Thursday, February 28, 2013

Alyssa the Woman Wonder

My editor for Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman was the incomparable Alyssa Mito Pusey at Charlesbridge.

Alyssa is like Batman (without the cave). Like Batman, she championed the underdog, which in this case was this project. Like Batman, she was not afraid, which in this case means she stood by the book—and me—even when concerns about fair use arose. Like Batman, she trusted her partner...Robin.

Alyssa (whom I did not know previously) acquired the manuscript in 2010. Funnily, in 2008, I had written an article about the research I did for the book (an article that morphed into the author’s note). At that time, I was not yet ready to reveal the actual name of Bill’s granddaughter Athena, so I referred to her by a pseudonym: “Alyssa.”

Given the countless alternatives (Amanda, Agatha, Alissa, etc.), that has to be taken as an omen, just as Bruce Wayne took that bat flying through his window as an omen.

One of the most impressive examples of Alyssa’s editorial prowess: in this image, she caught the fact that there was one missing line in the Chinese character for virtue

That’s some well-calibrated sonar.

In 2/13, Alyssa emailed me two photos documenting her work on the book. 

The “before” photo shows all the emails, layouts, legal correspondence, etc., collected during her three years of work on the book.

The “after” photo shows the final archive, after she removed all duplicates, “unnecessary” items, etc.

It took her a full work day to put together that archive. “Now,” she concluded, “it will live down in the Charlesbridge basement forever.”

Maybe she does have a cave after all.

Happy birthday, Alyssa.

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