Saturday, August 29, 2015

Writers4Higher features editor Gina Edwards, founder of AROUND THE WRITER'S TABLE

Hi Gina. Welcome to Writers4Higher!

1.   Tell me about yourself, your business, and the connection with the writing world.

Since Mrs. Stephens taught me to diagram complex sentences in seventh and eighth grade and Ms. McCabe had us read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, I have been fascinated with the written word. But after I read J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey and Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, well, that was it! I was hooked—word nerd, for life.

I have spent over 30 years in the corporate world, managing publications and editing newsletters and magazines; advertising, marketing, and conference materials; technical and scientific reports; and most every other form of written communication, but about 20 years ago, I started writing fiction. Then I began helping other authors edit their work and that eventually developed into my editing business.

I offer editing services under the umbrella name of AROUND THE WRITER’S TABLE, but AWT is much more than just editing. It is my dream-come-true effort to do everything in my power to support authors. It’s still growing and finding its own personality, but the aim is to create an extensive support network for authors, helping them find the resources, training, and connections they need to get their words out into the world.

2.   How do you work with authors?

I consider myself a “teaching” editor and am committed to helping my clients hone their craft and make every manuscript better. Since I am a copy editor, I have a line-by-line focus, checking for spelling errors, typos, punctuation problems and awkward grammar, clarity and sense, appropriate word choice, consistency, and redundancies. But I do more than make corrections. For every project, I provide suggestions and written comments, and I pose questions to help guide the author’s final manuscript decisions.

My goal is always to assist an author in the improvement of their craft, thereby making their future work better as well. It really is a privilege to be able to do this work and to see how writers improve and develop from manuscript to manuscript. Soon, I’ll be starting a program to receive my certification for creativity coaching, so I’ll be able to support writers through other phases of their writing efforts as well. I take a long-term approach with my clients and hope to work with them throughout their writing careers.  The relationship I create with each of “my” authors is a true partnership, one in which we both have an opportunity to become better at what we do and better people as well.

As a natural coincidence of the work I do, I often get all sorts of questions about publishing. I see a lot of writers who are frustrated and don’t know where to turn for help. So that’s really how AROUND THE WRITER’S TABLE came about. While our copy editing services are offered in-house, we are also developing a full list of associates who can assist writers with all other aspects of writing and publishing that we don’t offer, such as book cover design and graphic art, developmental editing, publicity, book trailers, and all the other support services writers need. We want to be able to refer writers to kind-spirited, talented people who have the authors’ best interests at heart and can be part of a support team to take them where they want to go with their writing careers.

Authors often ask us about training and ongoing education, too. Over the next year, AWT will begin offering workshops, seminars, and eventually retreats. Our website will get an overhaul, and will include extensive book lists, links to helpful resources, and several series of online lessons from me as well as other publishing industry professionals. We’ll be setting up writing support groups, as well, that will be tied into private Facebook groups.

My visions for AWT are huge and sometimes feel overwhelming, but this is my lifelong dream and commitment. We’re building slowly but deliberately and I’d like to ask your readers if they have worked with any service or individual that has supported them in their writing and that they think other authors would like to know about, please send us the information. Let’s help each other by sharing. Also tell me about any workshops or conferences you loved attending. Send us your announcements about book launches and signings, releases, upcoming workshops, and other writerly events, too. I promise to help get the word out. You can email them to

3.   Do you write as well as contribute through your business? Please share!

I was fortunate to have my short story, “For What Nate Did,” win the Cody Harris Allen award from Florida State many years ago, and that is the basis for the novel I’m currently working. Dancing at The Orange Peel is a Vietnam-era family saga that apparently fits into the “New Southern Gothic” genre. I was thrilled to learn recently of this fit because I’ve always been such a fan of Southern Gothic writers, such as Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, Dorothy Allison, and, of course, Harper Lee.

I’m still a good way from finished with my book and it will have to be edited (by someone else, of course! Even editors need editors). But I’d love to have it out next year. The support I have received from other authors while I’ve been working on the book has been phenomenal. Because of my connections in the writing community, I get to hang out, work with, and receive inspiration from some of the most awesome writers and creative people! To pay it back and forward, I want to do everything, I mean, everything I can to support them and other authors.

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