Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Change is Tough


It’s never easy saying good-bye to someone, but as a writer one of the toughest good-byes we have to make occasionally is to our editor who moves on. Such became the case with me this week. I had to say good-bye to Suzy Clarke, my editor of many years with Mill & Boon. Suzy left her post to go home and be a full-time mother. For that, I wish her all the joy and happiness in the world.

For me though, it’s a sad day, because I’ve grown accustomed to Suzy’s editing. I understand her probably as much as she understands me, which is why this relationship of so many years has worked. We’ve gotten to know each other.

My first few years with Harlequin, I went through a myriad of editors, most of them with me long enough to edit two books before they moved on. That was a tough time because I never knew what to expect. I was lucky in that most of the editors who crossed my path were good. There was one particular case, though, where my assigned editor had a difficult time making a decision, which resulted in me going round and round in circles. Then came Suzy, and at first she scared me because she came with such glowing praise from senior editor. And I’ll be honest and tell you that Suzy had some high expectations and some pretty touch demands in what she wanted from her writers. That’s probably why she came with the glowing praise – she turned out good work for Mills & Boon.

Like a marriage, the first few months of our relationship were trial and error, but we eventually settled down into what worked, and got to know each other. And that’s when I really started to appreciate Suzy for the expertise she brought to the relationship. Quite simply she made my writing better. In turn, her guidance made me want to be a better writer. I suppose you could say this became the point where I trusted Suzy with my work. Trusting someone else with your work is a huge step in a writer’s life. Maybe not quite like trusting someone else with your child, but close.

I never took Suzy for granted because as a writer I always knew that editors come and go. But somehow I avoided thinking about that because I really liked my writer-editor relationship and didn’t want to see anything about that change. Well, it did, as of this week. And while I’m not orphaned, and I know my new editor will work her way into my trust just as Suzy did, I’m still sad to see my old friend depart. But that’s the writing life. You roll with the punches, and look forward to new relationships that can guide you over the path as well as the old ones did.

But darn, I’ll sure miss Suzy.


7 thoughts on “Change is Tough”

  1. Suzy was my editor as well, Dianne. Change is definitely not an easy thing! Here’s hoping your next editor/author relationship turns out to be just as rewarding and comfortable. Hugs!

  2. I can sympathise Dianne, I was so upset when I had to change editors, but then I got Megan Haslam and she’s brilliant. Each new editor brings something new to a writer. Good luck with your new ed.

    Anne x

  3. Suzy was my editor too but only for the past two books. I was apprehensive about the change then as I’d loved my previosu editor but Suzy was fabulous and now I can only hope that the next change goes as smoothly. Fingers crossed for all of us 🙂

  4. Sorry to be late! I’m sad to hear Suzy is leaving, but very happy for her to be a full time mom. She loved babies! 🙂 Suzy stepped in for me when my original buying editor moved up the line to a bigger and brighter future. It took a bit to get used to the new style of editing, but she was really good about working with and talking the author through any difficulties. That was back when Suzy had her first baby and I got assigned to another young and bright-eyed editor. That new relationship lasted several years…but once again that fabulous editor – Sally – moved on the MIRA. I’m on editor #4 now, and love Flo.

    Such talent in the UK, right?

    It seems to be the nature of the beast with publishing. Editors move around a lot. I’m sure you’ll have a terrific working relationship with your new editor, because you are a wonderful writer, Dianne!

  5. A little late, but Suzy was my editor too. I loved her. She was amazing and really brought out the best in my debut and my second book.

    I’m now with Laura McCallen and so far so good! 🙂

    Before I sold though my book moved through Tessa, Sheila, Lucy, Caroline before Suzy bought it. LOL

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