Introducing Book Reviewer and Editor, LEIAH COOPER
I first met Leiah in a discussion group on GoodReads, where it became apparent we had many similar interests and views. We’ve talked a lot since then, and I’ve been seriously impressed with Leiah’s developing business as a BOOK REVIEWER and EDITOR – this lady is one voracious reader!
And now she’s also working on adding a boutique, individually-tailored marketing service for authors to that list – AUTHORS, TAKE NOTE – as far as I can tell, this woman rarely sleeps so she has more hours in the day than the average human!
That was one of the burning questions I had in mind when I set about asking these interview questions, and I’m blown away by what I discovered – so without further ado – here is my
Interview with Leiah Cooper – Book Reviewer and Editor
Tell us a bit about yourself – where you live, other interests and so on.
Hey, all! I am so pleased to be here to share a bit about myself. I call Golden, Colorado home for the last many years. One of the prettiest places in the land. Tucked in here in the foothills, it isn’t unusual to find deer, fox and other wilderness creatures in my yard. Of course, the deer are usually eating my tulips, sigh.
I have always been a reader, from the time I was very small. Anything from Action to Urban Fantasy. I have been a quilter and knitter for most of my life as well, though I have also taught myself stained glass. I love to garden, and I actually taught myself to do home restorations, starting with a 1901 California Bungalow. If you can’t afford to hire an expert, learn how to do it yourself! I also am a vintage car fan – I once had a 1907 Nash Sheriff’s car, complete with siren and wooden wheels!
My work life has included everything from Police Officer and Forensic Sciences specialist to Financial Officer. Hey, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up!
When did you decide to start reviewing and was there some sort of trigger?
I was enjoying my position with a major financial corporation, waiting for another lab position to open up in the Denver PD, when I was diagnosed with Stage IIIb breast cancer. After nearly two years of treatments (believe me – you really need to get breast exams every year!) I found that I couldn’t handle the stress of my financial work, nor could I work in a lab any longer without an immune system. Ouch. What do I do now?
Read! Read, review and work towards building a career as an Indie Book Editor. It’s been a year now, and though I worry about saying it out loud – I think I really have something here! (Throwing salt over shoulder and crossing fingers . . .) I am slowly building a loyal clientele, who I am happy to say I also regard as friends – much like my friend Debby here!
What makes you sigh in disappointment when you read a novel?
Ugh. Authors who turn their brave, strong and heroic heroines into wiggling masses of hormonal idiocy. Women are indomitable – until their creators decide to weaken them until they are nearly unrecognizable. So Sad. I could name several authors who have destroyed their series heroines…. But I am being a good girl today!
The other thing that really bugs me? Authors who don’t care about the quality of the work product they offer their readers. Spelling, grammar and sentence structure issues are bad enough when allowed to go to print. But continuity issues are one of my true pet peeves. Respect your work and you respect yourself and your readers.
And what makes your heart soar?
Oh, so many things! But what really makes my heart soar is a book that I can lose myself in. Characters have a lot to do with that feeling, of course. Love them deeply or hate them intensely, if they feel real to me – even if they are demons, or shifters or vampires (oh, my!) – they draw me into their lives and their stories. I see so many books these days which rely on simplistic story lines and a minimum number of one-dimensional characters, and it makes me sad. Complex stories with diverse, well defined characters and multiple story lines are incredibly involving. They take me out of the here-and-now and into the realm of ‘what may be.’ And what-may-be can be awesome!
Do you have a favourite genre?
Ah! Well now, that depends on the day, doesn’t it? No, really, in all honesty I have many genres which I enjoy. Anything from action/adventure to mystery/suspense, science fiction or horror and I am happy. But my favourite would have to be Urban Fantasy. Ever since I read my first Charles de Lint, back in (mumble mumble – yea, I’ve seen quite a few years, but I don’t feel old!) I have been totally enamoured with the ideas and creativity displayed in the UF genre. Of course, I am a huge animal lover, so anything with shifters and skin walkers of any shape make me sigh with pleasure, but give me elves and gnomes, ghosties and goulies and anything that goes bump in the night, and I’m good!
Paper or ebook?
Although I have, literally, over a thousand paper volumes, I prefer ebook for a lot of different reasons. Mainly, Ereaders are just so convenient! I can finish a book and immediately go to the next, which is really nice on long plane rides. If I am cruising around book sites and see something I might like I can download a sample immediately and check it out at my leisure No more need to haul around a highlighter either – I can simply highlight portions of text and research references and make notes right there in the book immediately. It is really convenient when I want to mark-up quotes for reviews, or need to research continuity problems.
Besides, my eyes really don’t like that tiny book print any longer – sigh!
You also offer editing services – tell us about your credentials and what you offer.
Ah! You ask my favourite question! Yes, I do offer editorial services. While my most recent education is in math and forensic sciences, especially blood spatter and fingerprint analysis, my earlier education included numerous English language and literature courses. When I decided to pull out those skills and dust them off, I spent many intensive hours refreshing my knowledge and gaining access to premiere research sites such as The Chicago Manual of Style and other reference materials. And, being a lifelong voracious reader, my own knowledge of what “works” stylistically and technically is a great contributor to my success.
I also find that my police and forensics knowledge stands me in good stead, as I have also acted as police consultant on various books, and can even pull out a useful legal reference when necessary. Right now I am working through a book about a Scotland Yard detective who is chasing a serial killer in London, and all of my skills are coming into play, which is thrilling. At the same time, I am preparing to edit the next volume of an Urban Fantasy series. Best of both worlds – and who all can say that about their lives? I am a very, very fortunate lady.
You get through an enormous amount of material – do you have a preferred time of day to read?
I am, beyond any doubt, a night person. Being single, working at home and having a small income outside of my business, I find that I can spend a lot of time reading that other people, (those with families and “real” lives, LOL) don’t have available. The dogs and I simply pile up in my big old recliner and we drift into the worlds ‘between the pages.’ Of course, scratches and cuddles and doggy treats are always on hand!
I know you’re a pet lover (sensible person) – how do they figure in your life?
My pets are my family. Dogs are great, aren’t they? They always listen when you talk. They never judge, never complain (well, except when I don’t notice that it is time for nummies!) and they are always there with you. They don’t care if I am in my cuddly chair reading, sitting at my desk working or decide to spend the morning before bed out in the yard doing chores, as long as they are close at paw. They are never mean, never cross and never make me feel bad about myself. They simply love me, and I love them back.
And finally, do you have any personal goals?
Living through my cancer truly changed the way I look at the world. There are no guarantees, no do-overs. All that is guaranteed in live is the now. When I figured that out, I also figured out that I had spent way too much of my life trying, and failing, to please other people at the expense of my own happiness. Now, with my editing and reviewing, my dogs and my art, it is much easier to see how much of what we do every day is simply habit – and how it does nothing to truly help us grow. Lately, I feel like I have grown more in this past year than I had in all the years before. My personal goal? Make my life one that I can look back upon and be proud of what I have accomplished, while sharing a bit of that peace with others.
Well, and to become everyone’s first choice of “go-to” editor, of course!
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Thanks Leiah, for a great interview!
You can also find Leiah’s review of DESPRITE MEASURES on her blog, and believe me, Leiah says what she thinks, so I was very happy with this review!
If you would like to see more about Leiah and her services, and to read reviews of some great (and not so great!) books, visit her blog at: