An Interview with Tera Cuskaden

Welcome to The Five Question Interview Series here on! Its mission: to give back to the writing community one interview at a time. This week we meet editor Tera Cuskaden.

Tera Cuskaden is a RITA-nominated freelance editor who started working in publishing in 2004 as a reviewer and proofreader. Tera spent nine years with Samhain Publishing as a Senior Editor and Art Department Coordinator, where she edited many New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and was the first editor to hit the New York Times bestseller list with a digital-only title. She moved to Entangled Publishing as an Editorial Director for two years, where she continued her work with bestselling authors and finding fresh new voices to bring to the romance genre. In her spare time, Tera attempts to wrangle her herd of cats and enjoys knitting, tattoos, and shoes and trying to convince her husband she needs more of all of the above. Tera holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from Indiana University.

And Now The Interview

This year you are participating in #RevPit. What part of the contest are you the most excited about? Receiving all the queries? Meeting your mentee? The editing itself? All of the above?

I’m excited about the whole process. Since I’m not with a publishing house anymore, going through submissions isn’t a part of my daily/weekly process and I find I’ve missed it. There’s something so exciting about opening up a submission and falling in love with the words of a new-to-me author and being able to bring those words to the world. As I write this, I have about 40 more submissions to read, and I’ll be spending my Tuesday narrowing down my requests. I’m excited!

You have a penchant for working on romance novels.
What would draw you to work on a completely different genre?

While most of my work is in romance, I have experience and love working on many genres. I love horror, thrillers, suspense, women’s fiction, cozy mysteries… I’m drawn to a lot of things, and my personal reading is eclectic.

Now for something fun. If you had to give up snacks, drinks or listening to music during editing sessions, which would you find the most difficult to say goodbye to?

Drinks. I never listen to music or watch TV while I edit. I need silence! When I edit out in the world, I’ll put on very specific music to combat the noises of the outside world (Russian death metal), but I can’t be able to make out a single word in the music. But I always have to have coffee. Coffee fuels my editing!

Where do you edit? Are you a creature of habit
who stays in one spot or do you like to switch things up?

I typically edit on the couch in the living room or in my office. Every once in a while, I’ll feel antsy about being in the house too much and will go out to a coffee shop. If we had a coffee shop here that I was in love with, I might go out more, but for now, it’s just cheaper and easier to stay at home.

What are the books you can read again and again?

Little Women and the Harry Potter series. Those are my escape books.

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