First of all, some of you may remember me as Abby Egerter and are probably wondering what prompted me to change my name. Suffice it to say that my life was completely overturned in 2015, and a close friend suggested that I mark the beginning of my new life with a new name. After giving it a little thought, I agreed, and Una Verdandi was officially born on September 23, 2016.*
But a lot of things have stayed the same, too. Toronto is still my home, and sometimes I still crave the quiet, open spaces of the rural Southern Ontario landscape I grew up in. I had plenty of time to read and miles of fields to explore, and the night sky was lousy with stars. As a result, my ambitions constantly alternated between becoming a scientist and becoming a writer.
I took the first steps towards becoming a scientist and kicked off my university career in the theoretical physics stream that McMaster University offered at the time. However, after three brutal semesters of science, I realized that I was much happier investigating concepts than integrating formulae. Two philosophy degrees later, I am now an editor.
(What was that thing someone said about life and making other plans…?)
What I Do
Most of the time, I edit books, theses, and websites in Canadian history, philosophy and the humanities in general, and financial documents, among other things. I also edit novels and short stories in speculative fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy.
Additionally, I have volunteered for Editors Canada (formerly known as the Editors’ Association of Canada, or EAC). At the association’s national level, I was the chair of the members services committee from summer 2015 until spring 2017, and I have previously done research, editing, and copywriting for the marketing and public relations committee. For the 2013-2014 year, I was the communications chair of the association’s Toronto branch and the assistant editor of the branch’s blog, BoldFace.
How I Got Here
I never expected to become an editor, but the choice was a natural one for me. During my undergraduate years at McMaster, I worked for Hamilton Heritage Arts, a small non-commercial outfit dedicated to publishing the letters, news clippings, and photographs that had been hoarded like precious treasure by members of the proud but unfortunate McQuesten family of Whitehern. I was a content editor, or what some might call a senior editor: my job was to select content for the site, transcribe documents, and contribute researched content about the McQuestens and the historical events of their time.
When I started my graduate work at the post-secondary institution formerly known as the University of Western Ontario, editing disappeared from my life while I considered a career in academia. However, I decided that the ivory tower was just not the right place for me. I spent time trying different things, including a one-year contract teaching English in South Korea, but I still hadn’t found my niche.
Shortly after I returned from Asia, I visited a friend in Kitchener. We spent an afternoon at The Word On The Street festival, where we passed by a table promoting EAC. My friend, a fiction writer and editor, stopped to talk to a colleague who was holding the fort. As I listened in on the conversation and read through some of the pamphlets on display, I realized that I had already done similar work and really loved it. Suddenly, the fog that had enveloped my life lifted a little, revealing the path before my feet.
To get started, I took courses and seminars, and joined EAC. With a little luck and a lot of work, I landed an in-house job in Toronto, where I worked for two years. I adored my coworkers and my boss was a dream, but I needed new challenges, so in November 2012, I started my own freelance editing business. I now work on a wide range of projects for many wonderful clients in addition to my own writing, and I can hardly imagine doing anything else.
- As of September 23, 2016, my name was legally changed from Abby Egerter to Una Verdandi in accordance with Ontario’s Change of Name Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.7.