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Editor Biography - Kathy Kirkland


Kathy Kirkland - Editor
Name: Kathy Kirkland
1969-1972 Associate Editor, 21st Century Publishing,
New York City, New York
1972-1980 Executive Editor, Laufer Company,
Hollywood, California
1980-1996 Senior Vice-President of Development,
Quince Productions,
Hollywood, California
1996-2003 Executive Editor, Creative Age Publications,
Los Angeles, California
1990-Present Owner, Independent Contractor, Editor,
Los Angeles, California and Ephraim, Wisconsin
Editing Experience:   48 Years

“If your biscuits look pink, maybe you’re cruller blind.” That was my first attempt at writing for the public, and Soupy Sales—the Pieman himself—used it on TV as part of his Words of Wisdom, spurring me on to become a writer and editor.

At the time, I was 13 years old and co-president of the Soupy Sales Fan Club, along with my twin sister, Diane. We regularly churned out newsletters for club members, who numbered into the thousands with Soupy’s growing popularity. While running the club throughout our teen years, we not only fumpfed our way through writing and publishing, but we also became part of the world of show biz, meeting Soupy at Hollywood telethons, backstage at his TV show, and in dressing rooms at Broadway theatres (we moved from LA to New York at age 19). I learned how to interview celebrities, talk my way onto a studio lot without credentials, and how to hit deadlines (very important in freelance work!).

The move to New York meant getting a real job, and, while my sister ventured into Billboard and the music world, I was hired by magazine publisher 21st Century, as an associate editor on several magazines: Weight Watchers (no, the founder did not follow her own program), National Lampoon (yes, P. J. O’Rourke and the other Harvard-bred editors were crazy—but in a good way), and Cheetah, a psychedelic mag that featured Peter Max covers and nude centerfolds of Burt Reynolds and Mama Cass. My duties consisted of writing columns, proofreading, helping lay out the magazine, coordinating photo shoots, and, of course, premieres and parties. Four years later, a move back to Los Angeles found me, at age 23, in the plum position of executive editor of a national consumer magazine, Tiger Beat, with a circulation of nearly a million. It was the teenybopper era of the Osmonds, the DeFranco Family (whom we also managed…I was a roadie for a six-week bus tour), David and Shaun Cassidy, Bay City Rollers, Michael Jackson, and John Travolta, who used to eat tuna sandwiches in my office. Tiger Beat was a dream job: I was responsible for the concept for each issue, interviewing, traveling, writing, and editing. I learned about the process of editing, as well as the underbelly of the entertainment industry. When Laufer’s magazine group transplanted to New Jersey (no thank you), I was hired by actor/activist Edward Asner, who was in his final year on Lou Grant and just starting to stump for Screen Actors Guild president. That tumultuous 15-year adventure encompassed death threats and bomb threats, collaborating on production ideas with every celebrity in town (at least the Democrats), plus several credits on movies and TV series. My job description at Quince Productions included researching/writing treatment ideas to pitch to the network dunderheads (not that I’m bitter). In addition to writing all of Ed’s speeches—union barnburners, stump speeches for candidates, Jewish groups, charitable fund-raisers, Congressional testimony—I even wrote a speech for Bette Davis when I was vice-president of the Hollywood Women’s Press Club.

Ed finally took the veil, paring down political activities and folding his production company. I turned back to publishing to become executive editor of a national trade magazine, Nailpro…the nails on the ends of your fingers and toes, and really quite fascinating when you get into the debate between gels vs. acrylics. In 2001, after several years of coordinating an editorial staff, assigning and writing articles, editing, and general duties, I moved again: this time from Los Angeles to my childhood summer home in Door County, Wisconsin, joining relatives who had also been drawn back to this resort peninsula. I continued telecommuting for Nailpro and Nailpro Europe until I trained a new editor, then ventured into PR and marketing for local galleries, artists, and non-profits.

Recent freelance jobs have included first edits on several books (best sellers such as Terri: The Truth about Terry Schiavo and a biography about Cary Grant), editing Christian study guides for Youth With a Mission…and my favorite job, working for Editing their wide variety of articles, theses, and doctoral dissertations is like watching cable TV in my head. During the course of my career, I’ve gained knowledge on many topics, had some wild experiences (some regrettable but always lessons of some kind), and I look forward to editing and writing for many years to come.

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