Wednesday, October 05, 2011
6:00 AM Jennifer Hudson Taylor 38 comments
Please welcome Rachel Burkot, editorial assistant for Harlequin’s Love Inspired (LIH) line! They published Christian fiction through Steeple Hill.
She loves the variety of daily tasks involved in book production—and the opportunity to read on the job! After going through school hiding a book under a desk and getting in trouble for reading during class, Rachel decided that helping authors make their books as strong as possible would be the ideal career. The hopeless romantic in her is still counting her blessings that she found the perfect home at Harlequin.
For new authors, could you tell us a little about Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Historical (LIH) line? Must authors submit through an agent?
Our Love Inspired Historical books are engaging stories that take readers back in time for a captivating romance of a different era. Our books span a range of historical settings from all time periods, up to World War II. Story length is between 70-75,000 words. We are actively acquiring authors for all three of our inspirational lines (Love Inspired contemporary romance and Love Inspired Suspense too), but especially for LIH! And no, you do not need an agent to submit.
2. What time period do you see most in LIH and does this mean you would like to branch out into some other timelines or primarily stick to what you already have based on demand?
Rather than by time period, I tend to group our LIH books by genre. We do Westerns, Regencies, Amish, Roman Empire, wartime. We’re open to any time period up to World War II and are always willing to consider something new, as long as the story fits within our guidelines (http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1186&chapter=0).
3. A lot has changed in Christian fiction in the last few years. What are some changes at Steeple Hill as a result and what trends are you seeing for the next year?
Particularly at Love Inspired, we’re pushing for unpredictability and unique stories. We’d love to see some different character occupations, as well as fresh plots, new twists and surprising hooks. Keep readers guessing on where the story is heading from page 1. We’re always looking for compelling, can’t-put-it-down books with relatable characters, strong heroines in particular. Definitely check out what we’re excited about right now by getting your hands on those LIH books! In particular,
I recommend Hearts in Flight, a July release by new author Patty Smith Hall, featuring a headstrong heroine who flies planes for the Women’s Army Special Pilots. Also, The Aristocrat’s Lady, a September LIH by Mary Moore, another debut author, is a great example of what we’re looking for with unpredictability—because the heroine has a secret that will keep readers turning pages!
4. If Steeple Hill has rejected a manuscript in the past, but it has been revised, are you willing to take another look at it?
Yes. Especially when I give an author detailed revision notes, I’m absolutely expecting them to revise and resubmit.
5. What are some pet peeves you don’t want to see with submissions?
Stories with too much description or back story. Characters who are flat and one-dimensional. Contrived or convenient plot elements. Insufficient conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart. Instead, be creative and original. Stay true to the characters you have created. Concentrate on telling a strong story well. Start with a bang. Grab readers’ attention right away, from the first line. Create relatable, sympathetic characters, especially heroines whom romance readers can identify with. Give them sufficient goals, motivations and conflicts, both internal and external.
6. Is there anything else you would like to share with authors who may be considering LIH?
Since the increase in the LIH line from 2-4 books per month at the beginning of 2010, opportunities abound for writers! We would love to see your submissions, and we welcome both brand-new and previously published authors. We've bought almost 20 new authors for LIH in the last two years, and we’d love to acquire more. Send your submissions to Love Inspired Books at 233 Broadway, Suite 1001, New York, NY 10279.
Rachel, thank you for joining us today!
Aspiring authors, feel free to leave a comment or ask Rachel any burning questions you might have. Now is your chance!