Episode 147: The Author-Editor Team — Interview with Jenni Walsh and Bess Cozby

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today we’re doing something a little bit different. I have the pleasure of interviewing both a debut author, Jenni Walsh, and the editor who helped bring the book to life, Bess Cozby!  Bess may be familiar to some of you in the word nerd community, since aside from being an editor at Tor/Forge Publishing Bess is also the web editor at DIY MFA.

In this episode, this awesome author-editor team gives us a window into the side of publishing we rarely get to see, as we discuss what went into bringing Jenni’s debut novel, Becoming Bonnie, to the shelves.

In this episode Jenni, Bess, and I discuss:

  • How to expand a concept to a broader audience, and how an editor can help you strategize for a long term career.
  • How to use pieces of historical information as “guide posts” to shape your narrative and write a historical figure, like Bonnelyn Parker, who lacks a lot of historical documentation.
  • How to create a strong author-editor relationship and why this can make your book even stronger.
  • The less glamorous—but still important—parts of the publishing process, like what the editor does (aside from editing) to bring an awesome book to the shelves.
  • How to juggle several writing projects, a full time job, and a family all at the same time.

Plus, their #1 tip for writers.

About the Author

Jenni L. Walsh has spent the past decade enticing readers as an award-winning advertising copywriter. Her passion lies in transporting readers to another world, be it in historical or contemporary settings.

She is a proud graduate of Villanova University, and lives in the Philly ‘burbs with her husband, daughter, goldendoodle, and son.

Her debut novel, Becoming Bonnie, tells the story of Bonnelyn Parker before she became half of the infamous crime duo Bonnie and Clyde.  Its sequel, Being Bonnie, is due out in 2018.

To connect with Jenni head over to her website at www.jennilwalsh.com.

About the Editor

Bess Cozby writes epic stories in expansive worlds from her tiny apartment in New York City. By day, she’s an Editor at Tor Books, where she acquires historical and contemporary fiction for their Forge and Tor Teen imprints.

At DIY MFA, she serves as Web Editor, managing an incredible team of columnists and coordinating all guest articles on the site. In her (alleged) free time, she likes to drink red wine with good friends, explore #WriterMinimalism, and pretend to run in Central Park.

Her work is represented by Brooks Sherman of the Bent Agency.

Becoming Bonnie

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family’s poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas’s newest speakeasy, Doc’s.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn’t know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie’s life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase DIY MFA makes a small commission at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 147

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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