“Rosemary Ahern has an unerring ear for language and a gimlet eye for character, plot, and balance in a novel. She is rigorous and razor-sharp, but she also brings to her work the kind of compassion and kindness that is rare in an editor and very precious. She also has the best taste in the business. I feel extraordinarily lucky and grateful for her work on The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R., and I would trust her judgment on nonfiction as well. She is simply the best.”
—CAROLE DeSANTI, Vice President, Editor at Large
Author of The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012)
“It is no surprise to anyone reading this that publishing has changed. One way it has changed is that editors at publishing houses are busier than ever, often too busy to read rough manuscripts or spend a lot of time on drafts. I realized right after the recession that I needed a freelance editor to help me get my work in shape before I turn it in. This makes a huge difference to my excellent but hard-pressed editors, and also to me. I can spend more time on creative writing and less mopping up after my own messes.
Rosemary Ahern is a brilliant editor and a pleasure to work with. She has made an immeasurable difference in my writing life. My editors are thrilled with the work I am turning in, and the process moves much more quickly and professionally. In addition to her skills, Rosemary is easy to work with, clear and available. She has worked on four books with me, and my editors at Random House and I could not be more pleased or impressed.”
—JON KATZ, author Dancing Dogs and The Story of Rose
“Working with Rosemary was a super-productive pleasure. Reading a manuscript replete with technical information and analysis, she offered carefully crafted insights that helped me bring humanity and humor into the text. She was gifted in pointing out where I strayed into the extraneous and equally adept at encouraging me to move from dispassionate observer to reasoned advocate in my writings about wind power’s transformative potential. Her style is gentle but unhesitating, supportive yet demanding. I felt both appreciated and challenged as a first-time author, and I look forward to working with her on my next book!”
—PHILIP WARBURG, author of Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence and Climate Stability (Beacon Press, 2012)
“Rosemary Ahern helped me to write my first novel, and now we are working on a fourth. In all truth, that has been the progression. When she sent my first manuscript back to me I opened the cover, read the first page then tossed the book behind the couch. I could not bear to look at it for over a week. There was so much red ink on the pages that my manuscript looked like a leg of lamb wrapped loosely in butcher’s paper.
When I finally worked up the courage to read her editing I recognized immediately the gift that she had given to me. What she had given me was something I could never have given to my own work: an objective first look at what I thought was a ‘completed novel, written in the correct order.’ I know that I will never have that first look or that objectivity—Rosemary will have it, and she will give me what I need most: an unflinching, highly intelligent and always constructive critique. I admit to myself and to anyone who asks that her insights and suggestions have freed my mind to go dream of stories.”
—ALFREDO VEA, author of La Maravilla and Gods Go Begging
“Over the past decade I have worked with Rosemary Ahern on four books—three novels and a work of nonfiction. One novel won two national ‘Best Novel of the Year’ awards, and the others are in line to be published. Rosemary is brilliant, easy-to-work-with, encouraging, firm, reliable, and as good a person as you’ll meet—the best editor I’ve worked with in 37 years of writing.”
—DR. SAMUEL SHEM, author of The House of God, The Spirit of the Place, and Bill W. and Dr. Bob
“When I asked a highly reputable literary agent in New York to recommend an editor, she put Rosemary Ahern’s name at the top of the list. ’You’d be lucky to get her,’ she said.
Indeed, I was.
Rosemary comes to the process of editing with an unusual combination of rigor and intuition, imagining what it might be as well as contending with what it is. Her gifts of clarity are touched with a kind of grace; she is funny and down to earth but also unsparing, and she gently identified questions of structure and tone that had stymied me for months. She began by returning my manuscript to me with sections re-ordered, with questions about what might be cut, with indications of areas where material was missing, even with ideas about what that material might be. Over time, she urged me to pursue some aspects of the story that I found challenging, even troubling, and these ‘free writes’ contributed mightily to the meat of the book.
Both my book and my approach to writing have been strengthened by the months I spent working with Rosemary. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone working in any genre, and I look forward to working with her again.”
—JESSICA TEICH, author of Trees Make the Best Mobiles and The Future Tense of Joy
“Rosemary Ahern was the editor of my last two novels (The Body Spoken and Notes on Extinction), both of which were published by Dutton. From the start, I found my collaboration with Rosemary to be of the finest quality. She is a consummate professional, for whom editing is an art, her life’s work.
As my editor, I have always found her nuanced, thoughtful, even-handed, and wonderfully insightful. In working with her, I have never felt judged or pressured. Instead, I have felt gently guided, distinctly supported, and encouraged. Her praise is never false, nor are her criticisms too harsh; and her thoughts and ideas on my work are often unexpected, always original and send me off in directions which I could never have anticipated, many times yielding terrific results.
When I stopped writing for five years to have children, I lost touch with Rosemary – in truth – with the whole world of publishing. I started writing again three years ago and discovered the world of publishing had changed dramatically, and the ways of doing business were different from what I was accustomed to. When I found myself lost and needing help on my book, I went looking for Rosemary. For the past few months, we have been working together on my fourth novel, and as with my other novels, I find her both marvelous and invaluable.
Rosemary Ahern is the real deal; you don’t find many editors like her.”
—JANICE DEANER, author of Where Blue Begins and Notes on Extinction