We had the good fortune of connecting with Thelma T. Reyna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thelma T., is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
For an indie, or micro-indie literary book press like mine–the intense attention to detail and multiple skills that are required to produce a high-quality book. Most authors of necessity focus on the CONTENT of the book (correctness, flow, beauty. e.g.) and are possibly unaware of the many other duties intertwined with bringing their work to the light of day. Lacking a staff of experts in the different areas crucial to book production (interior book designers, editors, galley proofreaders, cover designers, graphic artists, marketing, orders fulfillment, e.g.), indie publishers either do it all or almost all themselves, use volunteers or family members, possibly use college interns, and/or farm out specific aspects to hired assistants as needed. The ultimate decisions on every detail of the final book, however, rests with the owner/publisher of a press; and it is he or she who thus directly determines the quality of each published book. A micro-indie publisher therefore needs to be knowledgeable in all these aspects of book production.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Our interactions with, and authentic valuing of, the people in our life paths is the most important aspect of who we are and how we’ll be remembered. In my personal life: Nobody is a lesser being than I am. Each of my clients (I am also founder and owner of the editing consultancy, The Writing Pros) has a dream of betterment that I value as if it were my own. I do not denigrate anybody’s dream if it is not harmful to our society but treat my clients with dignity, respect, and nurturance of their vision. I try to always be in the moment with my author colleagues, editing clients, and all others with whom I interact. I look for the good in their work, try to highlight the best in their work, and strive to produce their valued product (an edited document or a completed book) with the highest attention I can give to its quality and beauty. This attempt to identify most admirable qualities extends as well to the individual’s self. By nature I tend toward being analytical and critical constructively, but life has taught me that focusing on the human essence of each person is the better path.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Variety is still the spice of life, but what we plan for others needs to be aligned with what they might have chosen themselves. Where we take them is intended to give them joy, and if it gives us joy, too, so much the better. Knowing our visitors well will guide us in choosing places to gratify their souls. If the visitors are largely unfamiliar to us, it’s good to ask them about what types of places they enjoy visiting. It’s not just a matter of showing them the hyped spots/landmarks. They might have zero interest in these.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost: my mother, who was born and raised in poverty, dropped out of high school to marry, and brought 9 children into the world. But she was super-smart and forged a successful career in governmental service. She was my indirect mentor. Her pride in my school achievements, my university degrees, career, book authorships was subtle but unflagging. It meant a lot to me, and she helped me reach my early dreams by freeing me of household chores and always giving me my private space and time to study despite the chaos that otherwise pervaded our household. I believe she was living her own academic dreams vicariously through me. Thus, though unspoken, we boosted one another.
Second: all the outstanding public school teachers I had in my home state of Texas, especially my high school English teachers, who instilled a love of literature, poetry, and creative writing in me.
Third: my late husband Victor, who was my most stalwart champion of my writing and publishing dreams. He was a loving fixture at my book reading events and public engagements. I miss him dearly.
Fourth but vital: my children and grandchildren, friends, relatives, and my network of fellow authors that reaches across the nation and has given me immense joy and fulfillment. My colleagues are great treasure.
Photos provided to Thelma by the authors themselves.