So as many of you know, the book One Block North is in the editing stages. I’ve been working with a crack editor for a couple of months now, and today I want to introduce her to you.

Her name is Marie-Lynn Hammond. Marie-Lynn is a Canadian folk singer-songwriter, a broadcaster and a playwright, as well as an editor. I have heard a few of her songs, and they’re lovely! Her talent as an editor should not be underrated though, given how busy she is. One of the novels she recently copy-edited won the 2011 Giller Prize.

Sound intimidating? Well, she’s not. The first couple of times we talked, she gave perceptive but gentle advice on how I should proceed, while peppering her comments with lots of encouragement and enthusiasm for the project. Marie-Lynn is not currently a cyclist–a non-bike-related accident six years ago left her with permanent balance problems–but for decades she cycled regularly in downtown Toronto.

With me being in Tehuacan, Marie-Lynn and I have a hot date on Skype once or twice a week. She is smitten with many of these stories, and her recommendations always make the tales so much more appealing to readers. She is extremely adroit at finding the drama in each story and encouraging me to bring it out to its best advantage. Often, I sit back in amazement at how much vibrancy the stories contain, and how beautifully she has drawn that out. I feel very lucky to have met Marie-Lynn.

So, where are we in the process? Well, there are 20 or so chapters at final draft stage (punctuation corrections, that sort of thing), another 50 or so in second draft stage (these usually require 10 – 30 minutes of discussion, and maybe an hour or so of edit corrections to be considered third draft), and another 50 or so in first draft stage (these need another 30 – 90 minutes of shaping to get them to second draft stage, where I can hand them to Marie-Lynn for her opinion.) In Marie-Lynn’s own words, the editing stage “is more than halfway there!”

For more information on my new favourite person, visit