Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Welcome Harlequin's Lara Hyde!
Today we are happy to have visiting us at the manor a gifted , intelligent woman that I am proud to call friend and editor. And yes, she is fresh, vibrant and gorgeous, but we don't hold it against her;)
I speak for Charlotte, Kristi and myself when I say her vision and encouragement has not gone unnoticed. A rare gem among today's editors, we warmly welcome Lara Hyde to the Manor. She was hoping that Lord Craven-Moore might offer to make her blueberry-banana pancakes in his skivvies.
Spoken like a true Spice editor;)
To all who leave comments, I am giving away some yummy Spice Brief mousepads for as long as they last!
Grab your coffee , tea, or soda and join us for part I of our visit with Lara Hyde.
Amanda: Good morning, Lara! (we'll dispense with the our usual Bawanna for today;) Your picture is gorgeous! Darn it! Beautiful and brainy to boot! *sigh we love you anyway ;) Why don't we begin with a little bit about you and how long you've been at Harlequin?
Lara: I've been with Harlequin for almost 7 years. I studied journalism in university and worked on the production side in television after graduation, then went back to school and got my teaching degree. After a stint teaching abroad in South Korea, followed by teaching night school English, I realized teaching wasn't my passion. Harlequin was looking for a proofreader at the time, and I jumped on the opportunity to get my foot in the door of a publisher I had always dreamed of working for. In between proofreading and my current position as Assistant Editor for MIRA/Spice, I worked for nearly 4 years on Harlequin American Romance and Superromance.
Amanda: Harlequin is so well known and respected in the romance industry, I can understand your desire to work there! This year Harlequin celebrates its 60th anniversary! That is an amazing accomplishment! Further I note that earnings for Harlequin/Silhouette remain constant and/or have shown improvement, in spite of the recent economic blight. Harlequin /Silhouette provides such a broad variety of lines-do you feel this diversity is part of Harlequin's long-running success? What else would you say continues to work for Harlequin/Sil?
Lara: Absolutely--the variety of lines of imprints that Harlequin publishes is incredible. Harlequin is all about staying relevant and giving readers what they want to read. That means continuously revisiting our current products and launching new products where there is a demand. Because the name Harlequin is synonymous with romance, many people are amazed to learn that Harlequin publishes everything from traditional romances to mainstream thrillers to literary fiction and erotica under its various imprints. Of course, when it comes to series romance, Harlequin is #1, and series readers know that when they buy that Harlequin Presents or Silhouette Romantic Suspense, they will get the happily-ever-after ending they are looking for. And I think that promise keeps them coming back.
Amanda: I'm sure our readers have their favorites. I personally love the diversity of Harlequin /Silhouette lines and the fact that they are always open to growth and researching what readers want. In your experience, what would you say are the tried and true lines and what is new at Harlequin? Anything new coming down the pipeline?
Lara: Well, the tried-and-true lines like Harlequin Presents, Silhouette Desire, Harlequin Historical and Harlequin Blaze aren't going anywhere. And then we have the more recent lines and imprints like LUNA (female-focused fantasy), and of course, SPICE, that offer something really unique. As for new products, we've got Harlequin Teen launching this August, and Nocturne Bites (short paranormal e-books) and Harlequin Historical Undone (short historical e-books), which are following in the footsteps of the Spice Briefs program, which is the erotica e-books program I have the pleasure of being involved in.
Amanda: E-Books and "going green" is a very big step for many pubs these days as well as the devices for reading e-books like Sony's E-Reader and Amazon's Kindle. Hopefully, the move toward e-book will help in offering books to a whole new generation of readers! Is Harlequin/Silhouette planning to offer all of its backlist books in E-Book format?
Lara: We are currently in the middle of releasing a large number of titles in backlist throughout 2009. Since it is difficult to know where to start/stop, so we are using customer requests, sales history, volume of titles by an author, connected editorial etc….as our guidelines. We actually just released 50 titles in March and will be releasing another 85 in May. Our goal is to meet as many of our customers’ needs in eBook format as we can, so it will an initiative that will continue beyond this year.
Amanda: The possibilities are endless certainly! I am impressed the more I hear about Harlequin and its goal to retain its traditional works as well as offer amazing new lines and even non-fiction! The challenge is there to authors and editors alike to find the stories that will please readers on all levels of the reading palette! And I find that challenge very exciting!
Harlequin has its two sides, category and single-title. You currently edit for the single-title Spice and Mira lines at Harlequin. Have you edited for the category side of Harlequin? How is that the same? How is it different?
Lara: I edited a number of American Romance and Superromance novels before moving over to the single-title side. I loved working on series! The editing process is virtually the same; the only real differences are the length of the books you're editing and, of course, the subject matter (my current MIRA authors write ultra-gory, serial-killer thrillers). I really enjoy working on Spice because many of the stories (particularly the historicals) are wonderful romances at their core, but they are edgier and less predictable than category romance. And the authors who write them are really fun to work with!
Amanda: I love less predictable ;)especially if it involves steamy romance!;) So, I'm curious, what does an editor read for pleasure?
Lara: Oh, all types! Lately I've been reading a lot of non-fiction memoirs about quirky families and dysfunctional childhoods, like THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls, and RUNNING WITH SCISSORS by Augusten Burroughs. I can't seem to get enough of those.
Amanda: Which conjures up a whole host of questions that I will ask in my second half of our visit with Lara, come tomorrow! Meantime, please feel free to ask Lara questions or tell her what you as readers would love to see in your reading!!
I'll see if I can hunt down Lord C. M and bribe him into putting on his silk boxers. Usually he simply tosses on his silk robe and a wicked smile as he prepares our breakfast;)