Several postings ago, I had the pleasure of introducing Dr. Suzanne Langford as a Savant editor. Since then she's not only been busy editing, but has served successfully as an interim Editor-in-Chief. Now, I'm pleased to announce her appointment to the position of Editor-in-Chief. No "interim" anymore.

The Editor-in-Chief (EIC) job at Savant Books and Publications is a complex and demanding one. Not only does it require knowledge and experience with editing, but it also involves selection of works, training of editors, and oversight of contracted works as they march through editing, polishing and proofing -- in a general sense, maintenance of Savant literary standards. In a real sense, the Editor-in-Chief is the rudder of the Savant literary ship. All manuscripts must have the EIC's recommendation in order to make their way to our selection committee.

While that addresses the technical responsibilities of the EIC, another important aspect of the EIC's job is to work closely with staff, often on a one-to-one basis, to ensure that our books reflect the highest possible quality read. I like to call these "clean reads," meaning that readers can experience them akin to floating through an  eye-poppingly gorgeous river valley without interruption. Yesterday, I asked Suzanne to add to this introduction by telling something about herself that might give authors, staff and readers a glimpse into not only the position but the person. Here's what Suzanne wrote:

"Did you ever find yourself wishing (maybe with a just a little sigh) “if only I had the perfect job?” Apparently wishes aren’t granted only in fairy tales.
"I don’t remember learning to read, but I remember the subsequent hours I spent, lost in a story, reading, seeing the world through exciting new eyes. As far back as I can remember, I visited the Arroyo Seco Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library regularly every two weeks all the way through high school, bringing home in my arms up to ten books (the “limit”), at least half of which were written by a rapidly increasing circle of authors. Over time, I would systematically check out and read every single book a favorite author had written. Sometimes I’d even go back weeks or months later and check out a favorite book to read again. The best books have that unique quality: I could return to them again and again, and each time take more from them. I could re-read parts to myself or a friend. I quickly learned to search the shelves (browsing happily up one aisle and down the other) for new stories, gratefully befriending every newfound author, especially when I reluctantly came to the end -- reading extra slowly to make it last -- of the most recent book I'd checked out.

"I love books because, the written word holds enduring stories and they hold me, slowly weaving themselves into my life, changing how I see the world and ultimately who I am. But even more interesting, I knew the words that changed my life would magically remain in the book and transform other readers' lives as well. And there was even more magic: By simply reading a book, I felt I'd imparted something of myself to it and to all future readers. At least, that's how it seemed. Now, as Editor-in-Chief, I sense this feeling becoming a reality in every sense of the word.

"T. S. Eliot, in his poem Burnt Norton, talks about the importance of the written word:

After the kingfisher's wing
Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still
At the still point of the turning world.
Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness . . .

"For me, Eliot is saying that without written-down-words (“the form, the pattern”), we have only our ephemeral, live thoughts, ideas and emotions (spoken or unspoken). Without books, these messages quickly change, dissipate and die. If there is a physical form of immortality in this existence, it is books.

"I am humbled and delighted to be the Editor-in-Chief at Savant Books and Publications. As EIC, I can fulfill a dream of mine to work alongside those truly gifted individuals who create the stories, and assist them in bringing their works into the form of published, enduring literary books that will shape and enrich generations of lives yet to come. The book publishing team at Savant -- authors, poets, editors, cover artists, proofreaders, Director of Publicity and Marketing -- are all avid readers like me who have an abiding devotion and respect for the printed word and the value of outstanding word craft. Together, we are involved day-to-day in bringing the enduring word to an ever-widening, global community of book (and now eBook and aBook) readers. It is my ultimate goal for Savant readers to lose -- and find -- themselves in our publications."

Please join me in welcoming the newest addition to our staff, Dr. Suzanne Langford, Editor-in-Chief.

Daniel S. Janik