Editor profile: Kate Lee

Introducing Kate Lee, Associate Editor

Kate Lee, award-winning author and Darling Axe associate editor

I am an award-winning writer, editor, and mentor living in England halfway between London and the south coast. I find inspiration walking in the dappled woodland that’s so much a feature of my local Sussex landscape.

I have published six picture books including the bestselling Santa’s Suit (Campbell Books). I’ve just finished writing a story for ages seven to nine years on the theme of kindness. I was lucky enough to receive input from some young beta readers who told me that the school playground scenes and friendship issues ring true (thankfully!).

My work-in-progress is a feminist smuggling adventure for older readers, set in the 12th century. I’m fascinated by this time period having studied medieval manuscripts for my creative writing PhD and written a "history with a twist" middle-grade novel inspired by the Domesday Book. You can read about this project here and here.

I have enjoyed recent success with my writing for adults: a poem entitled No Change, inspired by loss, won a prize at Shoreham Litfest 2020; my work-in-progress, Treasure, was shortlisted in the Wells Festival of Literature 2020; and my flash fiction How I Summoned a Monster was published in the Restore to Factory Settings anthology by Adhoc Fiction.

I love helping other writers as a developmental editor—work I’ve been doing on a freelance basis for around fifteen years. By reviewing a manuscript at an early draft stage, I can help the writer with fundamentals such as pace, narrative structure, and characters’ motivation, and in the case of picture books, a stronger understanding of visual storytelling. I enjoy reviewing picture books for IBBY UK as a volunteer.

I believe there’s great value in marking the steps we take as we develop a manuscript, whether that’s a 500-word picture book or a 100,000 word novel. It’s often about recognising and celebrating the work that goes into the project, from character sketches and setting to deciding on viewpoint, as well as actually writing prose.

Outside my professional life, I enjoy travelling with my husband (favourite place: Italy) and spending time with our two grown-up children and puppy Rupert. I have a passion for interiors and colour coding, although my filing is a work in progress…

Top tips for writing:

  • Read widely both inside and outside your genre and dip into inspiring books on fiction to find out more about the nuts and bolts of narrative
  • Be brave – if an idea’s not working, take a deep breath and say goodbye. Creative decluttering is hard, but rewarding!
  • Work with a kind, honest developmental editor who can help you develop your work to be the best it can be.

About the Darling Axe

We are professional editors as well as award-winning writers. We understand the intense effort and emotional investment you have poured into your work. It's our job to help you take your manuscript to the next level.

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