Series Spotlight on…Harlequin Medical Romance!

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We’re kicking off today’s ‘Medical Takeover’ on the SOLD Blog with a Q & A with the lovely Medical team. Find out what they’re looking for and what key advice they have for you!

 

#1: What would you love to see in your submission pile?

Sheila Hodgson, Senior Editor:
I would just love to see a Medical Romance set in a transplant unit (particularly children’s). I would also love to see more stories set in major cosmopolitan cities with a touch of glamour, and some stories at the steamier (sexier) side of the scale for the series.

Julia Williams, Editor:
I’d like to see something zippy and fast paced set in the ER – with some touches of humour and a gorgeously sexy hero who falls in love with his fabulously talented colleague.

Laura McCallen, Assistant Editor:
I would absolutely love to see a story set in an entirely new location for Medical Romance. Moscow, Singapore, Alaska – the possibilities are endless! I would also love to see more stories of enemies to lovers. There’s nothing that captivates me more than watching two strong, talented medical professionals going head to head….and unexpectedly falling in love along the way!

Tilda McDonald, Editorial Assistant:
I like to see a Medical Romance which captures all the drama of the A&E! I’m also keen to see more high-stakes, adventurous stories with unusual settings, the more exotic the better.

#2: What makes you sit up and take notice in a submission – the opening, the voice, the premise or something entirely different?

Sheila Hodgson, Senior Editor:
An opening that takes me straight into the Medical world of the hero and heroine and their conflicts, with gorgeous protagonists firmly on the page and interacting with each other, allowing us to see the chemistry between them from page 1 is bound to make me bounce in my seat. An action scene that does all of this is good too. Ultimately it is all about the vividness of the characters and their scenario. But the voice is hugely important too, writing that gives real insight into the character, their worlds, how they interact, and sweeps us away into it will have your reader gripped from the outset, that’s so hugely important.

Julia Williams, Editor:
Voice is very important as it’s what makes me engage as a reader, and a punchy opening also helps to draw me in. But a well thought plot using popular themes that hook the readers in will keep me hooked too!

Laura McCallen, Assistant Editor:
For me it’s all about the author voice and the opening of the story. It’s crucial that those first few pages are filled with gripping drama, captivating characters and a hint of the emotional rollercoaster that’s yet to come. In my job I’m used to reading absolutely fantastic Medical romances on a regular basis so my expectations are high!

Tilda McDonald, Editorial Assistant:
Openings which plunge you straight into the action are my favourites. I want to see the hero and heroine on the page together, showing off their specialist skills from the word go! When a submission persuades you to invest in the central relationship at the same time as it makes your heart pound with the strength of the action, it keeps you turning the pages.

#3 What’s your favourite part of the job?

Sheila Hodgson, Senior Editor:
Well finding new talent and seeing them develop in the series is always exciting. But I’m hugely proud of the Medical series, and love to see a strong and varied line up shape up every month from our hugely talented author base. Seeing readers come back to us month after month in a myriad of markets around the globe is amazing. My colleagues, the authors I work with and their passion for the Harlequin series we acquire is so wonderful, and stimulating and having such a strong and devoted Medical Romance team, Laura McCallen, Julia Williams and Matilda McDonald – it truly warms my heart and makes my job so exciting. I also love the ability to be creative and think creatively in my job, trying new things, gaining new experiences, meeting new people, and finding new publishing opportunities. Right now, I’m also loving my view across London, in our new offices near London Bridge – the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye! I’m so lucky to be working with fabulous books, authors, series and colleagues in one of the world’s most beautiful and vibrant cities.

Julia Williams, Editor:
Working with lovely authors, who keep writing heart-warming and inspiring romances which it’s a pleasure to share with our readers.

Laura McCallen, Assistant Editor:
I think it’s hard to top Sheila’s answer – so I’ll have to say ‘ditto’! I consider myself extremely lucky to work in an industry that is filled with so many talented, brilliant individuals (from authors to editors to marketers to designers to PR pros – the list goes on and on!) I never stop learning in this job and I walk into work with a smile on my face every single day. #EditingForTheWin!

Tilda McDonald, Editorial Assistant:
It’s hard to choose! But I love seeing a submission come together – from that first read, where the promise of the author’s voice leaps off the page at you, to the moment when the manuscript’s full potential is realised and the author gets The Call!

# 4 What is your one key piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Sheila Hodgson, Senior Editor:
Research the series you are aiming for, look at what kind of themes, locations, etc. come up in the series regularly – they are a key to what is most popular with readers. But bring us a voice, scenarios that offer something different to what you see in the series. It’s important to be commercial, but it’s so important to engage your readers, and bring something both absorbing and unique to the series. You need to do more than emulate. What’s your USP?

Julia Williams, Editor:
Try and take criticism on the chin. Part of being a writer involves rejection, and in learning your craft you may get a lot of it. But remember, nothing is ever wasted, and if you listen and learn your writing can’t help but improve!

Laura McCallen, Assistant Editor:
Know the series you want to write for inside and out but make your submission completely your own. Originality is what makes your story stand out from the crowd!

Tilda McDonald, Editorial Assistant:
Write what you’d love to read yourself, especially if it’s something you don’t see in the series already! Your voice will make your submission unique, but look for ways to make the story stand out too. If it’s something we’ve never seen before, you can be sure that we’ll sit up and take notice.

Have more questions? Assistant Editor Laura McCallen will be on Twitter from 10am EST (3pm GMT) TODAY answering all your burning queries!

Follow her on @LauraMcCallen and make sure you tag your questions with #WriteMedicals#WriteMedicals

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