Jay has over 30 years of professional writing experience and over 16 years of college-level teaching experience, including curriculum development. She holds an MFA in Writing from VCFA, an MA in Technical Writing from Bowling Green State University, and a BA in Written Communications from Eastern Michigan University. She has extensive freelance experience editing middle-grade, young-adult, and adult novels, picture books (including rhyming and nonfiction), and short stories, as well as extensive freelance experience editing technical documents for a variety of corporate clients. Jay is the former Regional Advisor for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Switzerland chapter. She has experience presenting at conferences on the craft of writing and has been a submission judge for a number of high-profile writing contests and for literary journals.
Preferred age level & genre of expertise:
Picture books, middle-grade, and young adult fiction.
In picture books, Jay is comfortable with both fiction and non-fiction, and she can work with you on your rhyming manuscript as well.
Her preferred genres in novels are contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, magical realism, and more. While she reads and appreciates dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy, and graphic novels, she recommends others to edit them.
• Anything by Maurice Sendak
• Anything by Shel Silverstein
• Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
• Du Iz Tak? by Ellis Carson
• The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock
• Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
• The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
• Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
• The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
• Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
• The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
• American Street by Ibi Zoboi
• Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
• The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
• Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Favorite TV Shows:
Barry, The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Atlanta, Insecure, Game of Thrones, Poldark, The Crown, This Is Us, Law and Order: SVU
“My first choice was Jay Whistler. I knew she would appraise the [work] fairly, offer constructive evaluations and complete the job on time. Jay’s comments encouraged me to rewrite and improve the opening of my work-in-progress. For me, the most useful comment Jay made can be paraphrased as: If the protagonist can walk away from his/her problem, the reader can walk away from the book. I am grateful to Jay for reminding me of the importance in raising the stakes.” --Ann Finkelstein, Ph.D.
“Jay Whistler is one of the best-read people I know. And is my go-to person if I have a grammatical question. She reads voraciously and more importantly, remembers details I have long forgotten. She has a deep understanding of story structure and a sly sense of humor. Her critiques are guaranteed to bring up points I haven’t considered before and she has a sense of drama that aids in all story telling. She’s a pleasure to work with.” --Leslie Helakoski, SCBWI-MI Co-Regional Advisor
“I received a critique on my current WIP from Jay Whistler. As a member of the SCBWI, I am afforded many first-chapter critique opportunities at conferences. I’ve had six on this manuscript alone. I would put Jay at the top of my list for someone that I would reach out to in the future for editing. She is professional, concise, intelligent and not only talks a good game but can back it up. I recently had a large NY agency request my full manuscript and no doubt Jay’s tightening of my writing pushed me to the top. I can say with confidence that you will wonder how you ever got along without her.” --David Stricklen, Author, Blackwater Pond series
“Jay has a very sharp eye and awesomely keen wit. [She] is not shy and speaks her mind. Her vision for making my story better was inevitably on point, whether the issue was character development, voice, narrative arc or other critical story components. I can honestly say I wish we lived in the same city so we could form a critique group together. It would be amazing to have her eyes examining my work on a more regular basis. Writing is an insanely difficult endeavor in today’s marketplace where agents and editors are absolutely inundated with queries and manuscripts. Having Jay on your team would seriously boost anyone’s chances of being a published author. Call, don’t email. Get her while she’s still available.” --Adam Taylor