A Good Home, Book Editor, Book lovers, Books, Canadians, CBC Television, Creative Writing, Life Challenges, Mentoring Writers, South Africa, South African Journalism Training, Tim KNight, Writers

A Terrific Writer-Editor

Tim Knight is a brilliant writer.  

Blog Photo - Tim Knight CU

He’s an Emmy-winning documentary-maker.

On location: “Inside Noah’s Ark”

And writing coach.

Luckily for me, he’s also an excellent editor.  

I know this because he taught me to write for television and edited many of my stories.

And because when I came up with the crazy idea of producing a book  — at the worst time in my life — Tim calmly agreed to be my editor.

It was not a job for the faint of heart.

I first met Tim just before my graduation from journalism school. Tim Knight, head of TV Journalism Training for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was already a legend. He interviewed me for the best job a TV Journalism graduate could land: an apprenticeship with the CBC’s prestigious trainee reporter program.

Blog Photo - Tim when I first met him

Each year, CBC TV picked the top 6 students from journalism schools across Canada. That year, I became one of the six. But my journalism professor wasn’t pleased. I was a Canadian citizen, but one who’d come to Canada from Jamaica. He argued that the job should go to a real Canadian. 

Tim overrode his objections and I got the job.

Tim’s been looking out for me ever since.  Not that I gave him much choice.

I sought Tim’s advice before every career move. Producer-director. Executive producer. And when Tim decided to leave the CBC to write his first book,  he recommended that I replace him as head of CBC TV’s journalism training.  His word carried so much weight that the job was offered and I took it.

Blog Photo - Tim's book

We worked together to train South African journalists at the end of apartheid.  For us Canadians, this was a remarkably moving experience.

Blog Photo - Tim and S. African journalists

Blog Photo - Tim and Madiba

Years later, I had a car accident.

In ‘Type A’ style, I thought I could return to work soon.

Not so.

Something happened to Tim when he realized the full extent of my physical, intellectual and emotional states post-accident. His cool manner slipped: he was worried about me.

Tim became one of the few people who knew just how bad things were. He’d watched me struggle — to write, speak, think.

He must have been surprised when, years later, I said I was producing a book and wanted him to edit it. Not that he showed it.

“Send me the manuscript,” he said.

I did.

“This book could be great,” he replied. “Not just good, but great.  It needs more work.”

More work! I was already exhausted.  How much more work?

Some chapters were excellent, Tim said. Some would need substantial work. But he would help me.

It was not easy for anyone to help me back then. Blog Photo - Tim, wearing hat Sometimes, Tim had to stop our conversations abruptly. I’d start stuttering badly again, lose track of what was being said to me, but refuse to admit I was in trouble.  

His voice would become very firm.  “Cynthia, we’ll talk again later.” Tim never babied me, which was important. No matter how unwell I was, I always sensed when people were trying to baby me, and I didn’t like it.

Mostly, Tim said, I needed to make the music consistent throughout the book.

The music?

The music.  The storytelling.  The rhythm, the pace, the cadence of the writing. And so we went to work, to create the music in every chapter. agoodhome_cynthiareyes


Every good writer needs a good editor. Considering the shape I was in, I especially needed a good editor.

Tim not only edited my first book, he also edited my second.

What a blessing to work with such an excellent editor, trainer and communicator.

Thank you, Tim.

34 thoughts on “A Terrific Writer-Editor”

  1. Looking good kid.

    Think lion pic though needs a couple of words to say it’s not dead.

    Like “With tranquilized Kalahari black maned lion in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa.”

    Otherwise, a bloody masterpiece.


    1. C’mon now: everybody knows that male lions eat, have sex, and fall asleep.
      Or maybe that’s just male humans….
      Thank you for the information.

      And I’m shocked by your reaction to the piece. I expected you to say: “Needs more work.”

  2. I think he is probably smiling at your thoughts of him…
    He sounds like not only a really good person but a Blessing
    then he probably thinks the same of you 🙂
    Take Care…You Matter…

  3. You are overly generous.
    Of course, the article needs more work.
    Like mentioning my manifold and manifest flaws.
    But what the hell, at least you’ve finally learned to spellcheck.

    1. All writers do need that kind of help, Brad. Well, maybe not as badly as I needed it! But editors who are determined to help the writer succeed are a great bunch.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to a great mentor and friend who enabled you to create something which was so important to you. I, of course knew nothing of these difficult times following the accident. I do hope that things are better for you now.
    I am so glad that you had someone to help you not to lose faith in yourself when your world suddenly fell apart.
    Take care Cynthia.

    1. Karen, thanks for this generous reply. I had several someones to help, but I was beyond help for a while. It took people who knew me well to help break down the wall.

  5. I am so sorry Cynthia, I have just done a little research into your book and your story and even though I have only scratched the surface I can see the depths of pain and trauma you must have been through, alongside your great achievements too!

    1. Thanks, Karen. Lately, the book has come in for yet another round of accolades. Every time that happens, I think of the people who helped. I had three editors on A Good Home – each was needed. Tim provided that crucial foundational help, and reminded me that I could be a good writer again.

  6. Hi Cynthia. Thank you for the nice tribute to your friend and cohort. It is clear from the article and comments that you very much like and respect each other. Your willingness to share accolades says much about your character as well as the quality of people with whom you associate. I’ve just transitioned from “I should read that book” to “I can’t wait to read that book.” I’ll go back to a post from a few weeks ago when you give the information of how to obtain the book. Thanks again. Cheers.

  7. Wow. I keep saying wow to you. Phnark. But seriously he sounds like a dude. A true friend as well as mentor. And that was a lovely post. I bet he’s dead chuffed. 🙂



    1. Like a typical editor, he complains that I left things out – I didn’t mention his flaws.
      I say that would take another book – which he’d have to edit! (big smile)

  8. This post is certainly a wonderful tribute to your strengths and Tim’s many talents as well. An earlier comment you made on my blog about the importance of a good editor now has some light shone on it! And I agree. In my own field, children’s books, where I aspire to be published, I have been critiqued by some editors and agents I would be honored to have working with me. How fortunate you are to have Tim as a friend and editor.
    p.s. I knew the lion wasn’t dead without the caption. 🙂

      1. From reading about him, his facial expression would have been different, plus there are many more reasons to photograph a tranquilized animal than a dead one, esp. for someone like Tim.
        p.s. I added you under my Fave Blogs on my own blog.

      2. Observant – and kind too! Thank you, Jeanne.
        wishing you a good weekend. It’s sunny and nice here in southern Ontario and the garden’s looking up!

  9. You, too – your garden looks lovely. It will be about 80 with LOW humidity here today – wonderful. Right now, I’m off to bake for a volunteer picnic I’m attending tomorrow. Better get going before it heats up. 🙂

  10. It is a tribute to you that you pay tribute to those who have helped & supported you. 🙂 Every great writer deserves a great editor–looks like you’ve found yours! Congrats!!!

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