The Debutante Ball Welcomes Beth Fish Reads!

Drawing of woman holding glassToday The Debutante Ball is delighted to welcome one of our favorite semi-incognito book bloggers – Beth Fish Reads!

Beth Fish – The Woman, The Myth, The Legend

Candace is a full-time freelance book editor whose clients include both major publishing firms and prominent independent presses. She also reviews books, both on her blog and professionally, in a range of genres from adult literary fiction to middle reader fantasy, from prerelease review copies to classics. When she’s not reading, she’s probably listening to a book while cooking, gardening, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. Follow Candace on Twitter or visit Beth Fish Reads.

About the Blog

My blog, Beth Fish Reads, is where I post book reviews, participate in book challenges and memes, and spotlight Pennsylvania authors. One of my biggest loves is my imprint awareness project, through which I’m particularly focusing on Amy Einhorn Books, Harper Perennial, Pamela Dorman Books, and Algonquin Books. I also host Weekend Cooking (a weekly feature for sharing foodie books, cookbooks, and recipes) and a couple of reading challenges. I dabble in photography and like to share a weekly photo. I am also a co-owner of the audiobook review index blog Audiobook Jukebox.

Beth Fish Reads Takes the Deb Interview!

Which talent do you wish you had?
It may surprise people that not all editors wish they were authors. Creative writing is not one of my talents, and I have no real desire to face the blank page or screen. I do, however, wish I had musical talent. Because I took years of piano lessons, I can indeed read music and I can play very, very rudimentary piano (think two steps above “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”), and I know some chords on the guitar. But that is the sum total of my musical skills.

When I first met my husband—who, wouldn’t you know it, is a wonderful musician—he asked me why I never sang along when he played the guitar or when we were listening to the radio. I explained that I couldn’t carry a tune. He didn’t believe me and thought I was just shy. Several months later I baked him a birthday cake and attempted to sing “Happy Birthday.” His response? “Gee, you really can’t carry a tune, can you?”

What time of day do you love best?

I love the early morning when most of the rest of the world is still asleep, when I can sip my coffee and know that no one expects an immediate answer to a question, that the phone won’t ring, and that it will be dead quiet in the house. I always get my best work done before 8:00 AM. Even when I’m traveling, I love venturing out in the wee hours to get a sense of place or to take some photographs before the beach or streets fill with people.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?
One piece of advice I always give writers is to listen to their editor and copy editor. Of course, the manuscript is your own and you feel protective of it. Of course, the name on the front cover is yours and not your editor’s. And, of course, you struggled and stewed over every word, and it is painful to see anything changed or deleted. But remember that your editors are rooting for your success and that they too feel invested in your book. Pick your battles carefully, however, because you want your editors to work hard for you, to be on your team, and to help bring out the best in you.

What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?
I presume you mean besides a boat or boatbuilder?

—I think I would go totally nuts if I didn’t have something to read. Without electricity, I wouldn’t be able to rely on audiobooks or my eReader, so I would have to have some sort of waterproof trunk full of books that I wouldn’t mind reading over and over. Oh and I hope one of those books would be about safe foods to eat and another would be on first aid.

—Matches or a flint so I could build a fire and stay warm and cook food. I suppose building a signal fire might be a good idea too.

—My husband. Not only because I love him and would love his company but also because he is just the kind of guy who would be able to figure out a way to get us off the island.

What is the best perk of your job?

Oh gosh. I love so many things about my job, it’s hard to name just the best. I love being self-employed and love working from home. It’s incredibly hard work to be an editor, but I do thank my lucky stars that I get paid to read and to work with words and to help bring good books to the reading public. Because I haven’t specialized in a particular field, I love the incredible variety of manuscripts I’ve worked on over the years, from academic/scholarly manuscripts to children’s books, from genre fiction to literary fiction, and from cookbooks to house-building books.

The best perk, however, has been the many editors, authors, and designers I’ve been blessed to work with. Even though I’ve never held an in-house editing position, some of my working relationships have lasted more than twenty years.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Beth!

Beth Fish Reads is a wonderful place to discover great books in all kinds of genres.  If you’ve set a reading challenge for yourself this year, a great place to start would be participating in one of Candace’s challenges – we’re a little partial to the Amy Einhorn Books Perpetual Challenge (Deb Eleanor is an Amy Einhorn Books author, as are Deb guests Siobhan Fallon and Kelly O’Connor McNees), but we also just love the Algonquin Books challenge because of wonderful authors like Deb guest Caroline Leavitt.  Take your pick!

20 Replies to “The Debutante Ball Welcomes Beth Fish Reads!”

  1. Candace is one of the first bloggers I met via the internet when I started blogging. She is always there to answer blogging questions, help you out if she can, etc. I enjoy reading her blog. She is so insightful with her reviews. Loved her answers to your questions!

  2. Candace is one of the first bloggers I met as well. We jokingly call each other sisters, separated by a few years (LOL) because we have so much in common. She’s a great person & resource to new bloggers. I don’t know what I’d do without her!

    Love her answers to your questions..I could see her spunk & personality shine through 🙂

  3. Wonderful interview! Great to get to know you a bit better, but though I didn´t know these things about you, I certainly recognize the tone and the humour. This is ´our Beth´ 😀

  4. Great post, Candace! I love what you say about the author/editor relationship. I was constantly amazed by how my incredible editor (Samantha McFerrin) brought out the best in my writing and my story. 90% of the time I took her notes and changes without question, and of the 10% of the time I pushed back, by the next draft I’d say, “No, you know what? You were right. Let’s go back to what you suggested.”

  5. >I always get my best work done before 8:00 AM.

    Me too!

    >listen to their editor and copy editor

    Mine (Caitlin Alexander is my editor at Ballantine, and Beth Pearson at Random House is my copy chief) walk on water, and save me from sooo much embarrassment.

    And I love your blog! Just going to your page makes me want to float a boat under those bridges, with pen and paper to write or book to read.

  6. In a world where book coverage always seems in the midst of being cut drastically, it’s so wonderful to have substantive blogs like yours to turn to. Cheers to that! And, FYI, I married my husband PRECISELY because he is the one I’d want to be stuck on an island with. In fact, right about now, it sounds kind of nice….Thanks again.

  7. I got a little distracted for a minute with all the fantasizing about the shirtless boat builder. Where were we? Oh, yes….I love your blog, and I’m so thrilled to see you here at The Debutante Ball. Thanks so much for visiting us!


  8. So glad you spotlighted Candace. She is one of my favorite bloggers. I thought I could carry a tune, but evidently my son doesn’t think so. When I told him I used to sing in the church choir, his response was “out loud!” I have to agree with Candace. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d like to be stuck with my hubby. And the trunk of books too. *grin*

  9. I also love Beth Fish Reads and consider Candace a good blogging friend. She’s helped me numerous times. I especially enjoyed her answer to the question asking for advice to aspiring writers. It’s great to see a book from an editor’s perspective. This interview spotlighted what a rich and full like Candace leads. Thanks for that. Good questions.

  10. I love your advice to aspiring writers … it isn’t an answer you see very often and I think it really practical and well informed.

    And I’m sorry but I always think of you as Beth Fish because that is how I “met” you.

    1. I agree – I am particularly fond of “Mr. Beth Fish Reads” and refuse to think that he might have another name!

      Thanks for coming by, Beth…er…Candace!

  11. Candace is an enormously a talented blogger/reviewer, and as I’ve gotten to know her over this past year, I consider her a lovely friend–a friend who has a terrific and quirky sense of humor!

    Her photographs (which she often shares on Wednesdays) are wonderful, and it sometimes gives me chills how her images capture so much of my childhood on the farm.

    It was fun to read her answers today!

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