I started in this industry almost ten years ago, as an intern at Macmillan. There, I had the enormous good fortune to work with Roaring Brook, the young adult and middle grade imprint, as well as with First Second, which produced some of the most incredible comic books I've ever read. Working in that environment, interfacing with authors, putting my eye for detail to good use, really shaped the way I saw the industry. Not as authors sometimes see it--as an impossible staircase riddled with trap doors and inexplicably locked gates--but as a place that was fundamentally collaborative, creative, and above all, one that valued good books.
From there, I moved to a literary agency, where I was a personal assistant for just over a year. My favorite part of that work was sifting through the dozens of emails we received daily for the queries that really grabbed my attention. As I gained responsibility in that role, I had the autonomy to work directly with authors, particularly those who were just starting out. There, I found what I was best at: collaborating individually with writers to help tell their stories. As a creative writing major and an author myself, I had an eye for the ways in which the pieces of narrative could come together, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to provide detailed feedback.
After a while in that position, it became clear to me that for the good of my own work, I could benefit from an MFA. I attended Emerson College, where I learned so much more about my craft from a technical perspective. I was encouraged to read broadly and to step back every once and a while to get a real sense of the machinery that went into making stories.
But I was never able to fully let go of my work in publishing. I joined the staff of Ploughshares, one of the world's premier literary journals, where I served as an editorial assistant and eventually senior editorial assistant. This gave me such incredible opportunities to survey the state of fiction today, to see up close the emerging talents, and to travel and attend events like AWP that put me in direct contact with writers. During this period, I also began teaching--something I continue to do today and love deeply--and working one on one with writers with my own freelance editing practice.
I got my start with an unfortunately now-defunct publisher of YA novels, Merit Press, providing detailed developmental edits on novels slated for publication. Shortly thereafter, I began taking on additional clients of my own. These projects ranged far and wide: memoirs, novels, nonfiction books, stories, one memorable space opera with sections written in verse. I loved them all.
Throughout this time, I've continued my own writing practice. I've been published in the Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, and Electric Literature, among other places, and have received the St. Botolph Emerging Artists Award, the Rex Warner Prize, and the Nancy Lynn Schwartz Prize for Fiction. I've also written essays on contemporary fiction, particularly fabulist and queer fiction--two themes that are extremely close to my heart. This part of the work is very important to me--and not just because I love it. One thing I bring to all of my projects is the perspective of a writer--with all the complicated, confusing, fantastical messiness that entails.