Susan DeFreitas

Susan DeFreitas - Editor

Portland, OR, USA

Award-winning author, experienced editor, and book coach specializing in literary and speculative fiction.

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Overview

I am a freelance editor and book coach.

My debut novel, HOT SEASON won the 2017 Gold IPPY Award for Best Fiction of the Mountain West, and in the same year I was named "One of 25 Oregon Authors Every Oregonian Must Read" by The Oregonian. I'm also the editor of Dispatches from Anarres, an anthology of short fiction in tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin (forthcoming from Forest Avenue Press).

I have nearly a decade of experience as a freelance editor, and I'm a Founding Coach with Jennie Nash's Author Accelerator program.

I believe in the power of story to heal, help, and make whole.

I also believe in the Chicago Manual of Style.

Genres: Literary, speculative, historical, mystery/thriller, YA.
Services: Manuscript evaluation, developmental editing, line editing, and creative consulting on works in progress.

Testimonials:

“Susan DeFreitas isa genius—the queen of the big picture.”
—Ariel Gore, author of We Were Witches (Feminist Press)

“I already knew you were a phenomenal WRITER. What I did not know is that you are a thrilling editrix, too. I loved your ideas so very much.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan (Harper

“I just cannot express my appreciation for your editorial work. This book is SOOO much stronger for your eye and wit.”
Aya De Leon, IPPY Award–winning author of the Justice Hustlers series (Kensington Books)

Your insights and comments have been amazingly helpful. I think they’ll make the book much stronger.”
Scott Sparling, author of
Wire to Wire
(Tin House Books)

"If you are in need of an independent developmental editor, I highly recommend Susan DeFreitas. I recently hired her to do a last read on my new novel and she slayed. Brilliant insight, and not afraid to point out areas that need work."
Mo Daviau, author of Every Anxious Wave (St. Martin's Press)

"Susan saved my second book (and maybe my whole series)! She was able to take my first draft, sort through the mess, and find the story I really wanted to tell."
Brian Tashima, author of the Joel Suzuki series (Prism Valley Press)

"A genius editor."
Cathrine A. Hamilton, author of Nine Days (Kinglet Books)

I’ve got a shelf full of craft books but none has ever made me feel as empowered and ready to write as one session with Susan. She understood where I wanted to go with my novel and asked just the right questions to help me understand how to get there. I walked away inspired, excited, confident and motivated.”
—Kristin Brown, author of
Coldwater
(WIP)
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Fantasy
Literary Fiction
Science Fiction
Urban Fantasy

Certifications

  • MFA in Writing (Fiction), Pacific University
  • BA in Arts and Letters, Prescott College
  • Graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy
  • Author Accelerator–certified coach

Awards

  • 2017 Gold IPPY Award (Best Fiction of the Mountain West)
  • Best of the Net Nomination
  • Named "One of 25 Oregon Authors Every Oregonian Must Read" by The Oregonian

Work experience

Book Coach

Self-employed
December, 2017 – Present (over 2 years)

In addition to serving a freelance editor, coach, and book strategist, I am a Founding Coach specializing in fiction through Jennie Nash's Author Accelerator program.

Collaborative Editor

Self-employed
January, 2010 – Present (over 10 years)

In addition to serving a freelance editor, coach, and book strategist, I serve as a collaborative editor specializing in fiction with Indigo Editing, Design, and More.

My areas of expertise include plot, structure, and character, with an emphasis on effective strategies for revision. I believe that the role of an independent editor is not simply to improve the manuscript’s chances for success in the marketplace but to help the author achieve his or her unique vision for it.

Founder--Editor, Book Coach, and Book Marketing Strategist

Self-employed
January, 2010 – Present (over 10 years)

My areas of expertise include plot, structure, and character, with an emphasis on effective strategies for revision. I believe that the role of an independent editor is not simply to improve the manuscript’s chances for success in the marketplace but to help the author achieve his or her unique vision for it.

Portfolio (9 selected works)

Hot Season

Susan DeFreitas

Winner of the 2017 Gold IPPY Award for Best Fiction of the Mountain West."A stunning debut."--The Huffington PostAn outlaw activist on the run. A pipeline set to destroy a river. And three young women who must decide who to love, who to trust, and what to sacrifice for the greater good.Set in the tinder-dry Southwest--and based in part on real events in the early nineties and mid-aughts--Hot S... read more

Winner of the 2017 Gold IPPY Award for Best Fiction of the Mountain West."A stunning debut."--The Huffington PostAn outlaw activist on the run. A pipeline set to destroy a river. And three young women who must decide who to love, who to trust, and what to sacrifice for the greater good.Set in the tinder-dry Southwest--and based in part on real events in the early nineties and mid-aughts--Hot S... read more

A Great Length of Time

Joyce Cherry Cresswell

Awarded the 2017 Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, this compelling novel tells the sometimes grueling, sometimes humorous story of a woman in a man's world. Assigned as a nurse to a hospital ship during the Civil War, Dr. Rose Barnett hopes someone will apprentice her in the modern art of surgery. But she has more to learn than how to amputate the ruined limbs of Union soldiers. Confronted by her o... read more

Awarded the 2017 Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, this compelling novel tells the sometimes grueling, sometimes humorous story of a woman in a man's world. Assigned as a nurse to a hospital ship during the Civil War, Dr. Rose Barnett hopes someone will apprentice her in the modern art of surgery. But she has more to learn than how to amputate the ruined limbs of Union soldiers. Confronted by her o... read more

Open Country: A Civil War Novel in Stories

Jeff Richards

2015 will bring to a close the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and timed to this momentous occasion, the publication of a striking debut novel by Jeff Richards, told in eighteen interwoven stories. Set during the Civil War and inspired by the true tales of Aden Price and Thomas Jermyn Walker Price, father and son veterans of the Civil War and Richards ancestors OPEN COUNTRY: A Civil War Nov... read more

2015 will bring to a close the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and timed to this momentous occasion, the publication of a striking debut novel by Jeff Richards, told in eighteen interwoven stories. Set during the Civil War and inspired by the true tales of Aden Price and Thomas Jermyn Walker Price, father and son veterans of the Civil War and Richards ancestors OPEN COUNTRY: A Civil War Nov... read more

City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales

City of Weird conjures what we fear: death, darkness, ghosts. Hungry sea monsters and alien slime molds. Blood drinkers and game show hosts. Set in Portland, Oregon, these thirty stories blend imagination, literary writing, and pop culture into a cohesive weirdness that honors the city’s personality, its bookstores and bridges and solo volcano, as well as the tradition of sci-fi pulp magazines... read more

City of Weird conjures what we fear: death, darkness, ghosts. Hungry sea monsters and alien slime molds. Blood drinkers and game show hosts. Set in Portland, Oregon, these thirty stories blend imagination, literary writing, and pop culture into a cohesive weirdness that honors the city’s personality, its bookstores and bridges and solo volcano, as well as the tradition of sci-fi pulp magazines... read more

Side Chick Nation (Justice Hustlers)

Aya de Leon

A Justice Hustlers Novel She’s beautiful, unpredictable—and on the run from dangerous men. But this ex-side chick is ready to risk everything to help others in trouble . . . Fed up with her married Miami boyfriend, savvy Dulce has no problem stealing his drug-dealer stash and fleeing to her family in the Caribbean. But when she gets bored in rural Santo Domingo, she escapes on a sugar daddy ad... read more

A Justice Hustlers Novel She’s beautiful, unpredictable—and on the run from dangerous men. But this ex-side chick is ready to risk everything to help others in trouble . . . Fed up with her married Miami boyfriend, savvy Dulce has no problem stealing his drug-dealer stash and fleeing to her family in the Caribbean. But when she gets bored in rural Santo Domingo, she escapes on a sugar daddy ad... read more

Grayland

Maddie DeLange

After her sister’s suicide, Marina Magaña struggles to get through each day. Stuck in a dead-end job, stalled out of college, and falling out with friends and family, her world is stagnating, drained of color. She’s lost and doesn’t know where her life is headed.One day she finds a mysterious locket, and soon after, a mysterious figure—the gray man—appears. Marina doesn’t know what to make of ... read more

After her sister’s suicide, Marina Magaña struggles to get through each day. Stuck in a dead-end job, stalled out of college, and falling out with friends and family, her world is stagnating, drained of color. She’s lost and doesn’t know where her life is headed.One day she finds a mysterious locket, and soon after, a mysterious figure—the gray man—appears. Marina doesn’t know what to make of ... read more

Joel Suzuki, Volume One: Secret of the Songshell

Brian Tashima

Joel Suzuki gets a huge surprise when he bumps into his favorite rock star while walking down the street. You see, this particular rock star – multiplatinum bandleader Marshall Byle – is supposed to be dead. Joel gets an even bigger surprise when Marshall makes him the offer of a lifetime: the chance to become a rock star himself. There's a catch, of course, but this one is a little different.... read more

Joel Suzuki gets a huge surprise when he bumps into his favorite rock star while walking down the street. You see, this particular rock star – multiplatinum bandleader Marshall Byle – is supposed to be dead. Joel gets an even bigger surprise when Marshall makes him the offer of a lifetime: the chance to become a rock star himself. There's a catch, of course, but this one is a little different.... read more

Think Zebras

Kathryn D. Scott

A lowly virus, a disturbed mind, and an internal power struggle. A common illness is killing the elderly in Revere County, but Mary Campbell, the nurse supervisor for the understaffed Communicable Disease Control Unit, is told not to worry. The increase in outbreaks is likely due to a new strain of the virus circulating in the United States. But something feels wrong. Mary senses she’s overloo... read more

A lowly virus, a disturbed mind, and an internal power struggle. A common illness is killing the elderly in Revere County, but Mary Campbell, the nurse supervisor for the understaffed Communicable Disease Control Unit, is told not to worry. The increase in outbreaks is likely due to a new strain of the virus circulating in the United States. But something feels wrong. Mary senses she’s overloo... read more

Count the Mountains

Pamela Lindholm-Levy

Linnie Ann Adams and her father leave Illinois for Denver expecting abundant rewards from a gold mine investment. All too soon both the stock and Linnie Ann’s father die, and she is left penniless and without prospects. She agrees to assist a mining town doctor in Rhodochrosite, Colorado, where explosions, cave-ins, barroom violence, childhood epidemics, and home childbirths fill her days. As ... read more

Linnie Ann Adams and her father leave Illinois for Denver expecting abundant rewards from a gold mine investment. All too soon both the stock and Linnie Ann’s father die, and she is left penniless and without prospects. She agrees to assist a mining town doctor in Rhodochrosite, Colorado, where explosions, cave-ins, barroom violence, childhood epidemics, and home childbirths fill her days. As ... read more

Susan has 3 reviews

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

J. Osterhaus
Susan was a great help with her manuscript evaluation. She identified a lot of issues with characters, plot, and genre conventions. She also highlighted a sensitive point other beta readers and I didn’t notice. A lot of good criticism that will be incorporated into future revision(s). Thanks again!

J. Osterhaus, April 2019

Susan DeFreitas
It was a pleasure to work with you, J.! Please do keep me posted on your work.

Reply from Susan DeFreitas


Gil Fortis
Working with Susan was a delight. Her thorough and comprehensive notes really helped me gain insight into my novel. Her notes really helped me gain insight into my material and my writing. I would highly recommend collaborating with Susan if you have the chance.

Gil Fortis, March 2019

Susan DeFreitas
Thanks, Gil! It was a pleasure working with you.

Reply from Susan DeFreitas


Arnoud Otte
As a starting author I asked Susan for an assessment on my partial manuscript to get an early read on my weak points. She delivered a thorough analysis, that displayed her steadfastness in finding a forest among my trees, rocks, and shrubbery. She picked up on all the aspects with which I felt I struggled and revealed four or five more findings I had not even considered. Susan has guided me w...
Read more

Arnoud Otte, September 2018

Susan DeFreitas
So glad the feedback was helpful, Arnoud! This is a fabulous opening, and I'm wishing you all the best with your novel.

Reply from Susan DeFreitas

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