Meet Our Staff
Editors | Ghostwriters | Publishing Consultants | Screenplay Adaptation Specialists
Working with The Editorial Department means having access to a wide range of tastes, backgrounds, and areas of specialization. Full bios are available below, and anyone with questions about which editor or consultant might be best for you should contact Ross Browne in the Tucson office.
Renni Browne has been editing fiction and nonfiction for over fifty years. Before she became an editor for Scribner's in 1966, she was a copy editor for Time-Life Books, co-author of a novel, and assistant fiction editor for Woman's Day. When she left Scribner's she worked part-time for a paperback publisher and a literary agent while reviewing books for Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly. She interviewed to be a senior editor but was told by more than one publisher that although she was qualified, she was a woman. Then the literary agent she worked for told her, “Sol Stein is looking for a senior editor—you’re perfect for him.”
And so in 1968 she became senior editor at Stein & Day, where a number of books she acquired and edited over her seven years there landed on the New York Times bestseller list. She next became a senior editor at William Morrow, where she was encouraged to spend a great deal of time helping market her titles and cultivating relationships with literary agents but very little time editing the manuscripts she acquired—a trend, she realized, that was beginning to pervade the industry. She left mainstream publishing in 1978 and in 1980 founded The Editorial Department, so named because it provided the services publishers had once routinely provided. In 1991 she and Dave King wrote Self Editing for Fiction Writers, still the bestselling title on editing, now in its fifth printing and second edition from HarperCollins.
Over the years Renni has reviewed books for magazines, appeared on NPR, co-founded a writer’s conference, given workshops and seminars around the country on self-editing, dialogue, getting published, and other topics of interest to writers. She lives in Asheville, N.C., with two cats. Her free-time passions are music (especially blues, Bach, and bluegrass), movies (from TCM silents to the Coen brothers), and above all reading. She just reread Portrait of a Lady, devours literary crime fiction and southern fiction, and at the moment is reading a musician's memoir.
Specializes in Southern fiction and most genres of fiction & narrative nonfiction
President/Director of Author Services
Ross Browne has been editing books since 1992, and he’s been in charge of TED's editorial operations since 1998.
While he still occasional works hands-on with authors, Ross’s main role within The Editorial Department these days is managing the company’s day-to-operations and helping our authors chart the most comfortable and efficient editorial course for their manuscripts.
Ross’s 24 years of experience as an editor includes scouting talent for a major New York literary agency, developing a popular series of workshops for writers, and working closely with hundreds of authors from first draft to final publication as a developmental and line editor. His favorite writers include John Irving, Carl Hiaasen, Henning Mankell, Lee Child, Nelson DeMille, John Sandford, and Pat Conroy. He lives with his wife and son in Tucson, Arizona, and enjoys playing golf and watching baseball. As a guitarist, singer, and songwriter in several local bands, he is keenly interested in songwriting, studio recording, and biographies of influential musicians. He’s also an avid homebrewer and a founding partner in a company that designs equipment for the craft brewing community.Ross is a frequent contributor to The Editorial Department's blog. You can check out his latests posts and book reviews here.
Specializes in editorial programs and services development, staffing matters, and industry outreach
Amanda C. Bauch, editor, writer, and teacher, has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She has been a manuscript reader for Post Road, assistant editor for Relief: A Christian Literary Expression, a manuscript reviewer for a few McGraw-Hill college writing handbooks, and edited/proofread college textbooks and courses for SIRIUS Academics.
Amanda's fiction and nonfiction has appeared in print and online, in MOTIF: Writing by Ear, Empowerment4Women: The Online Magazine, Tainted Mirror: An Anthology, Bent Pin Quarterly, Writer Advice, The Hiss Quarterly, and 30 Points of View. Amanda's work also received an honorable mention in The Writers' Workshop of Asheville, NC, Memoirs Contest; second place in the 2006 Lantern Books Essay Contest; and one of her works was selected as Best of the AWP Pedagogy Papers in 2008. Over the past several years, Amanda has taught various English and writing courses as an adjunct instructor at different institutions.
Overall, Amanda's diverse experiences as a writer, editor, and teacher contribute to her ability to help writers present their best work to the world—one of her greatest joys in life.
Specializes in copy editing, proofreading, and developmental editing of select genres
Marcia Ford specializes in editing and developing books for the Christian market. A former managing editor of Christian Retailing, Charisma, and Ministries Today magazines and contributor to Publishers Weekly's religion coverage, she is well-versed in the Christian publishing industry and for several years served as Gale Publications' Christian fiction genre expert. She knows the kind of books Christian publishers are looking for today and understands the dramatic change the industry has undergone in recent years—and continues to undergo.
Marcia is also an author, which means she knows how it feels to be the one whose work is being edited. All thirty books she's written have been traditionally published and professionally edited; she knows from experience that every writer needs an editor, even if the writer is also a lifelong editor herself.
Marcia's career began in 1973 at The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and over the next 11 years she worked in nearly every department, which gave her a wealth of knowledge about business, education, entertainment, lifestyles, local issues, and hard news. But it was her job as religion editor that remained constant during her tenure at the paper, which coincided with the rise of feminism, gay rights, the Evangelical Right, the social justice movement, the spread of Buddhism, Hinduism, and New Age groups, and other issues that had a significant impact on religion in America.Marcia made the transition to magazine editing in 1994, and she continued to contribute news stories to various media outlets. She soon began editing books as a freelancer, which led directly to a request in 1998 from a publisher that she write her own book, and that launched her career as an author. She has also edited several hundred novels and nonfiction books, losing count in the early 1990s.
Specializing in CBA fiction & nonfiction, memoir, some genres of secular fiction
Editor and Traditional Publishing Consultant
Karinya Funsett-Topping has experience as a book reviewer, bookseller, arts desk writer for a newspaper, literary journal editor, and as chief bedtime story reader for her two children. She began working with The Editorial Department in their Tucson office in 2006, when she came on board as the Submissions Director of the Agent Matchmaking Program. She loves working with writers directly in our development program and supporting authors who wish to traditionally publish find the right literary agent.
Karinya's especially enjoys working with authors of romance, women's fiction, mainstream fiction, literary fiction, young adult fiction, short stories, and anything with a bit of magical realism. In nonfiction, she enjoys working on memoirs and essay collections.
Karinya graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Creative Writing (fiction and nonfiction) in 2005 and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction in May of 2008, both from the University of Arizona. She now works from Michigan where she lives with her husband, two children, an orange cat, and far more books than she has shelf space for.
Specializes in synopsis and query development, submissions support, and developmental editing of many genres of fiction and narrative nonfiction
Morgana Gallaway is an author published both traditionally and independently and has worked with hundreds of other successfully published authors in planning and executing their independent publishing ventures. She has designed dozens of books, including covers, print interior typography and layout, and e-book formatting.
As an experienced book designer and publishing project manager, Morgana provides in-depth guidance on the benefits and drawbacks of self-publishing in a rapidly evolving market, helps plan out a publishing strategy based on the project and the author's needs, guides authors through design, title set-up, pricing decisions, and distribution.
Coming from the trenches with expertise in multiple avenues of publishing, she helps fellow writers navigate the mystifying waters of the current market—and wants every good story to find its expression.
Specializes in helping self-publishing authors navigate the journey to successful publication
Peter Gelfan has been editing and ghostwriting both fiction and nonfiction for over 20 years. His clients range from beginners to published and bestselling authors and celebrities. He also edits screenplays and has sold two he wrote under his own name, one of which was produced and recently released in France. His novel Found Objects was published in May 2013.
While experienced in most every genre from crime through mainstream to literary, he specializes in analyzing and strengthening underlying structure—plot, character, and scenes in fiction, and organization and argument in nonfiction. Peter has published a feature-length article on fiction craft in Writer's Digest. He's the author of TED's e-book on novel structure. He has conducted a number of seminars and workshops at writers' conferences and tutored a great many writers through numerous drafts.
Specializes in fiction technique coaching, craft teaching, developmental editing for most genres of fiction & nonfiction
Lindsay Guzzardo has worked in romance publishing for 8+ years. During tenures at Penguin (NAL/Signet), Guideposts, and Amazon (Montlake Romance), she acquired and edited numerous bestselling and award-nominated authors and titles, and has been nominated three times for the prestigious RITA award as an editor.
Lindsay has acquired and edited across the romance spectrum. She especially enjoys contemporary romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and chick-lit. Separate from romance, she loves dark historical fiction and funny women’s memoirs. Contemporary favorites include Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, My Life in France by Julia Child, Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Perennial favorites include everything by Nora Ephron, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Anne of Green Gables, and The Giver.
Specializes in romance, women's fiction, and memoir
Guest Blogger and Traditional Publishing Consultant
Lucas Hunt studied English and Journalism at the University of Iowa, wrote for The Daily Iowan newspaper, and attended the Poetry Writer’s Workshop. He received an MFA from Southampton College, published two volumes of poetry, won a John Steinbeck Award, and founded Hunt & Light. Prior to becoming Agency Director at Orchard Literary, Hunt was a rights manager and agent at the Philip Spitzer Literary Agency. He cultivated the careers of best-selling authors Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, Andre Dubus III, and Simon Van Booy. Hunt actively sought and closed major deals in print, audio, digital and foreign markets. He is interested in literary and international fiction, travel memoir, music and spirituality, along with creative and authoritative works of non-fiction. Hunt’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, East Hampton Star, Fiction Writers Review, Slice, and Clarion, among others.
Literary agent/ consultant specializing in helping writers prepare for traditional publication
John Robert Marlow
Editor & Screenplay Consultant
John Robert Marlow is a published novelist, nonfiction book author and Academy-honored screenwriter with over 20 years' experience as a freelance journalist, and over 15 years' experience as an editor and researcher.
John's tech-thriller novel Nano was published in hardcover and paperback by Forge/St. Martin's Press, and he literally wrote the book on film adaptations--after extensive interviews with novelists, screenwriters, directors, producers and others whose movies have collectively earned over $50 billion worldwide. Make Your Story a Movie: Adapting Your Book or Idea for Hollywood was published by St. Martin's Griffin in December 2012.
One of John's action scripts recently went into development with director/producer Jan de Bont (whose credits include Speed, Twister, Minority Report, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider). Another action script entered development in 2012, and a romantic comedy was optioned by the producer of the Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx action-thriller Collateral.
John's editing work has included writing, revising, and editing novels, screenplays, nonfiction books, book proposals, loglines, pitch sheets, and screenplay treatments; writing screenplay adaptations of both novels and nonfiction books; analyzing novels, screenplays, nonfiction books, loglines, pitches, treatments and book proposals for commercial potential and marketability (recommending changes to improve concept, plot, character, dialogue, and narration); ghostwriting; and writing and editing promotional and book jacket copy. John has consulted on book cover design and interactive video game design and storyline, researched nonfiction books prior to publication, and researched nonfiction documentaries aired by the world's largest broadcaster.
John's first love is commercial fiction: novels and screenplays in the action, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, young adult, drama, and comedy (including romantic comedy) genres. Running a close second to these: compelling nonfiction and "quirky" fiction.
Specializes in screenplay adaptations and development, also editing for authors of commercial fiction
Marketing & Author Publicity Consultant
Lonnie Ostrow has been a book marketing and editing professional for more than fifteen years. Since 2001, he has been the in-house director of publicity, marketing and fanbase management for the iconic bestselling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford. Additionally, he serves as marketing consultant and editor for a wide range of debut and established authors in the research, editing, and promotion of their books. As a marketer, Lonnie lends his comprehensive know-how to web development, social media, video production, advertising, email marketing, fanbase building and event planning.
Lonnie’s marketing career included a stint as director of marketing and events at IGPC: The world's largest postal agency, where he orchestrated the “Living Legend Postal Phenomenon." Here he worked closely with more than 30 of the world's most beloved entertainers and celebrities--from Bob Hope to Bob Dylan, Jackie Chan to Jackie Kennedy--all of them honored on international postage stamps. During this period, Lonnie teamed with legendary Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek on a postal tribute, which led to an extensive publicity campaign for Manzarek's autobiography, Light My Fire.
Lonnie is also an experienced editor specializing in plot, character, and scene development. His favorite contemporary authors include Nick Hornby, Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry. He lives in Merrick, New York, with his wife and two daughters. In his limited spare time, he enjoys attending classic rock concerts around Long Island and NYC.
Specializes in author publicity & book promotion
Brian Preston is an award-winning writer of non-fiction who has been published in such magazines as Rolling Stone, Details, and Vogue. His non-fiction book Pot Planet was a bestseller in Britain. The New Yorker called it “gimlet-eyed and often hilarious.” He broke a rib writing his next book, Me, Chi, and Bruce Lee: Adventures in Martial Arts from the Shaolin Temple to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
He lives quite happily on the west coast of Canada, where for the last while he’s been a stay-at-home dad looking after the kids and writing fiction. He has published two novels, All the Romance a Man Can Stomach and The Body Abroad, both of which are commercial fiction with paranormal elements. He’s at work on the next.
Brian has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. His literary idols are Alice Munro, Primo Levi, and especially Anton Chekhov for his ability to create a world in a paragraph. In the realm of non-fiction he admires the work of Jon Krakauer, David Quammen, John McPhee, and Barbara Ehrenreich among many other writers who recognize that structure and storytelling are just as important in non-fiction as in fiction. When reading heavy, difficult subjects, he appreciates an occasional bit of levity, and agrees with Shakespeare that brevity is the soul of wit. He looks forward to helping guide writers through the pain and pleasure of putting words on a page.
Specializes in new age, humor, journalism, outdoor/travel, and some categories of narrative nonfiction
Julie has been an editor and author’s mentor for more than 20 years. She is a graduate with honors from the English and journalism programs at the University of Arizona, and she holds a master’s in literature from Indiana University. While a graduate student, she taught introductory composition and tutored writing courses for students with learning disabilities; as an undergraduate, she was a writing consultant on the founding staff of the University of Arizona Writing Center.
While in Indiana, she took a creative nonfiction course in nature writing, kindling a keen interest in environmental journalism and natural history. Reading works by Leslie Marmon Silko, Edward Abbey, Barbara Kingsolver, and other writers also drew her back to the “wide and aching sky” of her native Tucson, where she worked as a bookseller and volunteer naturalist before returning to the University of Arizona for an interdisciplinary master’s degree in ecology and education. Ever since, Julie has put her skills to work on behalf of her lifelong love for nature. She spent seven years as Publications Director for a national endangered species advocacy organization, and she continues to write, edit, and design communications for nonprofits working to create more locally sustainable communities and protect wildlife and wild places.
True to her own interdisciplinary path, Julie is particularly interested in writing that interweaves natural history and the natural sciences with literature and art, as well as authors who combine poetic and journalistic sensibilities to document the stories of real people and places. She includes in this vein favorite authors Terry Tempest Williams and Luis Alberto Urrea, as well as books like Cadillac Desert, God’s Middle Finger, and Jon Krakauer’s work. Her graduate studies in literature focused primarily on African-American literature, resistance literature, 19th and 20th century American realism and romanticism, American folklore, and feminist criticism. Other favorite and influential authors include Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy, Keri Hulme, Pablo Neruda, Charles Bowden, and Wendell Berry as well as Hemingway, Whitman, and Thoreau.
Julie enjoys editing nonfiction and fiction work across a wide variety of genres. Her other interests include graphic design, photography, riding bikes, hiking, backpacking, wildlife watching, gardening, cooking, and hanging out with her dogs. A self-described native-plant geek, she counts well-worn plant guides among her most cherished books.
Specializes in narrative nonfiction, natural history and ecology, and contemporary and literary fiction
Associate Editor, Co-Editor with Renni Browne
Shannon Roberts has always had an interest in the world of media and publishing. In 2007 she graduated as a Mass Communication major from the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she had worked during her senior year as a writing tutor and consultant. Using that experience, she began offering her editing services freelance to a number of small clients locally while also undergoing an internship at Front Street Books (an extension of Boyds Mill Press). A year later, she began working closely with Editorial Department founder Renni Browne as an editorial assistant and manuscript consultant. Over the years, she and Renni have edited a great deal of debut fiction together, some of which has hit bestseller lists including the New York Times. She is now a full editor on her own but also teams with Renni on select fiction projects.
Shannon has a great love for fantasy and science fiction, including authors such as Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robert Heinlen, and Ray Bradbury. She also has a particular interest in academic nonfiction, notably philosophy and sociology. Media law, while not a specialty, is certainly a hobby. She lives in Asheville, N.C.
Specializes in YA, speculative, and contemporary adult fiction
Doug Wagner is a longtime journalist who spent nearly twenty-five years polishing the work of others as a copy editor and serving as a movie critic and feature writer. Since the Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009, he's ghostwritten two nonfiction books and co-written one, and he's currently working on his first as solo author. Oh, and he's finally "finished" his first novel.
Doug's writing and editing work has spanned subject matter as diverse as wildlife biology, business, weight loss, mountaineering and the grieving process. He's also put the flesh on bare-bones fiction concepts, turned rough drafts into final drafts, and developed book proposals for the likes of a Mafia boss's daughter and the only person to have skied down the "seven summits." Specialties include science writing, narrative nonfiction, dialogue and promotional pitches, and areas of particular interest include music and film, food and wine - the good things in life.
In recent years, Doug--who's rarely happy if he isn't learning something new--has made a concerted effort to read almost exclusively the works of authors he'd never read before. But through the haze of all that new information, he can recall having been a big fan of the best efforts of Saul Bellow, John Updike, Somerset Maugham, D.H. Lawrence, Truman Capote, William Kennedy and Tennessee Williams. And any list of favorites would also have to include "The Brothers Karamazov," "Catch-22," "The Great Gatsby" and P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" series.
Specializes in line editing, copy editing, and nonfiction book collaboration
Editor and Traditional Publishing Consultant
Gordon Warnock joined The Editorial Department in 2012 as an editor and manuscript consultant specializing in most categories of nonfiction and in literary and adult contemporary fiction. He's also an agent, writing coach, book marketing consultant, and founding partner of a tech-savvy literary agency.
His work representing authors allows him to stay at the cutting edge of the changing publishing industry, and he frequently travels to meet with writers and publishers across the country. He's a sought after teacher and speaker at events like the San Francisco Writers' Conference, the AWP national conference and book fair, and the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program.
Gordon's list is fairly eclectic, featuring mostly adult nonfiction but also literary fiction and contemporary realistic YA. The books he has represented have been endorsed by Desmond Tutu, Deepak Chopra, Bernie Siegel, Jennie Shortridge, and many other celebrated authors.
Specializes in narrative nonfiction and short fiction
Betsy Tice White
Betsy Tice White has worked in some area of publications all her adult life. She moved on from her start at McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology to freelance editing (U. of VA, U. of Miami, U. of NC, John F. Blair among others) when her children were young, then became the first medical editor at East Carolina University School of Medicine where she coordinated with U.K. editors on a multi-volume atlas of surgery. A later stint editing a college alumnae magazine was followed by a move to Recovery Communications, Inc., specializing in books on addiction and recovery.
Her published work includes a book collaboration of Blue Ridge mountain tales, Le's Whittle Awhile; two books on teen addiction and family recovery: Smoke Screen and Turning Your Teen Around; and, purely for fun, Mountain Folks, Mountain Foods. Betsy's latest work is an early 20th-century novel, A Patriotic Man, inspired by discovery of a cache of letters her young officer father wrote home from France in the Great War.
Invited by long-time friend Renni Browne to join The Editorial Department, Betsy edits both fiction and nonfiction, with special expertise in the areas of medicine and addiction/recovery. For nonfiction, memoirs, biography, and autobiography are favorite genres, while in the fiction field she particularly enjoys work on mysteries, police procedurals, suspense, and thrillers, and has completed ghost-writing assignments as well.
A Tennessee native, Betsy says she was "vaccinated" with printer's ink early through her father's position at Kingsport Press, then the world's largest manufacturer of books. An ardent Anglophile, for recreational reading she seeks out books by U.K. authors, along with favorite Southern writers James Lee Burke, Lee Smith, Silas House, and Dorothea Brandon Frank. She and her physician husband live in a suburb of Atlanta and enjoy the nearby mountains when they can get away.
Specializes in editing, manuscript critique, and book collaboration
Robert Blake Whitehill
Writer, Screenplay Adaptation Consultant
Maryland Eastern Shore native Robert Blake Whitehill is an award-winning author of the Chesapeake-based Ben Blackshaw Series, with a Book of the Month win from Conversations Book Club for the series opener, Deadrise.
A highly-rated TV writer for Discovery true crime programs, Robert also has screenwriting wins at the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Hudson Valley Film Festival, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Deadrise, Nitro Express, and Tap Rack Bang are all in development as feature films with HatLine Productions, with Robert adapting the screenplays. Deadrise and Nitro Express are International Top Ten Kindle Bestsellers.
Robert joined The Editorial Department in early 2017 to evaluate screenplay potential for our clients and provide editorial guidance and ghostwriting/collaboration support to authors whose novels or narrative nonfiction works have legitimate potential in film and television.
Specializes in screenplay adaptation, ghostwriting, and collaboration