On the Hustle – the Mary Robinette Kowal project

“So, when I decided to set a book with a lot of action in Antigua, I knew that I wanted to represent the Antiguan Creole English. I also knew, from having watched people mangle the Southern American English, that understanding the nuances was going to be really, really important and really, really hard.” – American author Mary Robinette Kowal.

When I saw MRK’s social media posting seeking someone to assist with research for the Antiguan sections of her book, I reached out with suggestions, and also to let her know about the types of services I provide. Turns out she wanted not so much a researcher but an editorial consultant with an intimate understanding of Antiguan culture – someone who could review her book with an eye for language issues and cultural nuances, and, though this was not the primary role, provide edit notes as necessary. It was a departure from the straight-up editing I’m usually commissioned to do but part of what I like about freelancing is the variety of projects I get to work on and this was a pretty interesting one. We felt each other out – each wanting to be sure of the intent of the other and our compatibility; she read my novel Oh Gad! and my blog, so that when I reiterated that I was not a historian but a writer/editor, she felt even before I was certain (even before I did the initial paid consult on a sample she provided) that I was the right person for this particular job – she told me about her experience with a writer colleague and how his knowledge of not just the language but of things like dialogue and how it works proved invaluable to that project. We emailed and Skyped and clicked, and in the end she was a happy client who informed me: “Your notes are on point, incredibly helpful — beyond just the dialect stuff — and making this a better book. Many, many, many thanks.” Mary blogged why even as a writer of historical (romantic) fantasy these kinds of details were important to her and shared the experience of working together here.

Valour-and-Vanity-220x328p.s. Mary, I’m now hooked and look forward to reading more in the series.Oh Gad cover

p.p.s. I appreciate, Mary, in her blog posting sharing with her readers my writing and that of other Antiguan and Barbudan writers she came across during her research. If you’re reading this, just a reminder that the mass market edition of my own novel Oh Gad! is available as of July 2014.

4 thoughts on “On the Hustle – the Mary Robinette Kowal project

  1. Reblogged this on jhohadli and commented:

    Sharing this again to add this podcast link in which Mary discusses the making of the book: Of Noble Family in which I was involved as a consulting editor (which is the best way I can think to categorize my role on a project very unlike any project I’ve worked on before as an editor). It’s a very interesting discussion especially for those interested in the process of world building in fiction and for those interested in approaching another culture or history (outside of their known and/or comfort zone) in a real and respectful way. Your girl gets a shout out for her work on the project (was odd and interesting to hear Mary describe our exchanges). Here’s the link: http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/05/31/writing-excuses-10-22-project-in-depth-of-noble-family/

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