Interview with Jen Leigh

Jen LeighJen Leigh is the acquisitions editor at Distinguished Press. My stories for The Cities of Luna are currently in her care. She claims editors have no bios, so Karyn Pearson, another Distinguished Press author wrote one for her.

She was born in a flash and she’ll go out in a bang. But until then, she’ll settle for making authors cry.

1.  What does an “acquisitions editor” do?

An acquisition editor acquires manuscripts. Sometimes through submissions, sometimes seeking out talented authors. Within our particular company, I am looking for a good story that needs little change. Traditional publishers have a tendency to help you re-write your book to suit their needs. We want to help hone the author’s story to suit their needs. A good story will capture my attention. Grammar and technical issues can be taught. Storytelling can’t.

2.  What’s the difference between line, copy, and content editing?

Line editing is more of grammar, punctuation, dialog editing. Making sure the piece is correctly written. Copy editing is generally fact checking, which is often times unneeded in fictional series. Unless, of course, facts need to be checked within the series for consistency. Content editing is story arcs, plot consistency and character consistency. I lean more heavily into content editing while our other editor focuses on line editing. A lot of mumbo-jumbo to make it sound like really hard work. It isn’t.

3.  How long have you been working with Distinguished Press?

I have been working with Distinguished Press since it first opened. Actually a few years before it officially launched. The publisher had the idea to focus on series only and I couldn’t wait to get behind. Series are my favorite reading material.

4.  What in particular is Distinguished Press interested in publishing?

This really depends on who you ask. I’m interested in any series manuscript, from any genre, including horror. Our publisher is fond of series, but especially serial stories. At the end of the day, if you have a good series outline or serial outline with the first few chapters and it captures my attention I have been known to suggest a contract offer before requesting a full manuscript. Once or twice I requested a full manuscript just so I could finish the story, and of course to make sure it was what we were looking for. Nah, I really wanted to know how the story ended.

5.  What is SubDay?

SubDay is going to be a monthly event Distinguished Press hosts where authors and the staff can meet and greet. I’m looking forward to these events, because as acquisitions editor, I rarely get to know an author until the contract details are hashed out and the author joins the team.

6.  What influence does geographic location have on publishing houses?

A few years ago geographical location meant everything to getting published. Now, with social media, it means very little. I always suggest authors research a smaller, online press that suits their needs. Publishers offer a variety of services these days and it with a little time and effort an author can find the perfect match without hiring an agent or moving to New York.

7.  How did you get from New Mexico to Kentucky?

I lived in New Mexico while my hubby was in the military. New Mexico and four other states over the last 20 years. Once he retired I got to choose where we lived. I picked a farm and we are never moving again. Ever.

8.  What kind of educational experience do you have?

Formal education? I have a Business Accounting and Management degree, I’m A+ certified in computer repair and have an extensive background in programming languages. Life experiences have been much more informative. I have owned a second hand shop, which slowly morphed into a book shop. I am the current owner of a farmer’s market and in the process of setting up a charitable organization to provide local events for children and families at the county park. Of course, I’m well read, which I think is the most important education related to my job at Distinguished Press.

9.  What genres do you enjoy reading?

I guess my favorite genre is Fantasy, since it’s what I love to write. What I enjoy reading? Anything and everything I can get my hands on. My favorite book was probably a second edition of Webster’s Dictionary I used to own (gave it to my daughter in law). The evolution of language fascinates me.

10.  Did Peter Jackson do justice to The Hobbit by splitting it into three movies?

I’m a reader! The Hobbit was an excellent book. I have a rather large movie collection which includes the Hobbit series. I haven’t had time to watch them. There are too many new books to read first!

11.  Can you weigh in on JJ Abram’s version of the Star Trek universe?

While I have enjoyed many Star Trek series, the newest Star Trek movies haven’t captured my attention. I watched the first one. I own the second one but it isn’t in my top ten have to watch movies. I can’t honestly say I’ll ever sit down and watch it. You can’t go back and capture true genius. The actors made the characters come to life. To be brutally honest, unless Captain Picard makes a return I just ain’t interested.

12.   Which incarnation of Doctor Who is your favorite?

Dr. Who for me is more like Doctor who? Sorry, the only time traveler television series I’ve watched was Quantum Leap and I’m pretty sure most of your readers won’t have a clue what I’m talking about.

13.  How long has it been since the last time you saw any Star Wars movie?

I have no idea when I saw Star Wars last. I didn’t much care for the second trilogy, but I have seen the first trilogy hundreds of times.

14.  How would you define the difference between hard SciFi and soft SciFi?

Hard Sci-Fi is packed full of technical information I prefer to be found in a text book. I don’t like it much. I have always said, I don’t care how the ship got across the universe, but why is it there and what are they going to do now? Soft Sci-Fi is everything else, lol. Don’t get me wrong. I love science, my dad was a rocket scientist. I grew up with my head in the clouds and beyond. I just don’t like heavy science information in my fiction. I’m willing to suspend disbelief if the author gives me a good story to wrap myself up in. In return, I prefer if the author suspends the science lesson and focuses on a good story.

15.  What is space opera?

Eww, they say Star Wars is a space opera. I think the term space opera was introduced by the hard sci-fi fanatics who want to put down anything that isn’t exclusively scientifically accurate. All science fiction should be space opera. Sometimes people forget the fiction part of science fiction.

16.  If you could have the services of a professional costumer dress you for a convention, how would you dress up?

I think if I were to wear a costume I’d fall back to the Fantasy genre, or possibly Greek mythology. I’d really like to be a dragon rider. What ever reason there would be to ride a dragon, I’d do it to have a dragon. Did Athena ride a dragon?

17.  Would you be willing to wear a corset in public?

The real question is ‘Would the public be willing to see me wearing a corset?’ But really, no. I think a full length dress is much more elegant and mysterious than showing off what someone might get if they try hard enough.

18.  If you were to host the entire Distinguished Press team at your house for finger food and games, what would we eat and what would we play?

Well, I’m a killer cook, so you’d all be in luck. I make cinnamon rolls, pies, cakes, and cookies. All from scratch of course. But as a good hostess, I’d ask everyone what they liked best, then make that. Games? I think I love every board game I’ve ever played. Yahtzee would probably be my favorite game. Again, I’d have to play what everyone else wanted to first.

19.  Do you really like Karyn better than you like me?

I can’t believe you asked that. I like all the authors equally or I wouldn’t have suggested we publish their books!

20.   Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

I have no idea who shot first. I’ve seen the movie (the first time in theaters) but never paid that much attention and didn’t realize it was a big deal. If Han shot first, I don’t blame him. The bounty hunter was there to take him dead or alive so it’s self-defense. If Greedo shot first, then Han shot better and it was still self-defense. (This was my original answer. I should make a correction. The first time I saw Star Wars: A New Hope was at a drive-in. Wasn’t sure the readers would know what that was.)

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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5 Responses to Interview with Jen Leigh

  1. LOL – Jen, you’re a trip.

    And yes, Han shot first. 😉

  2. Oh god, this entire interview is fantastic. Jen, you know you love me the most 😉

  3. shanjeniah says:

    I am SOOOO glad I came here today, and found this! =D Yummy, yummy! Now I have this fantasy of submitting Trueborn ( which is still too jumbly, but, hey, this is a fantasy, remember?!)…

    By the way, Jen, that guy from Quantum Leap makes a better-than-average starship captain – and the only one who totes a beagle! Or I think he does…I’ll confess to having been a little too busy watching that intense Vulcan Science Officer and the oh-so-human Chief Engineer who so utterly – uh, fascinates – her…

    What an inspiring and funny interview! What crazy ideas I’m having about a SubDay in the not-terribly-distant future!

    Amy, you knocked this interview out of the park. I think I might want to live in your blog! =D

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