Diva Interview: Write Diva, Shay Goodman

Continuing our series on getting to know the Divas, today we’re sitting down with Shay Goodman, a brilliant editor, friend, and partner.

Hello, Shay! Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you started in this wonderful world of editing?

Well, honestly, I kind of tripped and fell into the publishing world. I’ve always had a love of books, but career-wise I thought I wanted to be a nurse. I went to school and worked in the field for a short time but soon decided that it was not the career for me. Props to those who work in the medical field, though.

I went from designing webpages to writing awful books and then ended up starting an online business as a book reseller. When the bottom fell out of that market with the advent of the e-book, I went back to writing. The natural offshoot of writing is editing, coaching, and mentoring. It was during this time that I discovered a true love of editing and came to the attention of a publisher who offered to pay me to do what I often did for free. I jumped at the opportunity and worked my way up through the ranks. It was the beginning of the career I never knew I wanted.

You’re a busy gal, how do you handle it all. Home, family, gardening, editing?

LOL! Well, I guess I’d have to say I don’t handle it all. I have a very supportive family and we share the load.

And you know better than to get me started on gardening, especially when it’s winter, and I’ve got garden expansion plans I’m not afraid to talk about. 🙂 Next thing you know, we’ll be discussing organic food, heirloom seeds, homesteading, canning, and my adventures in unschooling. It’s a slippery, slippery slope, darlin’.

Ha! Homesteading. But seriously, what advice do you like to give an author when you first start working with them? How do you think it’s helpful advice during the editing process?

Inevitably the first thing I say to an author is that they shouldn’t take the edits personally, and I reiterate that often. It’s hard to put your heart and soul on a page and then hand it to a stranger for them to deconstruct. I think if authors know from the start that the editor is just as committed to the success of a book as the author is, well, it makes the process easier to handle.

I have found that since I’ve started editing, I have a hard time writing my own manuscripts. Do you think editing as a profession has helped or hindered you as a writer?

Well, the answer is both. I find that it’s hindered my ability to just sit down and write because I’ve become so perfectionistic about each sentence. On the other hand, the quality of manuscripts I write has drastically improved. Editing books for others has shown me what works and doesn’t work in a story, characterization, and even plot.

Who is one of the most influential authors that has inspired you and why?

Oooo… tough one. I have a great love of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. It’s a book I read over and over, and I find that I take away something new each time I read it. To me, it’s the multiple layers that make it such a great story. Absolutely fantastic characterizations. I also love derivative stories of all types. Pride and Prejudice continuations and reimaginings are my guilty pleasure. Ted Dekker is probably my favorite author. I think he’s been quite instrumental in widening the horizons of Christian publishers and proving that an author can write stories about faith that defy the status quo.

Okay, it’s 1992. What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to not change a thing, because though the path has been convoluted and at times scary, the journey has been amazing.

Finally, four Divas walk into a bar: What happens next?

I think I’ve heard this joke before… somewhere. LOL

It’s hard to tell what will happen when the Divas get together, but it’s guaranteed to be awesome.


Thanks, Shay!

If you have any questions for Shay, please comment below.


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