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Monday, October 31, 2011

Editor Appreciation Day

“Good evening.” Oliver smiles, taking a sweeping bow. “It is my great pleasure to present the talented and lovely Lori Graham, Senior Editor of the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press. Lori, my sweet, how are you on this most enchanted evening?”

Lori: Ah, my sweet Oliver, the stress of my day is fading away now that I am sitting with you.

Oliver: The pleasure is all mine. May I pour you a glass of Francis Ford Coppola’s deep red, my dear? Unless you would like Sharon to serve you something else? We’ve reversed roles for this hallowed event.

 Lori: I am content as long as you keep my drink from becoming empty.

A vampire serves drinks from behind the sleek mahogany bar. Music from The Godfather eerily drifts from hidden wall speakers. Standing candelabras flicker on either side of the crimson settee, and a log crackles and snaps in the hearth. Looking devilishly handsome in a flowing black cape with blood-red interior, Oliver escorts the lovely Lori Graham into his parlor where crimson roses, a bottle of deep red wine and chocolates are laid out on the coffin coffee table. The raven clock gongs thirteen times, announcing the witching hour.

Oliver: Your wish is my command. As we embark on the spookiest night of the year, there is nothing I enjoy more than drinking a glass of red before a crackling fire while reading a good thriller. As senior editor of a romantic suspense line, what do you look for in one of these chilling manuscripts?

Lori: I am looking for something that is unique and keeps the reader guessing. This “guessing” can come through a variety of methods - - maybe it is the identity of the villain. Maybe it is the reason behind his villainy.

Oliver: As a reader of spine tinglers, I rather expect certain things in a book of my favorite genre; otherwise, I’m not above burying the book in the mausoleum. Casting the coffin coffee table a wicked wink, he continues. The first thing I look at is the setting. New Orleans, reputedly one of the spookiest cities in the world, draws me in every time. After all, with the haunted mansions, land of voodoo and all the ghosts roaming the French Quarter, there are a million storylines that an author could create. Then after creating the setting and an intriguing storyline, there are the characters. I have to connect to the hero, heroine and villain or villainess. Last but not least, I want a satisfying closure. Tell me, Lori, as an editor, what do you look for in a crimson manuscript?

Lori: First, let’s look at the technical side. I am looking for an author who controls the story and not the other way around. Characters often have the ability to take a story in circles without the resolution needed. So the author needs to set the stage and guide the characters. From the plot standpoint, I am looking for emotion. I would like to feel, hear, smell, etc. the emotions of the characters. But I would also like to have my emotions pulled, touched, tweaked, singed.

Oliver: But of course, my dear. What character traits do you look for in the hero, heroine and villain/villainess

Lori: The villain needs to be creative. For this character to come up with something unique, he/she needs to think fast and thorough. For the heroine, I am looking for a woman who knows her own mind. Yes, there needs to be something for her to work on but there is nothing worse than a whiny female. (Excuse me, Oliver, but my drink is getting low.) Basically, I don’t want a heroine who is annoying. The hero is so much easier to define. Really want an alpha male—a man who is strong in his own beliefs. Yes, I like a nice physique – who wouldn’t. J But what I want more is a man who knows himself and is comfortable in his own skin. I want him to be able to protect me, keep me safe and yet not be afraid to wrap me up and comfort me. Oops, did I say me all of those times?

Oliver winks. You did, but that’s quite all right. Allow me to fill your goblet so that your cup runneth over. Now, if you had to pick one pet peeve, something that turns you off in a heartbeat when reviewing a manuscript, name it, grin.

Lori: “See Spot Run” writing. I want to see a variety of sentence structures, along with depth (creating many levels).

Oliver: On the flip side of the coin, what makes you shout with glee enough to offer a contract?

Lori: Writing that makes me tingle. Again, that control factor. I want to “feel” those kisses, “feel” the need to run from the villain.

Oliver plants a kiss on Lori’s lips with a wicked grin. Speaking of winners, I understand that you are offering a smashing prize for the grand drawing tonight when the clock strikes midnight. Before I sweep you into my arms for a spin around the dance floor to Henry Mancini’s The Waltz, do share, my sweet.

Lori: I would love to offer a free critique to an aspiring author. What phase are you at? If you only have a synopsis, I would be glad to tell you what I think and give you some pointers for fleshing it out. If you have the full manuscript done, I would be glad to review the first six chapters. I won’t do an edit, mind you, because that is what line edits are for but I will give you some suggestions and a short question/answer time. J I would also like to offer a challenge. It is one thing to write a full-length romantic suspense novel, but can you write a shorter length? As Oliver can attest, Sharon is a master of both lengths.

Ah, Oliver, it is getting really dark outside, will you maybe light a few more candles…that’s it, darling, you are the sweetest thing…
Sharon slinks out from behind the bar with a bottle of bubbly. Oliver smoothly plucks up the bouquet of crimson roses and a box of wrapped chocolates from the coffin coffee table. Together they present them to Lori with a sweeping bow.

In honor of Editor Appreciation Day at TWRP, we salute Lori Graham as NUMBER ONE EDITOR SUPREME. We love you, Lori!


Sharon Donovan said...

A warm welcome for Editor Supreme Lori Graham!

Oliver said...

Raises his flute of champagne. I'll drink to that. To Lori!

Hywela Lyn said...

Good morning dear Oliver and Sharon - and Lori, what a great interview! Although I don't write romantic suspense myself (I love reading it though) I think you make some very helpful points that apply to most romance sub-genres. What a wonderful prize you're offering too, what author wouldn't want to win that! Almost makes me want to forsake 'Futuristic Romance' and try Romantic Suspense!

Happy Editor Appreciation Day, Lori, and Have a Fun and Spooky Halloween!

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Good morning, all. It is always a joy to sit down with Oliver and Sharon. I couldn't have more fun! And by the way, thanks for the flowers and kind words, my dears.

Cindy K. Green said...

Hi Lori! Good to see you here on Sharon's blog today. To all you authors out there, Lori is a terrific editor to work with. I learned a lot from her.

Mary Ricksen said...

Hello Oliver, Sharon, and Lori!Now we know! Editors want in a good book, exactly the same things we want in a story! Can you beat that!!

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Ah shucks, thanks Cindy! Miss talking to you.

Mary, you hit the nail on the head. This is also why critique partners are so very important. These need to be people who will be completely honest with you. This isn't always pleasant but that honesty is often the most valuable asset an author has!

Linda Banche said...

Hi Lori, would a historical romantic suspense fit in your line?

I write historical comedy, and I doubt I could write suspense, but I wonder where a historical suspense would fit.

Thanks, and Happy Editors' Day.

Kayelle Allen said...

I'm always ready to toast an editor! And I do mean with a drink, not fire. LOL...

Happy Halloween, Sharon. =^_^=

Sarah J. McNeal said...

First, let me thank you for taking the time to talk to us via Sharon's blog. Although I write time travel and fantasy/paranormal romance, I've often thought it would be a challenge to write romantic suspense. I can see where the need for good plotting would be a must. I like what you said about the author needing to control the story and not the characters. I've often heard authors say the characters "tell them what to do". I like having a map to tell me where I'm going and how I'm going to get there.
I enjoyed reading your blog today.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Linda, in our house, historical suspense would still fit under historical. That isn't to say you shouldn't write it because they are equally popular.

Sarah, I do think the characters provide some of the direction and can evolve as the story progresses. What you really need to watch are the point of view switches because those are something the character should never control. :)

LoRee Peery said...

I enjoyed this post because it is different from what I usually read.
Lori, you were my first contact with White Rose Publishing, and I will always remember you for that.
Thanks for the reminder that this is editor appreciation day.

Sharon Donovan said...

Just a reminder that the grand drawing will be announced tomorrow November 1st. Oliver will put all those who have commented all month long in a witch’s cauldron, stir it up and pull out twelve names. Winners will get a prize graciously donated by one of my featured guests. There are some awesome prizes! So, you have until midnight to leave a comment!

I’m bidding a good evening to one and all as goblins are calling for treats at my door. Thank you all for making my Halloween blog a smash! A warm thank you to my editor supreme Lori Graham for joining us today and for your generous gift. Happy Editors Day and Happy Halloween!

Victoria Roder said...

Great interview with wonderful information!

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Thanks LoRee. I remember you as well and am really glad things worked out for you. Your writing had great potential so I am thrilled to have been a small part of that.

Thanks for everything Sharon - had a great time! Enjoy those trick or treaters.