Digging Deep with Derek Adam
When I initially decided to do author interviews I knew I wanted to do a few things different.
- Unique questions specific to each individual (not duplicated)
- Fun and engaging questions that readers would love to know
- Thoughtful questions that get into the meat of the person
But then I realized that there’s more to this industry than the authors. We as authors wouldn’t be able to thrive without all the other professionals we work with and rely on for everything we publish. The photographers, graphic designs, illustrators, format-savvy folks, the personal assistants, our editors.
So, I wanted to make sure those professionals get just as much spotlight with readers, followers, and other industry pros.
That’s why I’m kicking off my interviews with a terrific lady I’ve had the pleasure to connect with as a friends and professional.
Derek: So, you’re a busy lady. You’re a stay-at-home mom, you devour books like crazy, plus you’ve got a couple businesses on the side – what are the work-at-home gigs you have going on?
Virginia: Hi Derek, Thank you for having me. I have 2 businesses right now. The one I work on full time is editing and proofreading books. I pretty much do that all day every day. Not only does it keep me busy but it keeps me on my toes. I have to be sharp, pay attention to detail, and be thorough. I love it. I have gotten to work on so many great stories and read so many authors that are new to me.
The second business I have is I am a Rodan & Fields consultant. I don’t know if you are familiar with it but it’s the #1 skin care brand in America right now. People can buy the products through me or they can join my team. We are launching in Australia next week, which is huge. And by the way, our products can be used by men too.
Derek: How did you get into the editing game?
Virginia: I’ve been in the indie book world for a little over five years doing multiple things. The more I read, the more I started noticing things in books. As I built relationships with authors and became comfortable with them, I would mention it. I then started doing proofreading for free. A few of my friends kept asking why I was doing it for free when people get paid to edit and proofread. I really debated putting myself out there but I realized they were right and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The response has been fantastic. July was one year that I started doing it as a business and I have had full time work since. I am so thankful for all those who trust me with their work.
Derek: You’ve worked with some amazing talent, too, just in the time that I’ve been in self-publishing. That includes some best-selling authors. Do a lot of your clients go on to hit those bestseller lists?
Virginia: I am open to working with anyone. New authors, established authors. Doesn’t matter. I believe everyone deserves a chance. And yes, some have. Like Lily Kate who made USA Today with her first book.
Derek: So out of all your clients (and friends) you’ve worked with I know you’ve got some favorite authors who can just sweep you away in their stories. Who are three authors you’d be most likely to recommend to a reader?
Virginia: Lauren Blakely. Oh my God. I love her books. All of them. They make me so happy when I’m reading them. They are witty and romantic and steamy and she writes the perfect male POV.
Brittainy Cherry. Her writing is really a gift to us all. She just has such a way with words and is so talented.
MR Leahy. She pushed me out of my comfort zone. Her books are considered on the darker side and I was anxious to work on them but I did it and I absolutely loved them. The books made me realize maybe I am not as much of a wimp as I think I am. I see more dark reads in my future.
Derek: I imagine being a mom and business owner keeps you on the go often, do you use the drive to process tasks and think about business stuff or do you sing your face off in the car?
Virginia: I’m a big fan of music in the car. I love music in general and in the car is really the only time I get to listen to it. So yes, I sing in the car. But I cannot confirm that I sing my face off. I plead the fifth on that.
Derek: How many books do you typically edit in a month?
Virginia: I would say I edit and proofread between 9 and 11 manuscripts a month. When I edit I do two rounds. Proofreads I do one.
Derek: And then you’re also a reviewer, how many books do you typically read in a month to provide reviews on your blog?
Virginia: I am a part of Stephanie’s Book Reports and I usually read and review about 10 ARCs a month or so. September is heavy for me- I have 19.
Derek: So how do you spend the free time that you do get – and you can’t say reading! That’s too easy. If you had to stop reading and fill your free time with something else, how would you unwind?
Virginia: I really don’t have much free time these days. When I’m not working I am reading my ARCs or spending time with the kids. However, I can knit and do so pretty well. I used to sell my stuff. If I had more free time, I would do that more. It’s relaxing and fun and you make beautiful pieces.
Derek: You’re a fierce New Yorker, I’ve heard your accent. Who has the best pizza hands down?
Virginia: I’m cracking up right now. I could live on pizza. No joke. Pizza is life. It’s one of my favorite things. I would say Pepperoni Grill in Holbrook on Long Island is one of my favs. But I don’t discriminate. I am an equal opportunity pizza lover.
Derek: So, book signings and author events… they take place like every month all over the globe. Which one has been your favorite so far? What did you love about it? Is there an event that’s on your “must visit” list?
Virginia: I love signings and have been to quite a few. A lot of the times I volunteer by helping an author. I would say one of my favorites is Authors in the City because it’s not too crazy and all of the authors are really down to earth. I also love Indies Invade Philly which I will be at this weekend. It’s always a great signing. I have quite a few planned for 2018 and I can’t wait for Apollycon and Book Bonanza.
Derek: As an editor and proofreader, you get manuscripts across a lot of genres. What’s your favorite subgenre in romance to read?
Virginia: My favorites are contemporary romance and romantic comedy. I love books that make me laugh and make me happy. I don’t mind angst and drama mixed in but I like feeling good when I read.
Derek: What’s your least favorite, or is there a romance subgenre that you just won’t touch?
Virginia: I don’t really do dark reads, only because I’m a wimp. I did work on one series- Set Me Free and Set Us Free by MR Leahy and I really loved both books. I need to read more in the genre at some point.
Derek: You ever work on a manuscript that was so damn good you had to keep backing up to refocus on editing because it was sucking you in?
Virginia: Yes!!! I love when I get a manuscript that I really love and I’ve been fortunate to have many. I have to make sure to go slow and not rush it even though I am consumed with the story.
Derek: What’s the clothing brand that you just can’t stop buying?
Virginia: I usually buy my clothes at Macy’s. I love Inc. and usually get my shirts in that department. I also like Free People.
Derek: When I was 19 and learning how to survive in the wilderness of the world I decided to start experimenting more with cooking. I made a dish of boneless chicken breast stuffed with canned tomato slices, canned mushrooms, sliced American cheese and some random ass spices. I threw up, and it stands as the worst dish I’ve ever made to this day. What’s yours?
Virginia: I really don’t think I’ve ever made anything horrible. I’m pretty decent but I usually follow recipes. I don’t cook as many different things as I would like to because kids can be picky but I am decent.
Derek: What is something your brain regularly tries to get you to do and you have to will yourself not to do it?
Virginia: I have a habit of overthinking and analyzing situations to death. I try to stop the thoughts in my head at times. It’s really a waste of time to overthink a situation, especially one from the past.
Derek: If you could only give one piece of advice to a new author working on their first book, what would you tell them?
Virginia: I would say take your time. When you rush any part of the process- from writing, to beta reading, to editing, to proofreading- you have the potential to have a book out there that is not your best work. Better to be thorough and take your time than be sorry.
Derek: What’s something an author could do or should do to make your job as an editor so much easier?
Virginia: Read through it before sending it to me. Most do and I know time can be an issue, but there will be less questions and errors if I am given a complete manuscript.
Derek: What about as a reviewer? What’s something you wish you could tell all the authors that contact you for reviews?
Virginia: I think it’s important to make sure bloggers have enough time to read their ARC. Everyone is busy and most have many books to read, plus work and a family. The more time that can be given, the better.
Derek: What makes your eye twitch when you’re editing – what’s a pet peeve that drives you nuts?
Virginia: Lmao. The misuse of floor and ground!! And ceiling and roof!! The floor is inside and the ground is outside. And you cannot be in bed staring up at the roof! haha
Derek: What’s the most useless talent you have?
Virginia: I really don’t have any useless talents. Honestly.
Derek: I imagine you don’t get a lot of time in for television being a serious book lover, editor and all else keeping you busy. I’m sure you hear about a lot of the shows though – are there any that keep tugging at your interests?
Virginia: I honestly haven’t watched TV in about 10 years but the other day my daughter had on this celebrity lip sync battle show and we watched two episodes- it was really fun! Other than that, I really have no interest in TV anymore.
Derek: I have to ask, mainly because you’ve read so many books: You can build a little harem with up to 5 of your favorite book boyfriends – who do you pick?
Virginia: Five, that’s tough. You know I am known for being a fictional man hoarder. But I would say: Landon from Drunk Dial, Jackson from Sexcation, Jude from Finding Mr. Wrong, Chase from Full Package, and Tristian from The Air He Breathes.
Derek: Any desire to write a book hiding in there anywhere?
Virginia: People always ask me that or say I should write one. The thing is I’m not creative and couldn’t come up with a story. So no, I can’t see myself writing one.