We are pleased to have Catherine Rankovic with us for the All Write Now! Conference. Here is her interview.
Our conference website photo of you includes a cemetery stone for William S. Burroughs. What’s the story behind the photo?
That photo was taken in Bellefontaine cemetery, which I first visited last summer. I'm not a big Burroughs fan although he could write exquisite prose when he wanted to, but I loved the stone's discreet understatement.
Your website includes a list of books you’ve edited. They are so varied—from science fiction to poetry. Is it difficult to switch from one genre to another and then focus your skills on each project?
There's no problem switching genres to accommodate clients' manuscripts. Good prose and good storytelling transcend genre.
You teach several MFA classes in addition to having your editing business. What personal qualities do you possess that make you such a successful writing coach?
My qualities as a good editor: experienced, efficient, educated, high standards, creative.
What does a typical day consist of for you?
Typical day: Draft my own work. Then either editing or taking care of my students. Gym class 10:30. Prepare and eat substantial lunch. Domestic and other concerns, such as feeding hummingbirds, till 3. Edit til 9 or 10 pm. Check on students. Watch D V R of the day's Judge Judy.
What was the first thing you ever had published?
The first thing I ever published: a poem I wrote in second grade when I was 6. Appeared in a school-district student anthology dated 1965. First professional poetry publication, 1975 in Poet Lore magazine. First professional short fiction, 1981. First book (nonfiction) 2003.
Who are your favorite writers?
Favorite writers: George Orwell, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, and my friends. I keep books and chapbooks by my friends on their own shelf next to my bed. Those inspire me more than anything.
You obviously read a lot for your work. Do you read in your spare time (if you have any!)? What other hobbies do you pursue?
I don't read for pleasure much anymore except magazines, literary and not. I console myself that the manuscripts I edit are the literature of tomorrow.
What will be the focus of your presentation at the All Write Now! Conference in July?
I'm at the AWN conference to help remind writers who hear so much about genre, plot, characterization, and markets, that their prose is where the rubber meets the road. Upstyling your prose is so easy you can do it in a day.
Thanks, Catherine, for those answers! It sounds like you will have an encouraging presentation at the conference.