Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Editor Interview: Aimee Jackson

Meet Editor Aimee Jackson!
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Web site:

After graduating from the University of Kansas, I joined the Peace Corps and lived and taught in Ukraine. I’d grown up an army brat and was conditioned for travel and cultural exploration. After returning home, I entered graduate school at Northern Arizona University where I earned my M.A. and began working in publishing. I started my career at Northland Publishing in Flagstaff and helped launch their children’s imprint, Rising Moon. I worked there for five or so years before moving to Minneapolis, MN to work for NorthWord Books for Young Readers, where I was the editorial director for several years. I now work for Sleeping Bear Press as a senior editor, and enjoy the heck out of my job. Sleeping Bear is based in Chelsea, Michigan, but I work remotely from my home office in Minneapolis. My husband works in sports television in the Cities, and we have the most adorable curly-headed three year old, who continues to teach me about what makes books work, and what doesn’t. Sharing books with my own child—and especially books I’ve made—is a joy for me beyond measure.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to become an editor?
A: I was in grad school studying to be a professor. I realized quickly that academia was not where I wanted to spend my life, but I didn’t know what else to do. One summer I was in a technical writing and editing class and an internship posting was handed around for an editorial assistant position at a local publishing house. Even as late as grad school it never occurred to me that you could work in publishing. I applied, I got the job, and I never left the field. Here I could be close to the writing process and be a part of making something lasting and real. Books were my childhood—and to think I could be a part of that as an adult!

Q: What were some of the most influential books you read as a child?
A: The Velveteen Rabbit, Charlotte’s Web, everything Ramona Quimby, all the Little Golden books, Shel Silverstein, the Grimm's tales

Q: How do you balance your career and your family?
A: I’m still trying to figure this one out! Though I always feel overwhelmed by it all, the most important thing I’ve figured out is to be fully present for each—when I’m at work I’m at work. When I’m at home I’m at home. When the two cross over too much, I don’t feel like I do a good job at either.

Q: Share one tip you’d like to give about writing nonfiction for kids.
A: I find that writers who are truly excited about their subject can make any topic lively, entertaining, and engaging. Know your audience—I know that’s a phrase that gets tossed around a lot, but it really can’t be said enough. In nonfiction, you have to know what prior knowledge you can and can’t assume so you know when to further define something you’ve written. The creative process of writing nonfiction involves making decisions about what to leave out—how deeply you can go into a subject—while still conveying what you hope to get across. I think the best nonfiction writing is efficient, and yet as entertaining to read as fiction.

Please note: If you’re an author, illustrator, or editor and would like to be considered for an interview on this blog, please contact Nancy and let her know.


Catherine said...

What a great interview! It's nice to know publishers are human, too!

Veronica said...

Thanks for taking the time to share with us! As a novice writer, I appreciate the advice about keeping a specific audience in mind. It's definitely a challenge in a fun kind of way!
Veronica Walsh

sherri crawford said...

Aimee, thanks for pausing during your busy schedule to share a little about your life as a mom and editor. It's so nice to put a face on the word "editor." Thanks for the great advice as well!
Sheryl (Sherri Crawford)