by Ali McCart Shaw, executive editorJenn Zaczek

It’s thrilling and there’s no mystery about it—Indigo is growing! We welcome Jennifer Zaczek to the Indigo team. She hails from Florida but has come to call Portland home. After seven years in the traditional publishing world, she chose to strike out as a freelancer, and she’s been editing for independent authors and publishing clients since 2013. While she brings a wide variety of experience to Indigo, she specializes in cozy mysteries and thrillers.

After interviewing Jenn for the job, I decided to interview her again to help introduce her to our community. I learned some fun new details!

AMS: What made you decide to go into the editing field?

JZ: I discovered my love for editing in seventh-grade English class. I enjoyed learning about the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. My English teacher made grammar, usage, and mechanics fun. How many seventh graders can say they enjoyed diagramming sentences for homework? Ever since then, I always knew I wanted to be an editor. In college, when most of my friends had no idea what they wanted to major in, I quickly declared my major in creative writing and minor in magazine journalism. I also made sure every job and internship throughout college was related to writing, editing, and publishing so that I’d have as much experience as possible upon graduation. Doing so reinforced my desire to work in the editing field and helped me land a job with a publishing company right out of college.

AMS: In your experience, what are the biggest differences between editing in-house for publishers and freelancing?

JZ: Working in-house, I was often faced with a lot of projects that weren’t very interesting to me (think dry academic monographs with reference lists over sixty pages and lots and lots of endnotes). I also had an incredibly large workload, and soon I found myself having to spend most of my time in meetings and managing employees and less time editing. As a freelancer, I can work on projects that I’m truly passionate about, and I can keep my workload manageable.

AMS: At Indigo, your specialties are cozy mysteries and thrillers. What do you love about those genres?

JZ: Cozies are fun. There’s usually a cast of quirky characters and a quaint setting; they are great escape books. But what I really love about them is what some new writers are starting to do with the genre to make it more modern. I love the suspense of thrillers, and I’m always amazed at the great imagination and creativity of the genre’s writers.

AMS: Are you also a writer? If so, what do you write and where might people find your work?

JZ: I have a couple of projects in the works, a novel and a few short stories. I’ve written some quick-reference guides for one of my nonfiction publishing clients (a how-to guide for using iOS 8 and a term paper vocabulary dictionary). I enjoy writing, and it’s something I’m always trying to make more time for.

AMS: What’s your favorite Portland spot?

JZ: Tasty n Sons on North Williams, and then the Box Social afterward for a nightcap.

AMS: What else do you want to tell Indigo’s readers?

JZ: I am passionate about what I do and constantly inspired by the talented individuals I have the chance to work with. So much creativity is coming to the surface with the acceptance and accessibility of self-publishing. I’m thankful every day that I get to be a part of the rapidly changing world of publishing.

When Ali McCart Shaw isn’t editing or hanging out with other Indigoers, she spends her time at many of Portland’s plethora of literary events and soaking up the Northwest rain. She regularly loses her breath for sunsets, doughnuts, and the light in her dogs’ eyes. Her story “Going Home” features one of her dogs in the forthcoming Celebrating Animal Rescue anthology.