Friday, February 8, 2013

February Features: Introducing Stephanie Ricker!

I am very excited to introduce today's feature guest to you. As many of you know, I run a small, freelance editing business. We have been blessed with great clients and lots of work . . . to the point that my mother (who co-runs the business with me) and I decided we needed to hire a new Copy Editor.

And here she is! The newest member of the Stengl Fiction Editing Service team: Stephanie Ricker!

Welcome, Stephanie! First, why don't you tell us a little about yourself? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Indoor or outdoor lover? Any siblings? Tea or coffee? Anything you'd like to tell us!

Hello!  Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview and for the opportunity to work with Stengl Editing!

I’m originally from the northern Midwest, and as a teenager I was transplanted to North Carolina with my family when my father was transferred here.  I still have the northern internal thermostat; I love the snow and the cold, and I despise hot weather.  Problematic, in this state!

I grew up working on farms, I owned horses for several years, and as a kid I was always outside playing with Ed, my younger brother and constant companion.  I’m rubbish at sports—you’ve never seen such atrocious eye-hand coordination—but I do still enjoy the outdoors, especially archery, hiking, and canoeing.

I’m blessed to have many wonderful people in my life.  My family is very close, and I see my parents and brother every week.  In 2009, I graduated from Campbell University with a major in English and a minor in History.  I met a marvelous crew of friends at Campbell (including one Anne Elisabeth Stengl), and I spend a good deal of time with them, going on adventures, discussing literature, and exploring the Raleigh area.

I have terrible weaknesses for reading and climbing trees (simultaneously, whenever possible), and I never leave the house without a book.  I’m a bit on the introverted side, and I find nothing more refreshing than the combination of solitude, a tree, and a good novel.

In answer to the all-important tea versus coffee question, I usually prefer tea (particularly Earl Grey).  However, I recently bought a French press, and I confess that the ensuing coffee experiences may force me to revise my initial opinion in the near future!

When did you first start editing? Was it fiction or non-fiction?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t correcting the grammar of others; I must have been an insufferable child.  The blame lies with my mother: she instilled in me a love of reading and grammar at a very young age.  I distinctly remember her pointing out a sign in the produce section of the grocery store and asking me how I would correct it.  (Jettison that extra apostrophe!)  As a teenager, I occasionally proofread materials for my church, and I did odd editing jobs throughout college.  During my junior year, I gained my first experience with fiction editing as the editor of The Lyricist, Campbell University’s annual creative writing publication.  Professionally, my first editing position was at a biotechnology and pharmaceutical sales training company.  I’ve since worked as an editor for several other companies and associations in addition to taking on occasional freelance work. 

Do you write fiction as well?

I do!  I enjoy writing short stories, and I’ve dabbled in novel writing.  Last year my short story “Inseparables’ War” was published in BullSpec, a journal of speculative fiction.  If there’s a thrill more gratifying than seeing one’s name on the cover of a magazine in Barnes and Noble, I haven’t experienced it yet.  I certainly want to pursue fiction more in the future, but at the moment I mostly write non-fiction articles or ramble about books in my blog. 

What are your top three favorite novels?

What a cruel, heartless question!  You might just as well ask me to choose my three favorite moments to breathe.  If forced, I would pick Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Dune by Frank Herbert; I find new complexities in all three every time I read them.  All three are also desert-island novels: long enough to keep me happy for a good while, and heavy enough to kill small animals with, if I were hungry.

Any advice for the aspiring writers out there?

Read constantly.  Read the good stuff, especially the classics.  You’ll get a feel for what works, and you’ll learn a lot without realizing it.  But also read some of the bad stuff: you’ll get a feel for what doesn’t work, which plays an equally vital part in developing a finely honed sense of how words fit together to make a story.

Thank you so much for taking the time for an interview today, Stephanie! We are SO excited to have you joining us at Stengl Fiction Editing Services.
So, if any of you aspiring authors out there are looking for a fabulous and professional copy edit to give your work that extra edge, come find us at Stephanie might be just what your story needs!


Unknown said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Stephanie! It's always so interesting to hear about people that so often work "behind the scenes". Congrats on having your story published! :D And you have such an awesome, classy taste in fiction! :)


Molly said...

I do find Stephanie is quite like me and my...third oldest sister. Sorry, had to count right there.
I LOVE archery, hiking, and I've been canoeing once...I prefer rapids.
When I can, I take a pocket knife with me when I climb trees so I can carve my name in it. THEN I read my book. LOL!
My sister loves Earl Grey...

Hmm...Is the short story still in BullSpec? I've been wanting to go to Barnes and Nobles to get something, and this would work perfectly!

Meredith said...

Ms. Stephanie:

I really enjoyed your interview, especially your confession about reading and climbing trees simultaneously! Ha! I'm not quite that brave, but I do read while I walk. Being blind, I balance the book on my stomach and read the Braille with one hand while using my cane with the other. Not very smart, I suppose, but what can you do?
Congratulations on having your short story published. That's so very exciting! What is it about?
Regarding editing positions: What is the best way to locate editing jobs? I am a graduate with an English degree and know that editing is a good profession.
By the way, Les Miserables is one of my absolute favorite novels, too. Eponine is one of my favorite characters of all time. Did you see the newest movie version? God bless you.

Hannah said...

It sounds like you have led quite the adventurous life, Ms. Stephanie!
Horses, archery, and canoeing...oh my! :)
It's so wonderful you got a story published in BullSpec. I'd never heard of that magazine before, but I might look into it now.
And I love your first two choices for your favorite books. I've yet to read Les Miserables, but I really want to.
And the Simarillion...sigh. I LOVE that book. I love it, even though so many stories in there break my heart. (I can't stand unhappy endings, and there's ever so many in the Simarillion.) Still, the book has such a fascinating history about the elves, and there are a few wonderful stories in there. Tolkien was a genius. (Albeit one who breaks my heart.)

Congratulations on joining the Stengl Editing Services!!!

Stephanie Ricker said...

Wow, thanks to all of you for the very warm welcome!

@Beka: Haha, thank you! I confess not everything I read is quite so sophisticated, but I do love a lot of classic lit.

@Molly: Sounds like you girls and I have a lot in common! The story is still available, but only in local B&N stores (Cary, Raleigh, and Durham, I believe). However, it's also for sale online:

@Meredith: I am in awe of your multitasking abilities! My story is a what-if tale about brothers, set during the Vietnam War. So glad that you love Les Mis too! I'm dying to see the movie and just haven't managed to find the time yet. As for editing jobs, the freelance stuff is almost entirely word-of-mouth. I admit I mostly just stumbled on my professional jobs via endless hours of job-hunting online. I have a feeling it's a little easier now; I was entering the post-college job market at the economy's lowest point, and editing work was mighty scarce. Best of luck to you!

@Hannah: Thank you! The Silmarillion is RIFE with unhappy endings, that's for sure. Tolkien is so very good at those tragic tales, though; I think he's the one who made me change my mind about unhappy endings. I used to despise them as well, and now I find that I actually like them.

J. L. Mbewe said...

Well, I'm a little late in welcoming you as the internet data was consumed for the month, but congrats!

I'm from MN now in TX. What a climate change! I miss snow a little. I think I've been spoiled down here, but I do miss all the lakes. LOVE canoeing.

Hope the best for ya!

Stephanie Ricker said...

Thank you, Jeannette! Holy smokes, I can't imagine the weather whiplash of a MN to TX move. Texas definitely has its own appeal, though. :)