sinaiee takes us through a full year in the Persian kitchen. From Spring through to Winter, Maryam offers the reader a true taste of real Persian cooking - Lamb and Aubergine stew, Rosewater Ice Cream with Pistachios, Baked Fish with Tamarind and Jewelled Rice. Full of flavour, history and culture, Maryam's recipes are a wond... read more

In Nightingales and Roses, Iranian food blogger and home cook Maryam Sinaiee takes us through a full year in the Persian kitchen. From Spring through to Winter, Maryam offers the reader a true taste of real Persian cooking - Lamb and Aubergine stew, Rosewater Ice Cream with Pistachios, Baked Fish with Tamarind and Jewelled Rice. Full of flavour, history and culture, Maryam's recipes are a wond... read more

Elizabeth, The Witch's Daughter

Lynda M. Andrews

Elizabeth I: From princess, to outcast, to the world’s most powerful queenIt is recorded that never once during her life did Elizabeth Tudor speak of her mother Anne Boleyn; but did she never think of her? As a little girl, Elizabeth Tudor knows she is a princess but one day is suddenly told she is now 'the Lady Elizabeth'. She witnesses from the sidelines the glittering splendour of her fathe... read more

Elizabeth I: From princess, to outcast, to the world’s most powerful queenIt is recorded that never once during her life did Elizabeth Tudor speak of her mother Anne Boleyn; but did she never think of her? As a little girl, Elizabeth Tudor knows she is a princess but one day is suddenly told she is now 'the Lady Elizabeth'. She witnesses from the sidelines the glittering splendour of her fathe... read more

Grandmother's Stories

Reda al-Dabbagh

A Small Dark Quiet

Miranda Gold

March, 1945. The ravaged face of London will soon be painted with victory, but for Sylvie, the private battle for peace is just beginning. When one of her twins is stillborn, she is faced with a consuming grief for the child she never had a chance to hold. A Small Dark Quiet follows a mother as she struggles to find the courage to rebuild her life and care for an orphan whom she and her husban... read more

March, 1945. The ravaged face of London will soon be painted with victory, but for Sylvie, the private battle for peace is just beginning. When one of her twins is stillborn, she is faced with a consuming grief for the child she never had a chance to hold. A Small Dark Quiet follows a mother as she struggles to find the courage to rebuild her life and care for an orphan whom she and her husban... read more

Soul Force

Suzanne Franco

Unlike most teenagers her age, in the face of danger and adversity, Valliamma Mudliar, showed no sign of fear. Under the hardship of white oppression in South Africa during the early 1900’s, Valliamma and her Satyagrahi sisters are desperate to carry out their mission as they bravely march along endless dirt roads, pressing on across forbidden provincial borders. The Regime’s brutal and unforg... read more

Unlike most teenagers her age, in the face of danger and adversity, Valliamma Mudliar, showed no sign of fear. Under the hardship of white oppression in South Africa during the early 1900’s, Valliamma and her Satyagrahi sisters are desperate to carry out their mission as they bravely march along endless dirt roads, pressing on across forbidden provincial borders. The Regime’s brutal and unforg... read more

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun

Sébastien Japrisot

Voted one of the Sunday Times 100 Best Crime Novels 'Classic suspenseful noir from "the French Graham Greene”' The Times Dany Longo is blonde, beautiful — and thoroughly unpredictable. After doing a favour for her boss, she finds herself behind the wheel of his exquisite Thunderbird on a sun-kissed Parisian morning. On impulse she decides to head south. What started as an impromptu joy-ride ra... read more

Voted one of the Sunday Times 100 Best Crime Novels 'Classic suspenseful noir from "the French Graham Greene”' The Times Dany Longo is blonde, beautiful — and thoroughly unpredictable. After doing a favour for her boss, she finds herself behind the wheel of his exquisite Thunderbird on a sun-kissed Parisian morning. On impulse she decides to head south. What started as an impromptu joy-ride ra... read more

Elodie has 8 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Joe Kelley
Excellence, Start to finish.

Joe Kelley, May 2020


Kiran Bhat
Elodie was a very good editor. She established rapport with me immediately, and I felt that her edits were quite on point. It was a joy working with her, and I wish her the best.

Kiran Bhat, April 2020


Kitty Sweeney
Elodie covered all aspects of editing - from editorial assessment right through to final copy edit and polish. She was patient and knowledgeable, her suggestions often resulting in unexpected changes of direction which massively improved the plot as a whole. Elodie is incredibly supportive, especially when you're feeling a little overwhelmed, and my novel is all the better for her guidance. ...
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Kitty Sweeney, October 2019


Jon Partner
Elodie has really helped my book come alive. Helping me to edit and see the potential in my novel, I am very pleased with her help!

Jon Partner, June 2018


Yiannis Spyropoulos
Elodie is a remarkable young editor who improved my work significantly and exceeded expectations in all respects. She made sensible comments and has treated my manuscript with care and attention to detail. She is professional and timely. I could not recommend her highly enough.

Yiannis Spyropoulos, May 2018

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Gillian Holmes

I have worked with many authors, and I never get tired of helping someone write the very best book they can. It's always a thrill.

London, United Kingdom

Margaret Diehl

Published novelist and memoirist with extensive editing experience who takes pleasure in assisting other writers solve problems.

New York, New York,

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