Anis Shivani at The Huffington Post recently interviewed the editors at Coffee House Press. Here’s an excerpt:
Shivani: Andrew Ervin’s Extraordinary Renditions, a collection of loosely linked novellas, was one of the year’s most memorable books of fiction. Did you work closely with Andrew on editing the book? How did the book come to your attention?
Fishbach: I worked very closely with Andrew on this book. However, I have a policy of not being public about the extent of the editorial process between author and editor. It’s like the doctor-patient privilege. If he wants to discuss that, he should feel free to.
The book came to my attention in a very old-fashioned way. Andrew approached me at a bar during AWP and asked me if I would consider his book. I asked him to tell me about it, he did, and I said yes, please send it. I read it, and then I called his agent and told him we’d love to publish it. Not a very exciting story, really, but I guess it’s important because as an editor I want to be known as being approachable, not hidden away in my office, protected by assistants and interns. Everyone at Coffee House feels it’s important for us to be out in the world.
Budd: Without revealing too much about the editing of Extraordinary Renditions, I can say that throughout the process Andrew exhibited one of the traits that is most common among our authors: he sweated the small stuff. I’ve heard horror stories from industry colleagues about authors who feel that copyediting and proofreading is somehow beneath their concern. This couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Andrew, and to our authors in general. He gave just as much attention to the placement of a comma, or the choice of one word over another, as he did to every other part of the editorial process. It’s this level of professionalism and attentiveness among our authors that makes it really easy to love my job.