|Dawn Marano has a terrific eye for the heart of a book--and for what
needs to be honed so this heart doesn't waver, disappear under debris,
or explode. By articulating what my book was about more clearly than I
could do, she helped me make it a stronger and steadier version of itself.
--SueEllen Campbell, author of Even Mountains Vanish: Searching for Solace
in an Age of Extinction, www.upress.utah.edu
It's probably not an overstatement to say that a serious writer needs a good editor nearly as much as he or she needs innate talent. I was lucky and privileged to have Dawn Marano as developmental editor on Providence of a Sparrow. Whatever virtue my book possesses is due in large part to Dawn's insight and tact. The skill she brings to her work as an editor reflects not only a love of good writing but also an intuitive grasp of what makes it so. She's the best.
--Chris Chester, author of Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds,
Finding a manuscript editor and critic who is also a talented writer
in her own right is like winning the
lottery. Dawn Marano was the jackpot for me. She doesn't
nit-pick at the small, but looks beyond a manuscript's defects to
see its possibilities and then nurtures both the writer and his
writing until a work matures and stands on its own. Her judgement,
her criticism and her ability to motivate a writer to go beyond what even he
considers his best effort is a gift, not a purchase
--Clive Scott Chisholm, author of Following the Wrong God Home: Footloose in an American Dream.,
When you embark upon the gargantuan task of writing a book, you often feel
that you have parachuted into the Gobi Desert and somehow, without map, compass, or companion, you are supposed to find your way home. What Dawn Marano gives you are navigational tools and emotional support. She
accompanies you on every step of your creative journey. She helps you find your book's best form. She surprises you with psychological insights and structural suggestions. She criticizes without wounding. She becomes your advocate, mentor, and friend. If you're lost in the sand dunes, I urge you to call on Dawn Marano. She'll bring you and your book safely home.
--DeEtta Demaratus, author of Force of a Feather: The Search for a Lost
Story of Slavery and Freedom, www.upress.utah.edu
Writers want the company of our readership; to join us in our vision. This company, however, is not automatic, and so the lonely image of the writer hunched down in some breeze-rattled and shadow-draped garret, where the windows are dirty and you can't see very well, still describes how it feels to be wrestling text. Dawn Marano's greatest strength (among many) is her ability to perceive what you have in mind, the ideal book held somewhere suspended between what is actually on the page and what needs to be there. Her intelligence and creativity combine with a generous sympathy that allows her to
guide you as you always wanted to go. This kind of personal, attentive editing is rare these days, but deeply valuable. I recommend her highly.
--Elizabeth Dodd, author of Prospect: Journeys & Landscapes, www.upress.utah.edu
Writers write in order to think. The key to finding a good developmental
editor is locating one who has an incisive intellect as well as an instinct
for how a book can move the reader. Dawn is one of those very rare editors
who brings both kinds of skill to bear on your work, and if you have the
opportunity to work with her, you won't just learn more about how to write,
but will also understand better what you're thinking. That's a gift beyond
--William Fox, author of The Void, the Grid & the Sign: Traversing the Great
I had worked ten years on Cidermaster before sending the manuscript to
Dawn Marano at the University of Utah Press. Dawn's response was heart-warming
and at the same time sobering: "I love your book," she said. "And I see a few
things I want to go over with you." What followed was a most sensitive reading
and then questions--about obscurities, about intentional and unintentional
omissions, about opportunities. Her suggestions were both succinct and
illuminating. Her editing and my amplifying and rewriting took another two
years, and I cherish every part of the experience. And I like the result more
than I can say.
--Harvey Frauenglass, author of Cidermaster of Rio Oscuro,
Having worked with some highly effective editors before (Ted Solotaroff
when he was at Simon & Schuster, Ann Czarniecki at Graywolf), my standards
were high when I began my association with the University of Utah Press,
but Dawn Marano exceeded them all. She had a keen eye for what pieces
belonged in my manuscript and what didn't fit, for how to resolve the
redundancies that arose from many of the individual essays having been
published separately, and. most amazingly and insightfully, for how to
reorder the essays to produce a far more coherent structure for the book
than I'd been able to come up with myself. She was thoughtful, caring,
and a joy to work with throughout the entire publication process.
It was an honor to have worked with her.
--Alvin Greenberg, author of The Dog of Memory: A Family Album of Secrets and Silences,
Dawn believed in my memoir when it was just a scramble of ideas. She read
the first draft like a musical score, pointing out the inner themes that made each "chord," and helped me express these themes more coherently. She
taught me to stay in the critical moment of the narrative, instead of veering off into irrelevant commentary or research detours. Her keen insight made me
aware of the stories under the stories, and the strategies used to avoid telling them. While she never pushed me to write beyond my comfort zone, her gentle encouragement gave me the nerve to explore difficult material on the page. She nurtured the book (and its author) with promptly returned e-mails and phone calls, and with kind attention in my moments of anxiety. I'm grateful to Dawn for letting me know that my story was worth telling. She's a gifted reader with a "sixth sense" that can't be taught.
--Heidi Hart, author of Grace Notes: The Waking of a Woman's Voice, www.upress.utah.edu
Dawn has an eagle's eye for finding story, a silk
worm's thread for binding pieces that would otherwise
topple into so much unpublished rubbish. She helped me
peel open the layers that lay dormant within my story,
creating a cohesive narrative arc. After short,
cryptic responses or anonymous and often-contradictory
reader reports from other presses, I finally landed in
the realm of Dawn Marano. What great relief to find an
editor who understood what I was up to, and who
actually talked with me about it! How astonishing to
receive such clear-eyed, comprehensive, and creative
suggestions for revision! Writing is about
learning--learning who we are, learning what we think,
learning how we get along in this world--and learning
how to express it. Every time I write, I am thankful
for all I learned from working with Dawn Marano.
--Marybeth Holleman, author of The Heart of the Sound: An Alaskan
Parardise Found & Nealy Lost, www.upress.utah.edu
In the book business no publisher wants to take the time to improve a
manuscript. Once the book is under contract it better be together because the editor turns to filling out the list for the next season. Dawn Marano changed that for me by encouraging draft after draft until we had a finished manuscript. She read with a fine eye, somehow sensing the untold story, wanting the best I could give. I am grateful to have worked with her.
--Linda Hussa, co-author of Sharing Fencelines: Three Friends Write from the Nevada's Sagebrush Corner, www.upress.utah.edu
Dawn Marano understands like very few people both the painstaking craft and the surrender to magic that are essential to the best kinds of storytelling. Her eye and her ear are invariably spot-on. Her love of language is immense, as is her understanding of its power to alter lives. I'm among the legion of writers who can attest to the truth that she is among the very first rank of American editors.
--Russell Martin, author of Picasso's War and Beethoven's Hair,
I brought my manuscript, Miraculous Air (a memoir of travels in Baja
California) to Dawn Marano when she was the editor of the creative nonfiction series at the University of Utah Press. Her critique of my manuscript was both
detailed and thoughtful, and she pointed out precisely where I could push to make it better. She is a supremely professional and deeply perceptive editor. It was a delight to work with her, every step of the way. I highly and without reservation recommend her editorial services.
--C.M. Mayo, author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through
Baja California, the Other Mexico and Sky Over El Nido, winner of the
Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. www.cmmayo.com
Dawn Marano's talent is that she sees beyond the
sentences, the paragraphs, the chapters that an author has assembled to help
find the book hidden beneath. I came to ask Dawn's assistance
after having already published or edited five other volumes, and her deep
insight into the heart of my story, what I was already beginning to say yet did
not myself recognize, helped transition Between Panic and Desire from a
manuscript to a publishable, satisfying narrative. Dawn Marano is smart,
generous, and wise.
--Dinty Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire and The
Accidental Buddhist. Editor of Brevity. www.creativenonfiction.org/brevity
Dawn edits like an owl hunts…with eyes that can see into the dark, she flew silently beside me, guided me just enough so that I could discover my own targets. She showed me that writing is like painting: you have to figure out what to put into the piece, how big it's going to be, where to put it, and what color it will be.
--Sophie Sheppard, co-author of
Sharing Fencelines: Three Friends Write
from Nevada's Sagebrush Corner , www.upress.utah.edu
Dawn Marano was as essential to my first book as were the memories of
the stories about which I wrote. She recognized a voice she believed
in and she encouraged that voice to find its range. I believe that
without finding Dawn I would not have written Where Rivers Change Direction, or the next book, or the one I just finished, that is, without the luck of Dawn Marano in my writing life, I honestly doubt I would have books published at all. And I am completely aware of how grandiose the above statement appears, how flattering, how broad--and how utterly accurate it remains. Beyond that broad accuracy--to the nuts and bolts of the actual editing--
I found that Dawn could work the whole canvas; that she could improve the composition of the painting; that she could improve the brushstrokes. To have
Dawn Marano involved in any way with a manuscript--from
its conception, to the refinement of each and every
sentence--can only improve the completed work.
--Mark Spragg, author of Where Rivers Change Direction and The Fruit of Stone
Dawn Marano is the best thing that ever happened to me as a writer. She was able to
see through the wool I had pulled over my own eyes in some of the narratives I'd written,
and suggest, with her hallmark insight, kindness and intelligence, ways I might let some
light into my stories. When anyone asks, I tell them she's every writer's dream of an
editor: someone who is sympathetic and understanding; someone who respects your
voice and style, but someone who is not afraid to say the hard things that will move your
work to the next level. From the larger structural elements of an essay to the micro-level
of editing a sentence, she proved herself a magician.
--Sheryl St. Germain, author of Swamp Songs: The Making of an Unruly Woman,
As a person and an editor, Dawn Marano has enriched my life. I was challenged by the responsibility of writing an honest and accurate biography of Ella Peacock, a Utah artist many knew and loved. I resisted the need to blend into it, as well, memoir of my life experiences, yet Dawn constantly, and gently, reminded me to honor my own perspective and make meaning with it. Her prescience and respect for truthfulness pushed me throughout the writing of First Sight of the Desert, her calm grace enabling my best work.
--Kathryn Abajian, author of First Sight of the Desert:
Discovering the Art of Ella Peacock
When I sent The Colonel and the Pacifist to Dawn Marano I expected to get back big-sisterly advice on how I should rewrite it and where I should try to sell it. Instead, she offered me a contract! Her wise suggestions for creating a smooth read and her perceptive edits led to the production of the book I had dreamed of.
--Klancy de Nevers, author of The Colonel and the
As a first-time author, you worry that a hired
editor might just skim your book, digging only deep enough to fire off some
canned suggestions. That doesn't happen when you submit your manuscript to
Dawn. She read every page, plastering them with sticky notes (complete with
page numbers, mind you, in case the note became detached) that challenged,
encouraged, called for further clarification, or whatever was needed to improve
each page as well as the overall theme of the book. When I first flipped
through the returned manuscript with all of the detailed notes, I thought,
"What the hell? Maybe I'll use all these damn post-its to slit my
wrists." But, after I'd read the notes and confronted the challenges she
threw down, I thought, "Thank God for Dawn Marano."
--Bob Braithwaite, author of With Hope Across America
Dawn Marano is a book whisperer. She looks
into the heart of the unruly beast and sees what it might become, sleek,
beautiful and whole. Her faith in my book's potential, her fine literary
sensibility and her thoughtful and insistent judgment helped me shape a ragged
manuscript into something grand.
--Tracy Seeley, author of My Ruby Slippers