Karen Chaplin began her publishing career at Scholastic. She was an editor at Puffin Books/Penguin Young Readers Group for six years before she moved to HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she is currently a senior editor of picture book, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Karen received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Delaware, and her MA in English from Simmons College. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, finding DIY projects to do, and dabbling in photography. She also has graciously offered to do a Q&A with us!
Sarah Parker-Lee: As an editor, it’s your job to take a writer’s labor of love and not just fine-tune it but take it to the next level. What are you looking for when you first begin this process?
Karen Chaplin: One of the first things I look for in a manuscript is voice. The voice of the story, of the main character, of all the characters, really needs to draw me in from the first few pages, and if that happens, then the author has got me hooked. Plot points, character issues, the ending—all of that can be modified. But the voice is difficult to accomplish, and if an author nails that, it’s a fantastic start.
SPL: Any advice for writers working with an editor, whether they are first-timers or old pros? Continue reading