I believe great editors are made from half training and half life experience. Anyone can learn the rules of editing, but it's those life experiences that build general knowledge and help to catch factual errors that might otherwise slip through, and I pride myself on my mixed bag of life experience.
I was born and raised in South Africa. As an only child with few friends, I started writing to pen pals from all over the world and joined the global community long before the Internet came along. When I finished school I went on to study horticulture, as this seemed the natural choice given my love of gardening from an early age. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the fact I was writing articles for the African violet club I belonged to at age 12, rather than the plants per se. Once working in the field, I realised my physique didn't quite suit an outdoor job and I went on to do a secretarial course to fill the gap while I figured out what to do.
The gap lasted much longer than I wanted but during that time I got to travel and visited the Amazon rain forests in Brazil, became acquainted with my Belgian and English roots touring through Europe and the UK, and developed a love of butter tarts and great prairies visiting Canada.
In 2001 my next journey via Singapore had a permanent destination when I immigrated to New Zealand. I spent several years in Christchurch working as a legal secretary and then medical typist while studying writing and editing part time, and started doing some freelance editing work on the side under the name of WordsWorth Publishing Services.
A few years later I moved to Wellington to do the Whitireia publishing course and ended up staying. This launched my career in publishing and I started at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and worked on print and online publications for the immigration and labour services. I then moved onto website content editing and administration at Radio New Zealand.