For our very first Chronicle about fascinating Wellingtonians, India Lopez, young freelance editor, tells us about her work, her love for books and how proud of her town she is.
Freelance book editor, India Lopez lived in the New Zealand capital for onze years, “apart from a two-and-a-half-year stint in Auckland, which made me love Wellington even more“, as she explains. This proud Wellingtonian managed to rack up ten different flats in eight different suburbs and she’s currently living in Wadestown, northern suburb of Wellington, with her boyfriend, Tim, journalist and singer in the band Tigers of the Sea.
When she finished her English degree in 2007, India started working as an editor and was hired by the legal publishing company LexisNexis. Then, her career evolved and she tells us how she becomes a successful freelance editor.
“After a couple of years there, I went back to uni and got a graduate diploma in journalism, which led to jobs at Stuff.co.nz, New Idea and Girlfriend. I loved writing, but I kept being drawn back to editing. In 2014, while still working in magazines, I started (somewhat surreptitiously) picking up book-editing jobs on the side. In February 2015, I finally made the move to full-time freelance.
I started Coles & Lopez with Daisy Coles, an old friend from Hawke’s Bay who’s also the best editor I know. We’re both technically freelance, but we have a loose partnership – a “professional print-editors’ collective”, we call it. It’s convenient for clients, who often want to hire two editors at once – one to edit and one to proofread – but it’s even better for us. It means we have a built-in support system in what’s usually a very solitary profession.”
Being freelance at Coles & Lopez gives her the opportunity to edit novels, legal textbooks, cookbooks, children’s books, coffee-table books and everything in between. “It’s been the most professionally rewarding year of my life. Also, my commute from bed to “the office” is about seven metres, and my work wardrobe is an ever-larger collection of sweatpants.”
Her flexible hours enable India to hang with the town like no one else. “I love taking long walks around the bays or up to the Town Belt, always with a podcast for company (my favourite language/literature ones are The Guardian Books, BBC Saturday Review, The Allusionist, Lexicon Valley and The New York Times Book Review). Walking from one end of the city to the other is like walking back through my own life. The café I liked at age 18 is across the road from the bar I loved at 22, which is next to the bookstore I discovered at age 26, which is around the corner from the restaurant I went to last week, and so on and so on. I love how smooshed-together the city is.”
We are absolutely not surprised when this lovely bookworm declares that the library is her favourite spot in the capital – “the actual one, not The Library bar, although that’s high up on the list too” – or the bookshop Unity Books. But her Aladdin’s cave for book-buying is “to check out the op shops. You can almost always find something great for less than the price of a cup of a coffee!“.
But picking only one favorite book it’s clearly impossible for India. Amongst a long list, we could find A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Purity by Jonathan Franzen, The First Bad Man by Miranda July, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson and Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon. And she « just finished reading Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo, and I hated it, so I’m hoping the next one on the nightstand – Dirt Music by Tim Winton – will restore my faith. ». And we hope too!
Because afraid to be accused of favouritism, India didn’t mention in her top list the very talented Wellington authors she loves including the poet Chris Tse, the novelist Brannavan Gnanalingam and especially Rudy Castañeda Lopez, her father, who published his second novel, Open your eyes, Jackson Ryder, who will have our very attention soon in Les Papillons Derrière La Lune.
Her favorite spot: The Wellington City Libraries
Her favorite activity: Walks around the bays and the Town Belt with a podcast
Her work suit: Sweatpants
Her link: colesandlopez.com