Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with Ellora's Cave Editor Carrie Jackson

Have you always wanted to write for Ellora's Cave? If so, then check out what editor Carrie Jackson has to say about what she's looking for.

X- Tell us a little about yourself, and what led you to become an editor.

C- I’ve always been a book junkie. Even in elementary school, I knew I wanted to work with stories one day! I studied English lit and linguistics in college and was lucky to get hired by Samhain, where I fell in love with editing. When the fabulous Kelli Collins—editor-in-chief at Ellora’s Cave—mentioned on Twitter that EC needed editors, I jumped on it as fast as I could.

X- What catches your eye as editor, and what are your pet peeves?

C- I look for three things: voice, concept and emotion. A book can be incredibly raw, but if the voice grabs me, I’m more than willing to work with the author to get it into shape.

For concept, I look for something that “pops”—a plot that seems fun and original, a hook that makes me sit up and take notice.

Finally, I look for emotion. I want to really FEEL the connection between the characters.

That ties into my pet peeve—sometimes erotic romance authors concentrate on making sure sex scenes are different and inventive, and they wind up forgetting to include the emotion. If a sex scene could be between any characters in any book, it doesn’t work. It should be filled with emotion and specific to the characters involved.

X- What exactly takes place during the editorial process?

C- The editorial process can be intense at EC. I typically start by sending an email that outlines general story issues. I also like to comment—a lot—in the manuscript itself. Once all the macro issues are out of the way (a process that can take several rounds of revision), I look at the manuscript on a line-by-line basis, searching for ways to tighten and polish. When the author and I are satisfied the book is as good as we can make it, we pass it to another editor who checks for typos, continuity problems, etc.

X-  What would you like to see in your inbox?

C- I’m open to any type of romance, but specifically futuristic, steampunk, horror and suspense. Paranormal and contemporary (especially with BDSM elements) are always welcome. I’d love to find some good f/f romances—if anyone out there has a f/f steampunk romance, send it in! Above all, I want intense emotion and a fresh voice.

I’m actively acquiring, so now is a good time to submit. You can send your first three chapters, last chapter and a brief synopsis to and address it to Carrie Jackson. My current response time is about four weeks.

X- What’s your favorite scent?

C-The smell of cookies baking. Mmm. Now I’m hungry. :)

X- What’s your favorite life memory?

C- Good question! I followed Tori Amos on tour when I was younger. The feeling of freedom—being in a new city every day, meeting people all over the country—was amazing. I also got to meet Tori, and she was every bit as warm and caring as you’d imagine.

X- Cats or dogs?

C- You know how every neighborhood seems to have at least one crazy cat lady? *Raises hand* Sadly, in my neighborhood, that’s me. I have six cats of my own and take care of a feral cat colony.

X- What one thing can’t you live without?

C- Caffeine. I’m a Red Bull addict!

X- Who are your auto buys author wise?

C- Lisa Marie Rice/Elizabeth Jennings, Marjorie M. Liu, Joey W. Hill, Emma Holly, Brenda Novak, Jennifer Crusie, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Neil Gaiman, Pamela Clare…and probably a ton more I can’t think of at the moment.

X-Thanks so much for having me on your blog. :) For more insight on my tastes, check out some of the authors I work with: Sierra & VJ Summers, Zenobia Renquist, Eliza Knight, Scarlett Sanderson, Blair Valentine, Annabelle Weston, Sarah Richmond and Fiona Jayde.

I’m also on Twitter as Carriejeditor, where I tweet about editing and other misadventures.

X- Thank you for allowing me to do this interview. It's interesting to get a sneak peak into the life of an editor.


  1. Terrific interview! Thanks for sharing, Carrie.

  2. Great interview. And THIS is so true!

    If a sex scene could be between any characters in any book, it doesn’t work. It should be filled with emotion and specific to the characters involved.

  3. Oh! I got a mention. :)

    Carrie is a fun lady and great to work with.

    ~Zenobia Renquist