Mind’s Eye Editor Robert Helle

BobHelle.2015

Q: Do you edit particular genres? 

A: I never want to feel pigeonholed or locked into a specific genre. I feel like I can edit in any domain, though my personal interests are geared more toward mystery and suspense. I’ve edited everything from medical transcripts to standardized educational testing manuals, so I’m comfortable in all realms.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an editor?

A: I can’t say I always wanted to be an editor. I always felt like I could excel as an editor, though, and it was a natural progression from newspaper reporter to newspaper editor to book editor. As a youngster, I wanted to be a professional baseball player.  Hell, I still do  (chuckles)!  But I was limited, physically, and I was told, at the age of 9, to “hit the books.” That advice came from my first orthopaedic surgeon and it proved to be an astute comment that I’ve never forgotten.  He was right. I had a congenital hip problem at that tender age and it has resulted in five hip surgeries. I spent the summer of my ninth year in a body cast. And I started reading. It was the proverbial silver lining. I became a prolific reader as a child and I more or less committed myself to reading, writing, and now – editing.

Q: Tell me 3 things about yourself that your followers might not know.

A: Well, that’s a fun topic, Helle. Do I have to limit myself to just 3 (laughing)? And to think I came into this interview thinking that I don’t like talking about myself. Ha! OK, I’ll go with these fun facts:

– I lived on Maui when I was a teenager.  In fact, I started high school there. I became enamoured of the tropical, laid-back lifestyle. But my pleasure was short-lived, as my mother insisted that we return to the heart of the US mainland in the dead of winter.  It was a long time before I forgave her.  My dad hated to leave Maui, too, but you know the old saying: happy wife, happy life.

–  As an eighth-grader, I introduced  former US president  Gerald Ford before he addressed a corporate group in Illinois.  The backstory was that I had won an essay contest the corporation sponsored. Part of my reward was to introduce Ford, who was a Michigan congressman at the time. He actually followed me on the dais.  I read my essay to the conventioneers.  He was extremely congenial and encouraged me to pursue a writing career.

– I once received death threats. You don’t know how mortifying that is until you’re on the receiving end. I was an investigative reporter at a daily newspaper in Illinois and part of that beat was covering criminal trials. The defendant in one trial, who was accused of marital rape, was not particularly fond of my trial stories and he spent a considerable amount of time glaring at me throughout the proceedings. Unfortunately, he was acquitted. I say unfortunately because he was guilty as sin but the jury didn’t buy the concept of marital rape.  Anyway, shortly after the trial ended, I started getting death threats in the mail. The newspaper went to great lengths to protect me, and nothing ever came of it – obviously, since I’m still here. Hahahaha. But it was a terrifying period in my life.

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