A minimalist map of BC shows that 62% of Editors BC members live in the Lower Mainland, 20% live in Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 11% live in the Okanagan and the Kootenays, 3% live in the Sunshine Coast, 2.5% live in Northern BC and Yukon, and .8% live in the West Coast of the U.S.

Getting to Know Our Members from All Around BC: Tara Sylvestre

Written by Taisha Garby; copy edited by Merel Elsinga

Editors BC is a big chapter: in fact, we currently have 257 members.

In this series, our volunteer writers interview some of these members to find out what editing life looks like in this spacious province.

Today, Taisha interviews Tara Sylvestre.

Tara has been editing professionally for four years and has been a member of Editors BC for six years. She lives in Revelstoke, BC, where she is well known for throwing an annual fancy-dress Christmas party in her 114-year-old heritage home. Tara says that with all the guests in evening gowns, high heels, suits, and tuxedos; music pouring out of the old windows; and huge snowflakes falling all around, it feels like being inside a snow globe. She will miss that party very much this year.

Hello, Tara! Tell us about editing work you do.

I work primarily for a foreign university, editing academic papers for its faculty members. The authors are non-native English writers, who often need to print their work in English language publications. I also edit for BC-based authors.

What led you to a career as an editor?

I studied English literature at the University of Victoria in my early 20s. Soon after graduating, I began cooking seasonally in backcountry lodges, but I always wanted to come back to working with words. After I had my second child, I took the Implicit Career Search to develop a lifelong career plan, which involved a lot of self-work and a series of visualizations. In one visualization I saw myself poring over manuscripts. At the time I took this as a sign and registered for the Editing Certificate program at SFU, which I completed mostly remotely. Looking back, I think I was probably just tired and in need of a break and some time with a novel. But I thoroughly enjoyed the editing courses, and by the time I finished the program, I was excited to start working as an editor.

What are the benefits of working as an editor outside the Lower Mainland, and do you face any challenges?

I value being able to work at home, make my own hours, be available for my children, and ski on powder days. I still work as a chef, so I also value the flexibility of my present editing job. However, when I see job listings for in-house editors (almost always in the Lower Mainland), I do wonder what it would be like to have the opportunity to work with a team.

I understand that you have written a cookbook; can you tell me a bit about that and how being an editor shaped your writing journey?

I wrote my cookbook well before I started editing professionally. If anything, editing made me more conscious of the mistakes I made in print! I wrote a lot when I was younger, and I hope to find more time for it in the future. For now, I get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of helping others improve their work.

Many thanks to Tara for doing this interview!

Taisha Garby is a freelance proofreader and copy editor. She has an undergraduate degree in Classical Studies from the University of Victoria, and an Editing Certificate and a Master of Publishing from SFU. Previously she worked at Greystone Books where she reviewed incoming submissions for quality and suitability.

Merel Elsinga is a copy editor and proofreader based in Sidney, BC. She has a background in Dutch law. Merel has also been a professional sailor, in which capacity she did not just sail oceans, but also provided international cuisine for guests on board. Look at EditorMerel for more details.

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