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Alexa Radcliffe
Interview Date: Tue 9 Nov 2010

Alexa Radcliffe is a bred Southerner and born-again Northerner who, in the words of wise young man, should be concentrating on the fluidity of roles within literature so is a blunt Editor for Dog Horn Publishing and a hungry writer for a currently hidden audience. Currently based somewhere in the middle of most places, she is a Marketeer by day and a Writer/Editor by night.

She’s been writing stories and poems for as long as she could write and with some excellent shoving in the right direction by A-Level English tutors, she has completed BA (Hons) in English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. That experience has given her so much and now knows what she sort of knew before; stories lead life intrinsically and all you have to do is scratch the surface and hunt until the characters pop out and the words begin to flow. Whilst living in Yorkshire she started on the hunt for creative work which she could do alongside being a Marketeer in the 9-5. Coming across Dog Horn Publishing was fate, and the rest is history. She has just finished editing the now published Shark for Wes Brown and is currently nose deep in brilliant short story collection whilst always on the lookout for new additions to the Dog Horn portfolio. She also spends a week every August in a magical writerly bubble called The Writer’s Summer School or Swanwick to those in the know – 2010 saw her first 2 hour literary workshop there and due to its success she’ll be returning in 2011 with even more imaginative ways at looking at literature and how we create it.

Your Questions Answered:

"How and why did you get into editing?"
Question By: Admin
After completing an BA in English and Creative Writing I knew I wanted to write, but also that it doesn't necessarily pay the bills. So I thought, why not try for editing as both aspects of literature really interest me. I attempted to get into Publishing in the mainstream way, but found I lacked "experience" due to not having had a previous job in publishing - it's a chicken and egg situation. So, when I moved up to Yorkshire I started on the hunt for creative work which I could do alongside being a Marketeer in my 9-5. I came across Dog Horn Publishing, interviewed well when I hit it off with Editor, Adam Lowe, and well the rest is history.
"Agents are now doing a lot of the editing that a publisher would once have done. Did your role at a smaller publisher enable you to have more influence? And what do you think of 'interventionist' editing?"
Question By: Admin
I believe that my role at Dog Horn as a smaller publisher has allowed me more influence in some aspects, however I do believe that an editor should work with the author as well as to ensure the sucessful outcome of the novel; for me the two are intrinsically connected. As an editor you have to be as unbiased as possible, allowing for creative expansion and editorial control which will help to lead the way to a polished final piece.

As for 'interventionist' editing, I think there are ways of intervening which are positive for all parties and other ways which create hostility and loss of creative connection.

My editiing philosophy is to ensure that there is consistancy and originality throughout the work. This means I tend to be blunt, so if there is an issue with something, if it's not coming across in the way in which both myself and the author imagine it should etc then I will say so, however I am also supportive of originality and the voice/stance of the author and at the end of the day the author will have final say - all I can do is guide them to what may be a better place for the work.
"How do you see the role of the editor changing as the industry adapts to more digital publishing and online retailing? Can they help maintain artistic credibility and prevent a free for all?"
Question By: Admin
I would hope that the role of an editor will bend and learn to grow with the changes we are going to see with more dependency on digital publishing and online retailing. The way I see it, it is another way to market the work and to connect with readers in new and exciting ways. The core of the editor role should still be to ensure that the work is as polished as possible before "print" be it hard copy or digital.

There should definitely be a place for the editor to maintain credibility and prevent a free fore all. Digital media is opening up the playing fields and allowing readers even more freedom of choice, however, I do believe that readers will continue to rely upon the backing/credibility of authors who are supported by trusted and experienced publishers be they large or small.
"How close do you feel to the work you've edited? Do you feel editors get enough credit?"
Question By: Admin
I do feel quite close to it, and with certain pieces you do stand back and admire the fact that with your help there is a great piece of work. However, that is the point - "with your help" is key. I don't feel like we should get anymore credit than we already do; as long as we're acknowledged in some small way then we've done our job and we've been thanked for it.

The novel or collection etc is the authors work and mostly their blood, sweat, tears and ideas; if you think that as an editor you need more thanks then perhaps you've placed your mark too firmly on the work.
"Are you editing anything at the moment? And what kind of books will you be hoping to edit in the future?"
Question By: Admin
I'm currently nose deep in a brilliant short story collection by Glen Krisch which Dog Horn will be publishing in early 2011. I would like to continue to edit work which explores the boundaries of life and fiction; this I find this is the key to brilliant literature which sucks you in and throws you out the otherside with more knowledge, understanding and views of the world around us.