When I got to Australia the summer of 2010, I had a first manuscript for Mary to read, one I’d not shown to anyone else. Mary was the first to read it. I told her she would be the one to tell me if some parts of my book were “too honest” and should be left out. She read it and did edit out some of the work.
I edited the entire 2010-2011 school year and returned to Australia the next summer of 2011, having had my manuscript read by at least 35 people by then. Mary would be my last editor. She’d been sick and then busy with taxes the first three weeks, so when she finally sat down to read it, we’d run short of time. But Mary, seeing how much still needed to be edited to make the final “crisp,” said, “I don’t care if it takes our whole vacation, we’re going to go over this manuscript, sentence by sentence.” Little did she know what she was in for. We spent the next five days in her bed, editing for six hours a day, then we went on our “holiday” to Melbourne together. We spent those five days editing, all over the city, in pubs and coffee houses, even the art gallery. The physical and emotional strain/drain of the work put a real damper on our holiday fun! At least we got to eat at Miss Chu’s and Movido’s! We parted exhausted. I edited the last 26 pages on my flights home. Two more typo readers, and two final read-aloud edits from me and I called the book finished.