Each month, SD/PEN selects one of its members at random to profile his or her background and experience. This month we are featuring Preston Hathaway, a technical editor, storyteller, and poet.
How do you describe what you do to someone whom you’ve just met at a networking function?
I translate what engineers say about their work and products into language the target audience can understand. I bring understanding and clarity to complex, highly technical situations.
What made you decide to become a professional editor?
I found myself writing and editing a great deal during the first two or three jobs I had after I retired from the US Navy. I enjoyed it and made it a career.
Which quality or qualities would you most like your clients or professional colleagues to remember you for?
My ability to listen, joy in the work I perform, teaching, and enthusiasm for learning about new work-related topics.
Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.
American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C. White Jr. This biography reads like a thriller and reveals the life of an American leader. As a general, the secretary of war, and eventually president, Ulysses S. Grant ensured the Union won the Civil War and slavery was abolished. He worked long and hard to uphold the civil rights amendment and protect black soldiers, their families, and former slaves from being harassed and killed by former members of the Confederacy who did not want the civil rights amendment enforced. His life story is one of continual learning, adjusting to new circumstances, and overcoming major loss—several times over.
Where would you like to go on your next vacation and why?
Our next vacation is planned. We will visit Devils Tower in Wyoming and Mount Rushmore, and then get on historic Route 66 in Carthage, Missouri, and follow it back to California. My wife and I like road trips. Route 66 is a highway that contributed greatly to migration and communication, changing various parts of the United States. We look forward to getting off the interstates and seeing new parts of the country.
Our next vacation after that: Israel and Palestine. We want to join a pilgrimage that visits historic Christian sites and places them into historical, cultural, and geographical contexts. I am writing historical fiction that takes place during the time of Christ, so this pilgrimage would contribute to story backgrounds.