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Gail Vaz-Oxlade: You want me to do what?

Canada's financial guru, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, is known for her tough talk. In her editor, Kate Cassaday, she's finally met her match.

Working with editors can be a test. It seems that some want you to climb into their heads and write it the way they would have written it. Others just want to pick your stuff to death. And then there's the editor people consider the "dream"... they barely touch your stuff. I hate them all. I feel like either they want me to be them, or they have nothing to add to the process. So imagine my genuine surprise and pleasure when Kate Cassaday came into my life.

The girl knows her job cold. And she has a winsome way of getting exactly what she wants. I'm not known for being the easiest person to work with: I have very definite ideas of how things should be. And yet Kate, who is as long on good sense as she is in the legs, has me eating out of the palm of her hand.

The first time Kate and I spoke on the phone I told her just what I thought of the Canadian publishing industry. I could just hear her sitting back in her chair and saying, "Oh!" (I now know she also turned bright red as she listened to me rant.) But Kate didn't run screaming from the room. She never backs down. She knows what will make my writing better, and she's determined that I hear her out before I tell her to f--- off.

Maybe my favourite part of working with Kate is how much better she makes my work. Her perspicacity (she had to look it up) takes my breath away. Or maybe it's her sense of humour. When I get on the phone with Kate, I'm guaranteed to laugh. Or maybe it's the way we manage to negotiate our way around things. Like a good dance partner, Kate knows when to follow and when to lead.

I've worked with a lot of editors on newspapers and magazines. And I've written 13 books about money. These last two have been my favorites to work on. In no small part that's because of Kate. With her never-ending questions, she makes me think like a reader instead of just as a writer. Yet she never encroaches on my style. Yes, Kate makes me think hard. (And she's a frickin' slave-driver too.) But I love it, because in the end the work is better.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the host of the Gemini Award-winning show 'Til Debt Do Us Part. Her latest book, Never Too Late: Take control of your retirement and your future, is published by HarperCollins, and her digital original Money-Smart Kids is available now. Gail is currently editing yet another book under the firm hand of Kate Cassaday.



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