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'It's always the voice'

23 May 2016

'It always starts with instinct. Feeling a visceral excitement when I'm reading, that I'm being dragged deeper and taken somewhere I don't already know, through a voice I haven't heard before. For me, the voice is pretty much key. Some editors are plot hounds and understand genre, but I've never really been that person. For me, at least in fiction, it's always the voice. I would say voice first, character second, plot third. It's equally true in writerly nonfiction. I think it starts with that sense of excitement, then questions follow. Because I'm a somewhat quirky reader I always have to do a reality check on myself and say, Ok, you are excited about this, but do you think you can get other people excited about it? Is there an audience for it? I have a wonderful group of colleagues whom I can bounce things off, particularly my colleagues in publicity who are tremendous readers.

Editor Rebecca Saletan of US literary imprint Riverhead on Lithub