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Jenny Quinlan Speaks to So Cal Chapter of the Historical Novel Society May 2019

Jenny Quinlan, Noted Historical Fiction Editor & Cover Artist
May 19, 2019. Remote from Fredericksburg, Virginia . . .

Once a fan of historical romance, Jenny Quinlan was drawn to historical fiction early on by the likes of Where the Red Fern Grows, The Other Boleyn Girl, and other gateway stories. She is among the first editors/cover artists to specialize in our genre.

Her company, Historical Editorial, offers developmental, line and copy editing. She works with four associates, which helps her accommodate authors with various lead times. Jenny does a sample edit before quoting a flat fee. Eighty percent of her clients are indy authors.

In a developmental edit Jenny looks for plot holes, inconsistencies, contradictions, anachronisms. She scrutinizes characterizations, and point-of-view among other elements. In the first read-through, she annotates strengths and weaknesses, and recommends changes. A second read-through examines the rewrite, and may roll into a copy edit at a reduced fee. Jenny is a University of California at San Diego Certified Editor, adhering to the Chicago Manual of Style.

Jenny Q follows reviewers and watches people who influence what’s being published. From that vantage point, she observes the following trends in historical fiction: the popularity of dual time lines, first person pov, and the present tense. And according to Jenny Q, WWII will be the new Tudor novel, especially stories with fresh angles (your lips to God’s ear, Jenny!)

At Historical Fiction Book Covers Jenny makes indy authors virtually indistinguishable from covers produced by the big houses. She is constantly looking for historical models, and exhaustively scouring stock photos and the public domain for the perfect image. She doesn’t want to come across some photo later that would’ve been perfect now. “Who is the target? Look at best-selling covers also targeting that reader.”

For further info or to inquire about working with her, Jenny invites us to send her an email:

Also referenced: Mary Tod, historical fiction surveys, A Writer of

Jenny Q advice: keep the reader experience in mind.


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