The Editors’ Choice Award celebrates newly released books that are superbly written, well edited, and published by a Christian publisher or author. Judges evaluate the entries based on organization, plot and character development (for fiction), flow, clarity, tight writing, accuracy, consistency, lack of typos, and proper use of industry-standard guidelines for punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. Because our judges are professional editors, the competition is fierce.

Today, we’re pleased to feature the second of four winners announced during the 2022 PENCON. Laura L. Zimmerman, who wrote Lament, book 2 in the Banshee Song Series.

How did you develop the idea for this book?

Lament is the second book in the Banshee Song Series, so I had the characters and universe established. However, the first book took place in high school in the Mortal Realm. I also knew I wanted this one to take place in the Unseelie Realm (Faerie Realm!) Creating an entirely new world and having the characters adjust to their new surroundings was intimidating. But I read a lot of stories from faerie lore and allowed my creativity freedom to develop what worked for the story line.

What did you enjoy the most about the writing process?

This was so much fun to write! I loved visiting the Unseelie Realm and brainstorming landscapes and creatures! I had the story that needed to be told, but I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and creating something that had never been done before.

What did you struggle with the most during the writing process?

I found it challenging to create tension and to find conflict within a whole new world that could be resolved by the end of the book without having too many loose ends to tie up. I especially didn’t want a conflict that could be fixed easily with magic, since that’s one of the main benefits of the Faerie Realms. I needed there to be boundaries with the magic so the main character, Caoine, still had a mountain to climb to resolve the problem.

What tips can you give authors about working with freelance editors?

Be open to change. Try not to be too married to your story or specific sentences. Allow your story to change for the better and listen to the expert who is seeing your story with a different filter. It’s best to ask for samples of edits from editors to be sure the editor is right for your story. And to share as much about your vision with him/her before you begin. If the editor shares your love of the story and has the same vision as the writer, the story will end up being the best it can be!

What does winning the Excellence in Editing Award mean to you?

This award speaks volumes when it comes to the production of a book. The author isn’t the only part of the story that makes it come to life. There are so many other people that are integral to making a book its absolute best! The editor, beta readers, proofreaders, cover designers, formatters, etc. Every person tasked with having hands on any book is just as important as the person who came up with the original words. I am so thankful for every person that worked on Lament and love it as much as I do!

Want to Learn More?

You can learn more about the Editors’ Choice Award in our recent blog post, Getting to Know the CEA’s Editors’ Choice Award. We’re currently accepting entries and recruiting judges for next year’s contest. You can learn more about submission guidelines and how to become a judge at Editors’ Choice Award | Christian Editors Association. Stay tuned to learn about our other winners in future posts.