- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
Thanks for the warm welcome! I’m thrilled to be here and am doing my best not to gush too much over my hosts (you’re all great!!). I’ve spent many a contented hour reading their books. In my mind they represent the best of what we do in this business—tell amazing stories that remind us of the power of love and all that’s wonderful in our voyage around the sun. I have to confess, one of the coolest parts of my job is meeting the authors whose words have captured magic in their stories. The reader in me is speechless in awe!
It’s probably obvious that being an editor is a dream job for me. Oddly enough, the profession never featured on my career radar. I thought about being a teacher, a lawyer, a financial advisor (Liz, who has seen me struggle to figure out the tip in restaurants is killing herself laughing over that one), and too many other things to mention. I tried on many different jobs that didn’t fit and at one particularly stressful moment—I was considering doing bodily harm with sharpened pencils—I thought about what I’d love to do in a perfect world. Since the wealthy prince who would give me the life of leisure I so richly deserve wasn’t making an appearance, I settled on the next best thing—edit romance fiction. It was a moment of serendipity because I very soon landed a job here at Harlequin. Talk about stars being aligned!
I read a lot of manuscripts (obviously), but there are a lot of other tasks that fill my day. In fact, entire days can pass without me turning a manuscript page. There’s cover copy to prepare, art forms to fill out, meetings to attend, authors to contact, e-mail to avoid...er, I mean, answer, etc. As a result, it takes me longer to read manuscripts than I would like. Fortunately, the authors I work with are models of patience and understanding. And if they’re not, they do a great job of hiding their frustration from me
When I read a manuscript, I look for a story that sweeps me away, that makes me forget that I’m an editor. (Sometimes a story is so good I’ll realize I’ve consumed several pages as a reader, not an editor, and have to go back with my trusty pencil to edit the story!) I look for characters with strong motivations and sustainable inner conflict. Ideally the romantic conflict is so believable and seems so impossible to resolve that I think this hero and heroine won’t resolve their differences. (Confession time: at that moment of doubt I flip to the last few pages to be reassured that all ends well.) I love when authors surprise me, when they set a scene up to go in one direction but the characters’ decisions or external events take the scene in a completely unexpected one.
My barometer for a story’s ability to engage me is whether I can put a manuscript down. If I can leave in the middle of a scene to replenish my coffee or chat it up with my coworkers, then something in the story isn’t grabbing my attention and making me breathless to find out what happens next. It’s my job to figure out what that something is. It could be that the conflict isn’t as layered and complex as it should be—I can guess how it will be resolved. Maybe it’s the characters—I’m not connected to them, I don’t understand their motivations, I don’t know what they have riding on the outcome of this scene or even the story. Once I’ve landed on the issue, I think of possible ways to resolve it…which leads to revisions.
As any of the authors who work with me will attest, I’m a big believer in the revision process—and not only because it keeps me in a job! I believe we can always deepen an emotion, develop a theme, strengthen the character conflict, heighten the tension. It’s the Virgo in me, I know. But tweaking a few things here or there can make the story impossible for a reader to put down and bring a smile to her face every time. That’s my goal.
So now that I’ve told you a bit about me, I’d love to turn it over to you! I’m eager to answer questions you may have.