Playing with my all-female alternative pop band Life After Tarzan at Café Wha? in NYC in my junior editorial assistant days

I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and majored in Classics (Latin) and minored in English Grammar and Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Raised by an anthropologist (who was an atheist and a Unitarian) and a mom whose brilliant advice could have filled a book, I began writing when I was seven and received a small journal for my birthday. I was determined to write a book someday.

In my twenties, I moved to New York City, attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute to learn about book and magazine publishing, and worked in the editorial departments at Basic Books, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, and HarperCollins Publishers, Adult Trade Division. As an assistant editor, I coaxed my bosses into letting me attend weekly editorial meetings so I could learn more about editing and publishing. On my own, I organized weekly meetings at a New York City pub to exchange shop talk with young editors at other houses, and I made sure to read every editorial letter written by my mentors that I could get my hands on (with their permission, of course).

With Jane Fonda, my coauthor Bev West, and Lily Tomlin at a Cinematherapy event in NYC.

With Jane Fonda, my coauthor Bev West, and Lily Tomlin at a Cinematherapy event in NYC.

Later, I became an in-house acquisitions editor at HarperCollins Publishers, Adult Trade Division. In that job, I acquired books in the areas of pop culture and psychology, and enjoyed being the in-house liaison and editor for best-selling authors such as John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus).

I was also doing freelance copyediting and proofreading as well as evaluating books for Quality Paperback Book Club and The Literary Guild, and co-writing humor books.

A casualaboutnancyhumord remark by a colleague in an editorial meeting inspired me to come up with Meditations for Men Who Do Next to Nothing (And Would Like to Do Even Less) by “Lee Ward Shore.” (I wrote it with my cousin and publishing colleague, Beverly West). Although the first round of nine submissions yielded no nibbles, in the next round of six, the book was bought by Warner Books and went on to four printings, an Italian sale, and a grand total of 60,000 copies sold. Bev and I went on to write How to Satisfy a Woman Every Time on $5 a Day and Frankly Scarlett, I DO Give a Damn!: Classic Romances Retold (which earned a positive review in the New York Times Book Review) before envisioning our next and most successful book, Cinematherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Movies for Every Mood.

 became a “cultural phenomenon” according to USA Today. The six-book Cinematherapy series sold over 340,000 copies in all editions worldwide and became a prime time show on Women’s Entertainment that ran for ten years. The bestselling Cinematherapy series is even a part of Wikipedia now.aboutnancycinematheray

My coauthor Bev West and I were invited to write two prime time TV specials, one for Valentine’s Day and one focused on Hitchcock’s movies. The Cinematherapy specials aired on WE to millions of viewers. Cinematherapy taught me that a great brand can carry you a long way.

In the meantime, I was growing my business as a developmental editor and ghostwriter. Because I’d been an acquisitions editor, had trained extensively as a line editor, and had written best-selling books myself, I was able to help clients seeking editorial, marketing, branding, and platform building advice.

aoutrasingIn the early 2000s, my toddler son was diagnosed with sensory integration dysfunction, or sensory processing disorder, and multiple developmental delays, which inspired me to create the award-winning Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, written with my son’s occupational therapist, Lindsey Biel, OTR/L. The definitive handbook for parents of kids with sensory issues, Raising a Sensory Smart Child won two awards, garnered multiple rave endorsements and reviews, and went into ten printings before Penguin Books reissued it in an expanded edition. I now have a site and blog dedicated to being a Sensory Smart Parent.

Developmental EditorMost of my work now is ghostwriting, developmental editing, and consulting on book projects. Using my unusual custom keyboard helps me to transcribe conversations with clients, preserving their voice and helping it to “stick” in my brain as I go to create drafts as a ghostwriter.

Books are my passion, and mind/body/spirit nonfiction (self-help and inspirational memoir) is my genre. Knowing that my talents contribute to helping others lead happier, more satisfying lives is deeply fulfilling–and that’s true whether I am doing developmental editing, ghostwriting, or my own writing.

Nancy and Christiane Northrup

At the I Can Do It! conference in New York City with client Dr. Christiane Northrup (we worked together on her bestseller Goddesses Never Age)

I love living in the midwest with my son and husband, where I have access to nature, a quiet and sunny office, and a strong community of friends and neighbors. I have worked over the phone and Internet with authors located in Canada, Chile, Sweden, California, New York, and Florida, as well as authors in other locations.