- by Lina Gardiner
Emily, welcome to NINC BLOG. It’s lovely to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to chat with us.
First question and one you probably hear often. J Did you always want to be an editor?
I wanted to tell Margaret Mitchell to rewrite the ending to Gone with the Wind when I was in the 8th grade, so I guess I’ve wanted to be an editor at least since then. I actually got a journalism degree in college and started my work career as a newspaper editor before ending up in books a few years later.
What drew you to the Love Inspired line?
I actually read the Love Inspired line before I came to work for Harlequin. But when I interviewed for the job, there were several openings with no description of the editorial, so I had no idea what line I was interviewing for. So when the HR guy asked me what I liked to read, I told him that I enjoyed the LI line and I was thrilled that one of the openings was for it. I love that Harlequin has a little something for everyone whether you’re a woman of faith who wants a sweeter romance or someone who loves a good vampire story. I fall on the sweeter side of the spectrum, so I love working on this line.
What advice do you have for published authors deciding to write for the Christian market?
There are definitely opportunities there, but I think it’s important to feel passionate about the genre. If you don’t, you might feel boxed in by guidelines. Love Inspired doesn’t want books to be preachy, but we do want the true meaning of faith to shine through.
Are there any commonly submitted plot premises that don’t work for Harlequin Love Inspired?
Love Inspired books are romance books, so we need the characters to fall in love during the course of the book. We often get already married characters working on a relationship that’s already in progress, and that doesn’t work for us. We do accept reunion romances as long as the characters have been completely broken up for a long time before the book starts.
Are there tried and true Love Inspired premises you’d still like to see:
Things like reunion romances and secret babies are always big draws for any line. For LI and LIH, our readers love a good Western cowboy hero. And for LIS, a good law enforcement hero is a big draw.
What would be your ‘dream story’ that you’d love to see cross your desk?
My authors are so fabulous that every time I mention I have a dream story, they make sure it’s on my desk. I asked for pirates and managed to get a book for both the historical and suspense line. I’d love to see more spies (think Covert Affairs).
Who is your favorite actor/actress (Or Rhett and Scarlett in Gone With The Wind) J and what characteristics does he/she have that would work well in Love Inspired stories?
I do have great affection for Rhett and Scarlett, though they are missing one vital piece in their relationship that a Love Inspired book needs—a happy ending. I work on a lot of suspense books, so it should come as no surprise that I love procedural TV shows like Bones, Castle, The Closer, Major Crimes, White Collar, Covert Affairs etc. I think the sort of religious debate that Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz’s characters on Bones have is interesting and indicative of some of what we do in LIS, except both characters would need to be in the Christian faith by the end of the story. And I love interesting yet flawed characters such as Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Leigh Johnson and Matt Bomer’s Neal Caffrey.
What do you think of continuities? Do they do well in the current marketplace?
Our readers love continuity series. They often are top sellers in a line. We had great success in LIS with our Texas K-9 Unity series, so much so that we’re doing another K-9 Unit series in 2015. This one will be set in Washington, D.C. While challenging to pull off for authors, I think they’re also a lot of fun.
Have you ever personally ‘discovered’ an author in the slush pile who went on to great success?
I’ve acquired more than 30 authors for the three Love Inspired lines. The second author I ever bought back when I was an editorial assistant was Lynette Eason who’s gone on to have a very successful career in the CBA and still writes for Love Inspired Suspense as well.
Is there anything you’re over-inventoried in? And conversely, anything you’re desperate for more of?
With the expansion of LIS, we are eager to find new romantic suspense manuscripts and authors. That is where the best opportunity for publication lies. But we also acquire for the other two lines. For Love Inspired Historical, we’d love to see more Western settings and possibly some Amish.
Would you like to talk about the changes happening at Harlequin Love Inspired in May with regard to more books being published each month?
We are very excited that starting in May, the Love Inspired Suspense line expanded from 4 books a month to 6. This has given us the opening to bring 13 new authors to the line so far since the announcement. It’s always great to have fresh voices, and they’re writing new and exciting topic such as pirates, snipers, spies and more. It’s a great opportunity for writers looking for a publishing home. If you have something that fits our guidelines, feel free to send it my way.
Is there any advice you would like to share with published authors?
I’m a big fan of social media, Twitter especially (find me at @EmilyRodmell) but I think that a lot of published authors miss the point of it. Tweeting “buy my book” multiple times an hour isn’t effective and is more likely to turn off readers than make them want to buy your book. For every 1 sale you get, you probably have a dozen other users muting or unfollowing you. Social media is about building relationships and a following, but in order to do that, you have to offer something, not just ask for sales. If you use social media effectively to build relationships, you could build a tribe of followers that would buy your book because they feel invested in you.
Emily Rodmell is the editor for Harlequin’s Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical lines and has acquired more than 30 authors for the lines. She has a journalism degree from the University of South Florida and hails from sunny Florida but calls NYC home. If you write inspirational romantic suspense, historical or contemporary romance, she’d love to see your manuscripts.
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