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Jul 17, 2019

Prominent book editor-turned-author, Peter Guzzardi, spent some time with me this week to discuss how he pulled back the curtain on the writer's life, finding courage in front of the blank screen, and important lessons from the Yellow Brick Road for creatives.

"One thing I love about this work is the variety. I’ve edited novels by authors as different as Ruth Rendell and Martin Amis, memoirs by Tony Curtis...and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar..." – Peter Guzzardi

Peter has been a professional book editor for nearly 40 years. After getting his start in marketing, writing catalog copy in New York City, he moved to the editorial side where he eventually took the reins at Harmony Books, an imprint of Random House, Inc.

Mr. Guzzardi has worked with some incredibly talented authors over the years, including Stephen Hawking on A Brief History of Time, Deepak Chopra on dozens of books, Douglas Adams on his Hitchhiker novels, Carol Burnett, Martin Amis, Arianna Huffington, and even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Like so many aspiring writers who "swear they're going to finally write that book," Peter decided to throw his hat in the ring and write about the wisdom he'd accumulated on his own journey.

The result of that hard work is his recently published Emeralds of Oz: Life Lessons From Over the Rainbow, an apropos title for 2019, the 80th anniversary of the film classic, The Wizard of Oz.

Emeralds of Oz is a book in the "...tradition of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten ... life lessons drawn from the most beloved movie of all time," and Carol Burnett said, "I loved this book as much as I loved the movie."

This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.

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In Part One of this file Peter Guzzardi and I discussed:

  • How he came to rub elbows with so many celebrity authors
  • The unique skillsets of great editors and their importance to the publishing industry
  • Why the challenges the author faced birthing his own book were so different than he could have imagined
  • How he found courage in front of the blank page
  • The importance of crappy first drafts and turning off your inner critic

Show Notes: