Visiting with us today on Monday Meet and Greet is author and editor Rhonda Helms. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Rhonda about editing an upcoming book, and quickly discovered that she is a sharp professional in her field, as well as being a delightful person! Rhonda wears many literary hats; by turns she is a professional editor for Carina Press, a respected freelance editor, and a prolific author of YA and NA romance.
But I know you’re not here for my signature quick wit and abuse of animated GIFs, so let’s get into the interview and get to know Rhonda!
What made you want to be an editor?
I got into editing with nonfiction (my degrees are in English), but when I moved to fiction, I realized it was the perfect fit for me. My editing has helped shape my writing craft, and vice versa. And I continue to grow in my editing craft all the time because I learn from other authors and editors too. This job makes me blissfully happy. :D
What elements are MUST HAVES in a story you’d acquire?
It must have a compelling storyline. I'm seeking storytellers who can hook readers and make them keep turning the pages. I'm not seeking perfect manuscripts; we can work on cleaning up and tightening language, strengthening character, fixing plot holes, etc. But in the end, I just want a story that won't let me go.
What are your story/plot/character pet peeves?
I see the same openings ALL the time: characters waking from dreams, characters in a bar looking to hook up, characters walking in on a significant other cheating, characters arriving at a new place, etc. Fresh opening hooks help me get into your story quicker. Be original! Even if you do one of the above, how can you spin it so it's unique?
Describe a “day in the life” in your job.
I get up in the morning, answer emails, wake up and generally take care of minor administrative things. Then I work on editing. In the afternoon, I usually shift to writing and/or reading submissions. I work at home, so I set my own schedule, which I super love. LOL!
What is one essential writing tip you would give to writers aspiring for publication?
Read. Read a ton of books. Read good books and analyze what the author is doing that hooked you, regarding character and plot and setting and all those things. Read bad books and analyze where the shortcomings were. That's my top tip for writers--you should read!
Tons of great advice here! Now, Rhonda was a great sport about answering some not-so-serious questions too.
Who is your all-time favorite villain?
Oh, probably the hottie bald dude from The Mummy movie. I know he's bad, but he just wanted to be reunited with his love. How can I argue against that? Plus it doesn't hurt that he's attractive. OKAY, YOU CAN BE SUPER EVIL. Here, take my heart too. /sigh
Last book that make you either laugh out loud or reach for the Kleenex.
I just finished reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and there were some LOL moments in there. Those characters were super eccentric, so unlike anyone I've ever met in my life.
What’s your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?
New Orleans is an amazing place. It's so different than anywhere else. But I also loved Hawaii--hello, sunshine and beautiful water. Not sure I can pick. lol
If you were not an editor or a writer, what would be your dream job?
I'd be a lounge singer. I loooooooove singing and performing music. I was in a cover band for a while, even!
And there you have it folks! You can find Rhonda on Twitter at @RHelmsBooks, her author page, or her editing page. Thanks for stopping by, and let us know what you think in the comments!