Hi Medical Romance readers! I’m Tilda, the Editorial Assistant for the Harlequin/Mills & Boon Medical Romance team. This is my first post for Love is the Best Medicine and I’m excited to give you all a whirlwind tour behind the scenes with the Medical Romance editorial team! I hope it gives you an interesting insight into our role in helping bring the authors’ wonderful work to you all. And if you have any questions for me, please just ask.
Laura McCallen, Sheila Hodgson and Tilda McDonald—the Medical Romance team
As you all know, our wonderful authors are the beating heart of Medical Romance. The editors eagerly await the magical moment when any of their authors’ brand new manuscripts arrive! But what happens to a story then, to take the book from first draft all the way to the reader? Read on for a special sneak peek behind the scenes with the Medical Romance editorial team…
9 am—Emails and Tea!
After a speedy trip to the kitchen for a mug of tea, the first thing on a Medical Romance editor’s mind is their inbox, to sort out the day ahead. The calendar is usually packed full, but what we’re really hoping for is a lovely new manuscript waiting for us to read!
We kick off today’s meetings with an art briefing. This is the Medical Romance team’s chance to see the beautiful selection of covers the art department have pulled together for the month, and decide how best to package each book! Then it’s on to the next month, when we brief the art team on the new books. Here we think about a variety of elements—sensuality levels, themes, the season, poses that best reflect the title and (of course!) what the hero and heroine look like. Every story is unique, and we want a cover that reflects what makes each book so special!
If there’s a manuscript waiting, this is when we find a corner to curl up in and start to read. While reading, we keep in mind how to help the author polish the first draft into the final gem, to make the most of every story’s potential!
The March 2016 Medical Romance line-up—look at those lovely covers!
This is a highlight of our day—the whole team gets to know the month’s books, and brainstorms the best possible titles. We look for diversity in each line-up and have fun challenging ourselves here. Sometimes our suggestions get a little off-the-wall but we try and share even the craziest ones as there’s no knowing what will strike inspiration in someone else on the team.
In case you’re wondering, ‘prelims’ are the preliminary materials in each book (author notes, dedications, concept pages, extracts, praise…and, though not part of the prelims, we also look at the back cover copy at this point, so that we have a full view of how everything is tying in together). Each book’s editor sends us their prelims and back cover copy, and the team meets to look at each in turn. As with the images, every blurb should be unique and reflect everything that’s exciting about the book, and tie in with the title, image and extract! Some stories can be harder than others to capture in such a small number of words, but we won’t quit until each blurb is perfect.
3 pm—Letters and Line-edits
With our meetings finished, the team scatters to finish off manuscripts, and start writing back to the author. We can’t wait to tell them everything we loved about their book, and any suggestions we have to make it even more brilliant! Sometimes we follow up with a phone call (but this is often just an excuse for a chat!) If we have a final draft of a manuscript, we’ll use this time to do a line-by-line edit to ensure that every sentence sparkles, being careful not to change the author’s voice or meaning, of course, in any way.
4 pm—Reading (again!)
Of course, another task we make time for each day is to read new submissions from aspiring authors. There isn’t a better way to finish the day than to discover an exciting new talent to join our lovely Medical Romance authors!
We hope you’ve learned something new about how Harlequin Medical Romances come to life! Let us know if you have any comments or questions below 🙂