Tag Archives: Dave Jackson

Interview with Jessica Renheim, Associate Editor of Dutton/Penguin Group

Interview originally published at Chiseled in Rock blog by Dave Jackson on June 4, 2014.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is pleased to welcome Jessica Renheim to the Colorado Gold Conference September 5th through the 7th.

jessicarenheimJess joined Dutton in 2007 and has been there ever since. She edits both fiction and nonfiction at Dutton, including speculative and paranormal fiction, mystery/crime, thrillers, narrative nonfiction, and memoir. Among the bestselling and critically acclaimed writers she has worked with are the #1 New York Times bestselling authors Richelle Mead and Kelley Armstrong, as well as New York Times bestselling and award-winning writers Mark Adams, Dan Savage, Stephen White, Meg Gardiner, Brian D’Amato, Jennifer Lee Carrell, Raymond Khoury, and David Rich.

We are particularly pleased to interview Jessica because she apparently makes rare appearances on blogs!

CIR: How important is it for an author to be flexible with edits? By the way, I’m so flexible my leg is curled around my head as I write this.

JR: Flexibility with edits is always very welcome, but ultimately it’s the author’s book so he/she is going have the final say on most things. The editor’s primary job is to provide guidance where we think it’s needed. Is a certain character feeling too one-dimensional or predictable? Is it too easy to guess the mystery at the heart of the novel? Or is there some inconsistency between the start of the story and the climactic showdown at the end? These are the kind of editorial questions and concerns that may need to be addressed to make the book better, and I’ve been very fortunate to work with talented writers who can step back from their work and assess what’s clicking and what needs to be reconsidered.

CIR: In just the past few years the major publishing houses have become very active with electronic publishing. Can and or will this open the door for more experimental stories to be published in New York from unknown authors since costs can be saved on printing?

JR: I think so. There are quite a few digital original or digital only imprints publishing new authors across different genres these days. One recent example is Tor.com announcing the launch of a new imprint devoted to publishing original novellas, shorter novels and serializations. This seems like a natural area of growth for science fiction and fantasy, and a great way for aspiring writers to get stories published that wouldn’t have been the right fit for more traditional formats due to length or other considerations.

CIR: Have you had the chance to meet any celebrities and if so, who was the coolest?

JR: Dutton publishes the occasional celebrity book, but I have yet to work on one. There have been few brief encounters. Nick Offerman has come by our office to work with his editor. John Hodgman gathered a sizeable group of his (well-known) friend to shoot a scene for his book trailer at the office once. If you watch the trailer here http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/4cc168ca62/that-is-all it’s the scene in the conference room. I also worked on It Gets Better and American Savage with Dan Savage, who is so lovely and down to earth that I sometimes forget he’s a celebrity.

CIR: Did you always know that you wanted to be in the publishing business, an editor?

JR: I think by senior year of college I realized that I wanted to pursue a job in book publishing. I was lucky enough to attend the Columbia Publishing Course, which not only led directly to my job at Dutton, but also helped me to decide that becoming an editor would be the best fit for me. It’s incredibly fun and rewarding to work with an author through the entire process, from acquisition to well after his/her book hits stores and online retailers.

CIR: Because we strive to be unique, I must ask a bizarre question. How do you think Charles Dickens would have felt about E publishing?

JR: Well, Dickens was a prolific writer whose novels were mostly published in monthly or weekly installments, a format that allowed him to evaluate his audience’s reaction and use that feedback to shape his stories. Serializing his novels also made them cheaper and more accessible, so my guess is that Dickens would have loved the greater flexibility and access digital publishing affords to readers.

CIR: I have to ask this one because many friends and I have experienced it a couple of times. If an editor had very encouraging things to say about a manuscript, but rejected it stating that it would be better as a…we’ll say a YA, or any number of other succinct suggestions…and the author revamps it as such, do you think the writer is out of bounds to try a resubmission?

JR: It’s a good question. I think if an editor feels strongly enough about a manuscript to provide very encouraging and specific feedback before ultimately rejecting it, then it’s fair game to resubmit the manuscript if it’s been substantially reworded. There’s always an exception to the rule, of course, but in general editors are looking to fall in love with a project and champion it. As long as you’re not submitting a newly revised YA novel to Dutton—where we only do adult books—chances are the editor will take another look!

Thanks Jessica!

We look forward to seeing you at the Gold!

Interview conducted by Gusto Dave

Your Sons and Daughters

By Dave Jackson

Dave JacksonWhen this odyssey of writing started in my life about 10 years ago, I wish I’d known what I’m about to share with you. Those books of yours, they’re like children. The proud parent angle has been done enough. I’m coming from a different direction…check it out.

You’ve got to be a strict and understanding parent with infinite patience.

What I most want to emphasize are the life spans, the trials, the celebrations, and just plain old growing pains of your novels. We all get caught in that trap with our kiddos, saying, “They grow up so fast!” In a way they do. But they weren’t off to college a year after entering the world. The younglings had to grow didn’t they? YOU had to grow with them. You had to share their disappointments and highs, right? A bittersweet and beautiful mist of emotions that one cannot even begin to describe.

Voila.

That’s what it feels like to watch your book mature. It will let you down a couple of times. It will amaze you. Pride will thunder in your heart and disappointment will bring tears. But you got to stand behind that little reflection of you.

Jackson_Tattoo RampageAs Tattoo Rampage hits the virtual shelves this week (hard cover available by order), I can’t help but think of my son. Besides the point that he has always been daddy’s biggest supporter, just by being a great kid, Jr. has underscored to me that for people or pursuits you love, you must be a strong influence, but willing to allow them to become their own creation and still love them anyway.

Gusto Dave

Tattoo Rampage, Dave’s debut novel, is represented for film by Hotchkiss and Associates, the same agency that saw Secretariat, The Kite Runner, and recently Joe Hill’s Horns from novels to movies.

Evangelina Marquez-James gets her first tattoo, a symbol of courage to carry on after her husband dies in the line of duty as a police officer. The skin art is of an elite yet obscure super heroine created by a forgotten 1940s artist.

A solar disturbance triggers a metamorphosis in her new ink, enabling Evangelina with the ability to transform into the embodiment of the character complete with powers. She sets out to wage war against the types of vermin who murdered her husband.

Acid, a sociopathic killer who can assume the form of his warlord tattoo, seeks the artist’s original sketchbook. When Evangelina comes into possession of the drawing pad, Acid not only tracks it down, but her family as well, forcing her into a standoff with his nightmarish army born of ink.

Curiosity Quills Press plans to release Tattoo Rampage September 15th of 2013.

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Not your typical author, “Gusto” Dave Jackson started writing in his constant pursuit to become a renaissance man. Then he fell in love with the art form. Comedy remains as one of his many passions. He writes and performs skits as well as stand-up. Also a songwriter and guitarist, he has composed over 300 musical titles.

On Facebook, send him a friend request or like his fan page.

And you can always just type “Gusto Dave” in the FB or Google search and pull him up.