Diva Interview: Write Diva, Jen Matera
Since I’ve been doing interviews for this blog, I have talked to graphic artists, public relations gurus, marketers, authors, and readers to get their personal views on topics ranging from strong women in fiction to how effective social media is to an author. But I left out a vital interview: US! So please welcome to her first Diva interview, Jen Matera, our very own CFO and copy editing maven.
Hello, Mrs. Matera! It’s a pleasure to interview you. You are one of my favorite people and my go-to gal for anything copyediting related. Where did you find your passion for words?
Hi and thank you! You are one of my favorite people, too! I’m a reader—have been since I was old enough to pick up a book. I love to read and as you know, romances top my list. But if I’m bored, I’ll read just about anything. We had the Encyclopedia Britannica when I was a kid, and I remember inhaling page after page on any topic that interested me. My mom is a big reader, too, so I’m sure she was a huge influence, as well.
What work influences you? What books help inspire you?
The work of indie authors inspires me to dream that maybe one day I can publish something I’ve written. I have so much respect for authors who have taken the plunge and self-published. I hope to one day join their ranks.
Do you find that editing is an ever learning process? What resources do you use that help you when you’re editing a manuscript?
Oh, absolutely. In the years since I started editing professionally—instead of doing it for my friends for free—I’ve learned a ridiculous amount. And not just the technicalities of copyediting, but about the different types of editing, the nuances to each type of edit, and how and when I should adjust my need for grammatical and punctuation perfection to increase readability. At any given moment, my internet browser has an open tab for The Chicago Manual of Style, Merriam Webster, Google, Grammar Girl, and The Urban Dictionary. I also refer to Amy Einsohn’s The Copyeditor’s Handbook on a regular basis as well as numerous editing and writing blogs. And then there are my favorite human resources: Lauren, Janine, and Shay.
How do you balance home life with your editing or writing?
Oh… Well, I’m not so good at this, as my family will attest to. I work one job during the day and try to keep my editing and writing to the evenings, after my children are in bed. This isn’t always possible, especially on the weekends when I’m working against a deadline, but I’m pretty lucky that my family understands how important Write Divas is for me, and they’re willing to sacrifice a little to help us succeed.
What advice can you give authors when they are writing?
When you’re writing, don’t edit. Just write. Really. Just write. Get it all out first and come back to edit later. Or send it to me; I’ll edit it for you.
Can you share with us some of your favorite books? Authors?
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is one of my favorite series, and I’ll read anything by Nora Roberts. Lately I’ve been enjoying a series of books by Rosalind James about rugby players in New Zealand and the J.J. Graves Mysteries series by Liliana Hart. Okay, apparently I like series. I really do, though. I love to revisit families or parts of the country in a series. I just finished Return to Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia, who is definitely a favorite author. She’s not only a wonderful writer, but a lovely person.
Finally, a totally off the topic question: Four Divas walk into a bar, what happens next?
Ha! That’s easy! All conversation stops, and everyone turns to look—we are fabulous, you know! But the staring doesn’t last, and soon everyone in the bar is having so much fun that the laughter drowns out the band. The divas aren’t about drama; they’re about friends and fun. Oh, and editing. Always editing.
Thank you, Jen, for taking time to share a piece of who you are to the world.