Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seekerville Welcomes Harlequin Love Inspired Editorial Assistant Rachel Burkot

Seekerville is delighted to have Harlequin Love Inspired, Editorial Assistant, Rachel Burkot with us today. I sent Rachel some of my burning questions (there were a few myths I admit to being anxious to debunk) which she was kind enough to answer. Rachel will be popping in today to answer your questions as well. ~~ Tina Radcliffe

Rachel, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Pittsburgh gal who followed the beckoning of the books to New York City almost two years ago to forge my way in publishing. No one who knows me is the least bit surprised I ended up working with books—I remember taking a book out to recess every day in grade school, walking the perimeter of the playground, totally absorbed in the world of whatever I was reading and completely oblivious to my classmates running around. The hopeless romantic in me has found the perfect home at Harlequin. (Nicholas Sparks has yet to write a book that doesn’t have tears running down my face by the last page.)

Besides my obvious book obsession, I’m also a diehard football fan (and will always be loyal to my Pittsburgh Steelers, no matter how long I live in New York!), shopaholic with a shoe problem (particularly proud of my ability to walk around New York in crazy-high heels), eternal optimist (because life’s just way more fun that way), country music lover (definitely went through withdrawal upon moving to New York and realizing that country music is the one thing you cannot get in this city) and family girl (so blessed to have the extremely close relationship that I do with my parents and two younger sisters, despite the 400 miles between us). That’s me in a nutshell.

How do you like living in New York City? Was there a bit of culture shock at first?

Culture shock you could certainly call it! The biggest transition was adjusting from suburban city to city life. Things like relying on public transportation daily and expecting to wait a minimum of thirty minutes in line at the grocery store make for a very different lifestyle from what I knew growing up in north-of-Pittsburgh suburbia—not to mention the tiny Amish town where I went to college, which featured two stoplights, a coffee shop that closed at 8 p.m. and a Pizza Joe’s, the hot spot of Main Street.

Day-to-day adjustments were hard, but the most difficult part was leaving all my family and friends behind at barely age 22 to make my way alone in such a huge, terrifying place. Early on, I definitely had a few panic attacks, along with crippling bouts of loneliness and homesickness, but coming to work at Harlequin every day is what held my sanity in place. My job quickly became a life preserver as I struggled to find my identity as a newbie New Yorker, as well as a constant reinforcement that I had made the right decision—that the initial struggles were so worth it. And the longer I’m here, the more I’m realizing that the opportunities this city provides are truly endless, incredible and absolutely worth taking advantage of!

What is a typical day/week for an editorial assistant like?

The awesome thing about my job is that every day is different. The variety of fun tasks I get to tackle is perfect for my high-energy personality. In one day, I might get to help an author with their art fact sheet, fiddle with back cover copy for a book, leaf through a manuscript for that perfect, attention-grabbing front sales passage, and work on a line edit. Plus there are copyedited manuscripts to go through, author changes to input, dedications to collect, covers and front matter to look over, revised proposals/manuscripts to check out, art briefings to attend, emails to answer or field appropriately, revision letters to write, contracts to input...and then reading to get to, when all of that is taken care of! I usually get a lot of reading done on Wednesdays because it’s quiet in the office. I also find that I can often devote a big chunk of Fridays, as long as I’ve accomplished the big tasks for the week, to the slush pile.

Is there a busy season for the editorial department?

Because LI/LIH/LIS combined produce 14 books per month, without fail, the monthly workload stays more or less the same. There are times that are busier than others, right before due dates that hit us every month fairly consistently, but this “normalcy” in the schedule helps with prioritizing tasks and making sure nothing falls through the cracks!

Is it true editors clear their desks every December 31st?


How big is your slush pile over at the Harlequin, NYC offices?

Nothing short of scary. I currently have about 10 complete manuscripts to evaluate, another 10 partials and 20 or so queries and synopses. Yikes!

What lines do you work with/acquire for?

I’m technically the EA (editorial assistant) for just the Love Inspired line, but I do some work with LIH and LIS too. Actually, 3 of my authors write for LIH. I also work a bit on the single title side, with MIRA author Sherryl Woods and HQN author Linda Lael Miller. Additionally, one of the many, many awesome things about working at Harlequin is that I can acquire not just for the Love Inspired lines, but for any of Harlequin’s imprints!

What would your advice be to aspiring Love Inspired authors?

Concentrate on telling a strong story well. Start with a bang. Grab readers’ (but first, editors) attention right away, from the first line. Be sure the plot has a unique, interesting hook. Create relatable, sympathetic characters, especially heroines whom romance readers can identify with. Give them sufficient goals, motivations and conflicts, both internal and external. A particular pet peeve of mine is contrived or convenient plot devices—for example, having an accident scene that has no greater impact on the plot than making the characters finally realize their love for each other. If it takes a life-threatening incident for them to admit their feelings (when they’re not thinking straight anyway), how are they going to maintain their relationship through the less dramatic, day-to-day ups and downs of life? These contrived scenes feel cheap and like cop-outs. Be creative. Be original. Stay true to the characters you have created.

Is true that you can really tell by the first paragraph, first page that you have a story you want to see more of?

No. There’s just no hard-and-fast rule for how long it takes to tell if a story has potential. But it always takes more than a paragraph to sell me.

Is it true editors do most of their manuscript reading at home or on the subway?

Yes. As an assistant, I have more time at the office for reading than senior editors who have all the various day-to-day tasks involved in running a line, but I often read at home or on the subway too. Nothing passes a long train ride faster than getting absorbed in a great manuscript! And quite frankly, even if my reading load were manageable enough to get it all done in the office, I’d still be bringing manuscripts home. Because I’m still counting my blessings that I’ve found a job where the line between work and fun is often blurred—in fact, usually invisible.

What sort of settings and plots are overused?

Recently we’ve seen a lot of “renovating a house together” stories, as well as horse therapy ranches. We’d love to see some creative hero/heroine occupations (except for show business). And we’re always looking for more Amish stories!

Is there anything particular? Any buzz word or theme that Love Inspired is looking for in submissions?

We’re always looking for compelling, can’t-put-it-down stories, no matter what the theme is. Unpredictability and fresh elements. Unique hooks and twists. (Great example: The Aristocrat’s Lady by new LIH author Mary Moore, debuting in September! I don’t want to give anything away, but the heroine has a secret that will keep readers turning pages—and keep the hero intrigued by her!) Relatable characters. Strong heroines. (Check out Hearts in Flight, a July LIH by another new author, Patty Smith Hall, featuring a heroine who flies planes for the Women’s Army Special Pilots—no one can deter this headstrong lady from her mission!) High-stakes conflict for those suspense stories. (Stephanie Newton has a perfect example of this with her LIS out this month, The Baby’s Bodyguard, which starts out with the hero saving an abandoned baby on a boat—and the stakes only get higher from there!)

Also, there are books on the craft that make great resources for honing in on strong conflict, character development and plot building. Two that I feel are especially valuable for writers, brand new and seasoned alike, are Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us by Jessica Page Morrell (a detailed analysis of why your writing may have received rejections from publishers, with tips for strengthening everything from dialogue to well-rounded scenes and characters) and Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon (a thin volume that’s jam-packed with clear guidance for how to give your characters believable goals, motivation and conflict for everything they do).

Can you tell us a little about the Love Inspired (15 years!) anniversary that is coming up in 2012?

Yes! We’re very excited to be celebrating fifteen years of Love Inspired books and the tremendous growth that the line has seen—from 3 books a month back in 1997 to 14 today, from only contemporary to quite the range of historical settings from all eras and exciting, action-packed suspense plots. In 2012 we’ll be celebrating with books by bestselling authors who have been writing for us since the beginning, as well as brand-new authors who we’re very excited to have on board! There will also be top author reissues and special miniseries in all three lines. In particular, September 2012 will be a big month for LI. We’ll have lots of top authors, and a few surprises ;-) Stay tuned. And get excited—we certainly are!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Rachel!

We're celebrating Rachel's visit today with Love Inspired giveaways by Seeker authors to random blog visitors. Do let us know if there is a book you especially want.

Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

Glynna Kaye-Love Inspired-At Home In His Heart, Print

Ruth Logan Herne-Love Inspired- 2 three-book sets of Reunited Hearts, Small-Town Hearts and Mended Hearts,Kindle, Nook or Print.

Cheryl Wyatt-Love Inspired-Steadfast Soldier, Print

Tina Radcliffe-Love Inspired- 2 sets The Rancher's Reunion, and/or IOU for Oklahoma Reunion, Kindle or Print

Audra Harders-Love Inspired-Rocky Mountain Hero- Kindle or Print

Debby Giusti-Love Inspired Suspense- (2 prizes-one each)The Officer's Secret & Killer Headline, Kindle or Print

Janet Dean-Love Inspired Historical-Wanted: A Family, Kindle or Print

Missy Tippens-Love Inspired-A Family For Faith, Kindle or Print

Camy Tang-Love Inspired Suspense-Winner's choice of Deadly Intent or Formula for Danger, Kindle


That's not quite all. Today Seekerville is holding a 24 hour Love Inspired Read Me! Contest for Unpublished Authors.

Contest opens at 12 Midnight on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 (RIGHT NOW!) and ends at 12 Midnight on Thursday, August 4, 2011, Eastern Standard Time.

Submit your first and last page of an unpublished, completed manuscript targeted at Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense or Love Inspired Historical.

Five finalists will be announced on Sunday, August 28th, 2011 in the Weekend Edition. Those finalists will then be judged by today's guest, Editorial Assistant Rachel Burkot.

The winner will be announced on Sunday, October 2 at the launch of our Seekerville Fourth Birthday Party Celebration Weekend Edition. The winner will have an opportunity to avoid the slush pile and submit their first three chapters and synopsis of the completed winning manuscript to Rachel Burkot. The four remaining finalists will have an opportunity to submit their first three chapters and synopsis to Seekerville for an anonymous critique.

We request you do not pitch Rachel today in Seekerville nor ask contest questions on the blog. We do however ask that if you enter the contest you do leave a hi for our esteemed guest. No drive-by contesting.

Detailed rules for this contest are available on a special Read Me Contest tab at the top of this post.

Happy Wednesday, and again, thank you to Rachel Burkot for visiting, answering our questions and generously volunteering to judge our contest.


  1. I love being first...unless someone has beat me to it.

    Welcome, Rachel!

    We bought your NYC water boiled bagels to the party and plenty of Starbucks!!

  2. Hey Rachel!


    Thanks for sharing your big city adventures too.

    Tina - what? NDBC? (No drive by contesting?! Ha!)

    Happy day

    Would like to read any and all. Thx Seekers!

    I'm in a hospital Room as we speak, with my Mom too. Drat.

  3. Oh, what a great interview! Thank you so much, Rachel, for sharing all that info about your job with us! :)

    This next year I'm going to be a senior in college, and I have to ask: how did you get your job as editorial assistant? Did you see a job opening and send in your resume, then get picked for that opening? Or did you just send in your resume to lots of publishers and hope for an opening? I really would love to work at a publishing company as either a publicist or editor, so any advice on getting in would be SUPER! :)

    And to the Seekers, I would love a chance to win a print copy of Cheryl's book or one of Ruthy's books. Thank you!



  4. Welcome Rachel!

    Got the coffee pot all set for 3 a.m.

    Would love a copy of Ruthie's third Reunited Hearts book or Missy's A Family for Faith.


  5. Hi Rachel and welcome to Seekerville!

    You're one brave woman to leave home and go to NYC to follow your dreams! And I love the image of you on the playground, book in hand, your imagination running wild--reminds me of another little girl many (many!) years ago.

    Thanks for mentioning Hearts in Flight--but I can't take all the credit. The Lord sent a fantabulous editor my way!


  6. This was a way cool blog post until I got to the contest part and then I almost jumped out of my chair! I'm so excited! I just finished my new ms and I wrote it for the LIH line, hoping for a chance. Now I get to at least send the first and last pages! Yay! I love Seekerville, what can I say???

  7. Oh, *ahem*. Was that a drive-by post? Erk...
    Rachel, I loved your paragraph description of yourself! And good to know editors don't clear their desks off Dec. 31st!

  8. Hi Rachel love what you wrote. When you mention similar story lines. I went through a stage where the books had the heroine had a child which just happened to be the heros only he didn't know and they meet again. totally different stories but seemed to be the same in one way.

    Oh I could imagine the change from a smaller town to NYC. I come from a smallish town no traffic lights, public transport or even McDonalds.

    I would love to be considered for Glynna's new book as I have loved hers or Ruthy's although I have number one in the series. Same with Tinas I have her first one. (if thats allowable.) I just bought Debbie's latest last week and of course the March/april ones.

    I have to say I LOVE the LI lines. some my favourite people are LI authors. (Jillian Hart and I are going to meet to try out the myth if two klutz's meet we will balance it out) Cheryl Wyatt and I are going to watch a cricket match together when she visits Australia.

  9. Rachel, thanks for this great post. Your writing evoked clear images of your day and your work.

    I would love to win work from one of Seekerville's writers-- esp Tina, Ruth, Cheryl, or Audra.

  10. NY Bagel. Gimme! ;)

    RACHEL!!!! G'mornin', Sweet Thaaang!

    Oh my stars, I love it when the bosses come by. Is my hair good? Desk clean? Shoulders back? Chest out?

    AND... I wore totally darlin' stylin' shoes JUST FOR YOU!!!

    Great info, and don't you just wanna smack someone that there is NO COUNTRY MUSIC in NYC??? 'Sup wi dat? We need to protest. You lead, I'll follow. You even have Yankees that use country tunes to come to the plate... But no country music station. Bah.

    I'm so excited that you're here! And yes, I'm hard at work, stop scolding... A Family to Cherish is DELIGHTFULLY MOVING RIGHT ALONG. Have I mentioned I love my job?

    Okay, I'll stop prattling.

    But I do. I love my job. And I'm psyched that you're playin' with us today!

  11. Virginia, no, you're fine! The drive by just means you need to leave a comment to enter the contest. Can't just pop by, toss it in the mailbox and pray.

    We love hearin' from folks in Seekerville!

  12. Jenny, I hear you. My next hero is a fireman followed by a preacher because I had a crew of construction guys/carpenters in the opening books and ya' gotta change it up.

    And then I'm toying with sheriffs and first responders after that. Because cops are hot. I'm just sayin'... ;)

  13. Ruthy, I like sheriffs, they are cool so are drs or medical personel. (which is ironic when Im scared of Drs)
    Oh Wonder why no one seems to have a dentist as a hero! I actually like my dentist.
    I have had a run on books with sheriffs or deputies but thats ok I have loved them as they are so different.

  14. What a great peek into the exciting life of an editorial assistant. I'm just as curious as Amber. How did you land such a plum job, Rachel?

    And hey -- don't enter me for the contest because...ta da! I have all the books! How cool is that?!

    And congratulations to Harlequin for seeing and then meeting the need for quality inspirational romance!

  15. Rachel,

    Thanks for being with us today and sharing a bit about yourself. Loved meeting you at the Love Inspired office in June! Janet Dean and I were the ladies in comfy shoes. :)

    How fantastic to work with all the great people at LI! And aren't they lucky to have you. Yes, they are!

    You mentioned the front sales package quote. Would it ease your load if authors highlighted the quotes they thought might work?

  16. Ausjenny,

    Thanks so much for buying THE OFFICER'S SECRET. Hope you enjoy the story!

    Hugs heading to Australia!

  17. Thanks for mentioning a new reference book, Rachel. Jessica Morrell's THANKS, BUT THIS ISN'T FOR US sounds interesting and informative.

    I love Deb Dixon's GMC! A must-read for all aspiring writers, IMHO.

  18. Hi Rachel,
    So fun to see more about the life of an editor. I'm amazed at all you accomplish each month and I'm so proud to be part of the Love Inspired great line up of authors. Thanks for sharing.
    Susan Sleeman

  19. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks so much for sharing about your experience and giving some insight into the world of an editor.

    Your job sounds like a lot of work, but a lot of fun. I think the opportunity to read a great manuscript and know that you're going to help someone achieve their dream of publication would be extremely rewarding.

    Can't wait to see what Harlequin has planned for the 15 year anniversary!

    Would love a copy of Mended Hearts or the Officer's Secret.


  20. Rachel! Now I have a face for the name. I loved hearing you're a Pittsburgh girl. I live 3 hours north of Pittsburgh.

    I would have been so lost without your encouraging guidance through the book publishing process. Thanks so much for always being quick to answer my emails...even if my questions made you roll your eyes. ;)

    I'm beyond thrilled to be a part of the LI family.

  21. Welcome Rachel. Great post.

    Looks like lots of fun today.

    Jodie Wolfe

  22. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for taking time out to be with us all in Seekerville today!


  23. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraAugust 3, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Thanks for sharing with us Rachel! I haven't been able to stop by Seekerville for a while but it looks like I picked a great day to stop by!!

    I have a question for you Rachel, is there a certain college degree that helps you enter the editing field?

  24. Good morning, Rachel! How absolutely wonderful to have you in Seekerville!

    Absolutely LOVED your account of life in New York City. LOL! I can't even imagine consistantly waiting in check out lines of over a half an hour! Our city is just under 100,000 folks and rush hour is BRUTAL! LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!

    So much fun having you here today. Loved hearing you're active in the editorial process. Good for you; great for us!!

  25. Oh wait! I just have to share how WONDERFULLY PATIENT Rachel is with all the silly questions newbie authors pose her.

    Like me.

    I love Rachel. I really do!!

    (She's worth all the chocolate in the world!)

  26. Gosh, Rachel, your interview was fresh and fun like I imagine you must be, which leads me to suspect you're a writer as well as an editor -- true or false? I would think it might be true for most editors since editing goes hand-in-hand with good writing, but I have no idea. Do you know many editors who also write books?

    At any rate, WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!! It is SUCH a joy to have you here today, and I am so fascinated by you and your interview, it makes me want to sit right down and write an LI, which in my case, would probably end up being three of them since I tend toward 500-page books!!

    And I SO admire you tackling the big city by yourself at the age of "barely 22"!! Something tells me there just has to be a story in that as well!

    Thanks for a great blog today and God bless!


  27. Hello Rachel,

    Thank you for telling us about yourself, your job and LIH.


  28. Rachel, what a wonderful interview! Debra Dixon's book is must-have in my library. I have special place in my heart for LIH.

  29. Welcome to Seekerville, Rachel! How adventuresome and brave you are to have charged into the big city at 22! I've so much enjoyed working with you and Melissa Endlich!

  30. Hi Rachel, Welcome to Seekerville. Loved hearing your story and can just picture you around the playground and then transitioning to NYC. Wow. Talk about a great heroine with an interesting story arc.

    Thanks for taking the time to join us in Seekerville and for judging the contest. Hope you find some great winners for LI

    I brought some cream cheeses and lox to go with those bagels. Thanks Tina.

  31. Hi Rachel! You are one brave lady-I loved hearing about your transition to the big city and also your duties at Harlequin. I visited NYC once while in college and it was exciting but overwhelming for this TN gal. Regarding your pet peeve, I guess I'm in trouble since I love put accidents in my stories and see the hero/heroine in danger! lol May have to rethink my strategy. :)

  32. Oh, Rachel, you do indeed have a “dream” job, though I know it must be terribly hard to be so far away from your family. I live in Louisiana, but am from Ohio, and half of my family, including my siblings, are up there. It’s very difficult, but I am beyond blessed to have my mommy (yes, I still call her mommy!) with me. I LOVE the Amish people in my old town. They lend such a wonderful, quaint atmosphere. I miss seeing the buggies and the straw hats, and the adorable children following after the mums!

    It’s been a real treat to get an inside glimpse at Harlequin and a day in the life of an Editorial Assistant. Many thanks from the Seekerville readers and we hope you come back and visit!

    Giving away Seeker books?! What a decision… of course, can you really go wrong with any of them? I’m reading Debby Giusti’s THE OFFICER’S SECRET right now and am really enjoying it, so I’m up for KILLER HEADLINES, or a couple others I’ve been itchy about are ROCKY MOUNTAIN HERO by Audra Harders and WANTED: A FAMILY by Janet Dean. And Reunited Hearts sounds SO good, oh, and A Family for Faith… Just put me in the drawing for any of them. LOL (It’s an acronym, you all!)


  33. Hi all! I'm so excited to be featured on Seekerville today! Thank you SO MUCH to Tina, Ruth, Glynna, Missy, Audra, Janet, Debby and all of the other Seekers for having me on board today :) I'm thrilled to share a little insight into the editorial world behind the Love Inspired books and to answer questions!

  34. Oh my stars, bagel toppings arriving!

    Lox... Cream cheese... Ruthy-jams and jellies... chives... onions... cinnamon and sugar for you lightweights.

    And I just grabbed a FRESH box from the Bagel Hole in Brooklyn, and fresh makes all the difference according to national bagel taste tests.

    (National means NYC because no one else's taste test really matters. Just so you know.)

    Grab 'em fresh. No dough softeners or preservatives, so fresh is ESSENTIAL TO BAGEL GREATNESS, but so remarkable as to be defined. Bringing in Leo's later (financial district) for lunch, their shrimp salad is A-STINKIN'-MAZING.

    'Sall I'm sayin'.

  35. Hi Rachel! Welcome to Seekerville! I loved hearing more about you and your job as an Editorial Assistant for Harlequin! I'm always impressed with how hard editors work. You all rock!

    We were in NYC for RWA. We took a tour, went to the Top of the Rock, cruised by Miss Liberty, rode the subway--had a blast. Times Square is a 24-hour neon circus! :-)

    The contest is a terrific opportunity! Hoping for lots of entries.

    KC, prayers for your mom.

    I brought apple fritters.


  36. Good morning, Rachel! Thanks for sharing your journey from small-town PA to the Big Apple. It took some serious guts for you to tackle NYC at such a young age. As one of those lucky new authors working with you, I'm really glad you did :)

    BTW--your optimism in the face of all that work is AMAZING.

  37. Well, obviously the bagels are long gone, so going to make a NYC run for fresh deli fare.

    Good morning Seekerville!!!

  38. Rachel -- About how many queries do the three LI lines receive each week/month?

  39. Audra, I second your comment--Rachel is worth MY weight in chocolate!

    And I had a bagel this morning in celebration of her visit on Seekerville-YUM!

  40. Great interview! I'm also the oldest of three girls and love my younger sisters so much. We get along great. Plus, I spent most of my school days reading. lol
    It sounds like you love your job. Thank you for sharing about it!

  41. Welcome Rachel, thanks for sharing with us. I’m a big fan of LI and love to hear about the publishing process. What a great job!

    My best friend in college was from the Pittsburgh area. Her family took pity on this California girl far from home by letting me spend Thanksgivings with them. Years (and years) later I’m still impressed with how warm and kind folks from that neck of the woods are to visitors.

    Go Steelers!

    I have only three chapters left in Small-Town Hearts so of course if I’m picked I’d want Mending Hearts.


  42. Okay, I've got my yogurt and my coffee, now I'm ready to answer questions :-) Though you're all making me want to run to the closest deli and grab a bagel instead. YUM!

    Amber and Kav: To answer your questions about working in publishing, my best advice is to apply to internships first. (I don't know anyone who got started in publishing without first interning.) Before I moved to New York, I applied online to dozens of internships and ended up getting a great one with two literary agencies that shared an office suite. So you can definitely intern at an agency and then end up working for a publishing house, or vice-versa. I learned so much from the agents I worked for, and when I started at Harlequin I got to see the whole other side of the biz--the fabulous world of editing! And every day, I'm continuing to learn from the best here :-)

    Laura: I was an English major in college. I also minored in writing and communications. And I have friends in publishing who have various educational backgrounds: communications, journalism, even public relations. So there are a variety of routes you can go to end up in publishing!

    Julie: Am I a writer too? I love writing very much and find it to be a therapeutic activity. I actually don't know many editors who also write books though--these creative pursuits are such time investments that I imagine anyone trying to be both a full-time writer and editor would need to give up sleep--and forget about having a social life!

  43. Hey Rachel, it was an unexpected pleasure to meet you at RWA NYC. Okay, that sounds like I didn't expect to enjoy meeting you, LOL. The unexpected part was that I wasn't scheduled to meet you, but that's the way it worked out. :)

    So there's no country music in NY? Being a prairie girl, I hadn't noticed. I guess I was too busy looking up at the tall buildings and listening to the city static (horns, sirens, screams, heh).

    I love your line, "Because I’m still counting my blessings that I’ve found a job where the line between work and fun is often blurred—in fact, usually invisible." I hope you'll always feel that way.

    Since I was 14, my dream has been to write for Harlequin and while reading your post, the enthusiasm you show for this company glows like a lighthouse on a stormy night. It's drawing me closer...stirring the flames...reminding me of the manuscript I need to finish...Yikes!

    Thanks for coming to Seekerville with such an insightful post. Have a great day!

    Anita Mae.

  44. Tina, great interview with Rachel.

    But the 'No drive-by contesting' comment took me by surprise. Seems that trip to New York had more of an effect that we thought. :D

    Anita Mae.

  45. Glynna: I mostly just get queries for Love Inspired, though I do get the occasional ones for LIH/LIS. Of course it varies from week to week, but my best estimate is probably 6-8 queries per week.

  46. 6-8, well we need to step it up around here, Friends of Seekerville.

    Get those submissions going.

    We want another first sale party!

  47. Wow, Rachel! I can't imagine how many of us "readers" are so jealous of your job! :o) Sounds like it's very busy, but very rewarding, too. I enjoyed your interview!

    southernsassythings at gmail dot com

  48. Hi Rachel! What a pleasure to read your interview. So refreshing to hear from an editor who is so optimistic and full of energy and spark. You truly convey your love for your work. I would have withdrawal symptoms without country music! Hope you brought some in the move to enjoy. Question: When reading a synopsis, what sells you on wanting to read the manuscript and what turns you off?
    I'd love a book from Cheryl Wyatt or Audra Harders!

  49. Rachel,
    Thanks for the great view into your life. How wonderful to spend your days doing something you love!

  50. Hi Carol Ann, in a syopsis I like to see strong characters whose goals come across right away. Characters on a mission with interesting, believable motivation driving them from the outset. I also look for a unique story premise, something that catches my eye immediately--as I mention in the interview, perhaps some fresh, different character occupations. I also look for a sense of the characters' conflicts, what's going to be keeping the hero/heroine apart, to sense whether the author has a good grasp of romantic conflict and tension. Otherwise, the story's not going to be compelling or strong enough to acquire.

  51. LOL, Anita. No drive by contesting makes sure we stay a community here in Seekerville not just a freebie station. We actually LIKE to chat.

  52. Rachel, it's a pleasure to "meet" you here in Seekerville! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences as an editorial assistant--and especially the insights into writing for LI!

    Oh, boy, I am a seasoned veteran of LI rejections! But I'm so envious of all the fun my LI-writing Seeker sisters have that I just can't stop trying.

    (Latest R was one of those ubiquitous horse therapy ranch stories--fortunately picked up by another publisher--AHEM!!!--and coming out this month!)

    Maybe one of these days I'll find just the right characters for an LI romance, and just the right plot...

    And write it just the right way...

    Hmmm, what are the odds???

  53. Thanks for the great interview! I loved hearing the details of life as an editor in New York. Thanks so much!

  54. Hi Rachel,

    It sounds as if you have a great job! You describe it with such enthusiasm. And I love your details about life in NYC--I visit there fairly often because my brother lives there, but I can't quite imagine living and working there.

    I would love to win a copy of "A Family for Faith."

  55. Rachel,
    Do most of Harlequin's manuscripts come through agents? How do new writers generally break in?
    Thanks so much,
    PS I can understand your country music withdrawal. I had the same feeling when we lived overseas, which led to my iTunes addiction. I missed country radio so much!

  56. Hi Rachel! I loved hearing a little bit about yourself and now I have a face to put with your name.

    I can so relate to loving books at an early age. I was the kid who read all the stories in my literature book ahead of schedule, then inserted a library book to read while my classmates caught up.

    I was very excited to hear you are reviewing 10 full manuscripts and 10 partials. I'm one of the partials. :)

    Love bagels!

    Selena Fulton

  57. I wanted to say hello to Rachel. Thank you for a wonderful, insightful interview.

    I started reading Love Inspired books about two years ago. When my mother was alive I ordered them for her in large print and she passed them around her Sunday School class of women over 80--they loved them.

    Now I have begun to write a LIH but I'm short about 50K words to send a first and last page.

    Oh no, not high heels. I loved them but they didn't love me and I fell over more than I stood up.

    Have a great day in Seekerville and New York.

  58. I love these kind of blogs! The background in how Love Inspireds "work" is fascinating to me! All those questions and answers were great to read! Thanks! I would love to have any of Ruthy's books, Missy's book (I never got to read that one!), Audrea's book or At Home in His Heart! What a great contest! Loved reading all the comments too. LI's and LIH's are my favorites! Valri

  59. Hey Larissa, we do get manuscripts from agents, but many submissions I receive are unagented. Here's a link to our guidelines: LI:

  60. Hi Rachel! You've sure brought some excitement to Seekerville!

    Not that things aren't always exciting around here, but there's just something about that breath of NYC air.

    Your comment about moving to New York at "barely age 22" tilted me a bit - but then I remembered myself at 22. Touring Europe with just me, a backpack and a Eurail Pass. I think I need to remember myself at that age more often!

    You really do have the dream job - thanks for stopping by and sharing it with us.

    And of course I want to be included in the drawing, but it's hard to find a book in the list that I haven't read yet. Tell you what, just put me in for whatever, and if I already have it I'll pass it on!

  61. It's great to hear someone who not only takes pride in their job but love it. The excitement bubbles through.

  62. Hi Rachel, Thank you for sharing. It's great to hear someone who not only takes pride in their job but love it. The excitement bubbles through.

    Still getting the hang of these blogs.

  63. Hi Rachel! Congrats on being able to do something you love in the big city! I'm impressed with your high-heel wearing skills : ). When I finished college I went out on my own and moved to another country...didn't know anyone I would be working with. But what an awesome adventure...I loved it! It sounds like you have grown to love your new home, too.
    I was wondering what your favorite book is? I've loved reading from a young age, too, and it's hard for me to choose maybe you have a couple of favs?

    I'd love a chance to win Wanted: A Family.

  64. Hi Stacey! Ah, the question every editor dreads: picking a favorite book. To me, that's akin to asking a surfer to pick a favorite wave! As I mentioned, I'm a huge Nicholas Sparks fan and have read 'em all (and seen all the movies). I can't help it--I'm a hopeless romantic! Very, very different, but my favorite classic is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I love the colorful, passionate characters and I can just feel the energy and excitement of the French Revolution in every page. Another favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I have a soft spot for coming-of-age stories, and as someone who grew up spending her childhood summers in southern Louisiana, I also have a great fondness for the South, and I easily connect to books set in that part of the country. Since college I have been very into women's fiction, and I could rant and rave about Emily Giffin and her 5 bestsellers and the deep, heartfelt issues they tackle, including relationships, soulmates, faithfulness, loyalty, motherhood, etc. I really could go on and on!

  65. What a wonderful interview, Rachel! Thank you! As a Jersey girl who loves NYC, I caught your excitement about the Big Apple. But as a fellow believer, I especially caught your sweet spirit.

    Thanks and Blessings,


  66. Welcome Rachel!

    It's wonderful to meet you and find out all about your interesting job! If I were starting out all over again, that's what I would love to do. (Too bad I never thought about it when I was 20!! LOL.)

    The Love Inspired line is my absolute favourite of the Harlequin prints. I'm just thrilled that they are doing so well. Quality books and lovely covers at a great price. What more could you want?

    Will definitely be entering that contest!

    Thanks for being here!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

    PS. As for the book giveaway, I've read a lot of them, but put me down for Glynna's, Ruth's, or Cheryl's. Thanks!

  67. Good morrrrrrrning, Seekerville! Had to sashay over here from Facebook at Ruthie's suggestion, but I haven't had my morning coffee yet. Drat! Tina, is some of your Starbucks elixir still available?

    Thanks, Rachel, for this great peek into your busy life. I've never been to NY. Vancouver, Canada is my stomping ground and is plenty big enough for me... AND we have not one but TWO country music stations!

    I'd be very happy to get my hands on one of Ruthie's books or Debby Giusti's, either a print or Kindle copy... something to read with this great cup of coffee. (Thanks, Tina!)

  68. Hi Rachel, it was great to meet you in June.
    Love hearing how it works in the offices.
    Exciting to hear about the LI anniversary plans. Thank you for all you do to make our books the best they can be.

  69. Well Carol, the one thing you can always count on in Seekerville is the unexpected and JAVA!!! Leaded or Unleaded. Tea only if Helen is around.

    And you are right, Rachel held back nothing in her interview. Really gives you a taste for her job.

  70. Rachel,

    Thanks for the peek into your life! Sounds exciting, although it also sounds like you work a lot.

    Would you be able to expound on the idea of starting with a bang? I've heard Harlequin editors say they don't want a "gimmick." How about an example from something published? Since these are emotional books, are you speaking of something that is not necessarily external?

    Thanks for adding a visit to Seekerville to your to-do list.

    Cathy, who would love a set of Ruthy's books

  71. Hi Rachel! Glad you're enjoying your stint at Harlequin and in NYC. From a native New Yorker now transplanted, preserve your feet. Yes, you can do it at your age, but NYC concrete is very unforgiving. Don't wait until you have to give up heels completely. Carry your shoes (unless you're on your way to an event.) No one thinks any less of you if you do. :-)

  72. Hi Rachel:

    No country music in NYC?

    Here’s why:

    You can thank Buck Owens!

    As a reader, I agree with your comments about what needs to be in a story. I would ask for one more thing which I want to see:

    The heroine needs to give the hero ample reasons why he should fall in love with her. Not just looks or hormones. Whatever she looks like, the hero should be thinking: “Don’t let this one get away!” This should be independent from the GMC journey. It should be: “This heroine is the right person for this hero.”

    One question: “When does history end for Love Inspired Historical romances?” 1946? 1954?

    Wish list: more books set during the Roman Empire.


    P.S. I think I have all the Seerker books (that are available in large print format or eBook). I’m reading “Mended Hearts” and “At Home in His Heart” right now. I need to win more time in a day. : )

    BTW: How come “Mended Hearts” seems to have a prologue that is contemporaneous with Chapter One? Befuddled! Is this a type 5 prologue? : )

  73. Oh, I am so glad Rachel is answering your questions today, Vince, and not me.

    What?? No poems today?? I am bereft.

  74. Hi, Tina! Hi, Rachel! Loved the interview. It was interesting AND informative.

    I'm a bigger fan of contemporary and historical romance, rather than suspense. Otherwise, I'd be happy to have a chance at winning any of them.

    Thanks so much!

  75. I definitely want the chance to win free books too!

    Selena Fulton

  76. Hi, Rachel! So fun to learn more information about you. I can sure see why you do such a good job on my books. I also love Nicholas Sparks. He makes me bawl. But as a romantic, I hate that most of his stories end with someone dying. He makes me appreciate happy endings more. :) Leigh

  77. Thank so much for your links, Rachel. Your life sounds like a great chick lit novel! Congratulations on your successes. Maybe I'll meet you at a conference one day.

  78. Hello, lovely Rachel! It was so nice to meet you in NYC! I love shoes, too, but I'm afraid I can't walk very far in high heels. I wore my FitFlops everywhere when I was there. Thanks so much for your great post. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to do this. We're so blessed to have you at Love Inspired. Tell everyone I said hello, and yes, I'm going back to work now.

  79. Hey, Tina, what happened to the FOOD you went to NYC for?????

    I'm starving!

    Great interview, and the contest sounds so intriguing. Can't wait to see what rises to the top.

    Too fun!

  80. Great interview! Really appreciate knowing what Rachel is looking for(and what she's not. lol).

    Thank you so much Seekerville for your great posts. I'd like either of Camy Tang's books. Already have several of the others.

  81. Rachel. I love that you mentioned what you're heavy on because part of that IS MY FAULT!

    I was chatting with Mia Ross (Andrea Chermak) online yesterday because I've been construction/carpenter guy heavy! And even in the books without one as a hero, we're busily rebuilding Jamison, NY so they're there as part of the backdrop. (and yeah, they're hunky, but enough already!).

    Oh my stars.

    So my next proposal will be sheriffs. First responders. Gotta change things up a bit, and thank you for mentioning that so openly. Be it horses or handymen, we can't just keep replicating the same story.

    Duly Noted!!! And I LOVE writing about sheriffs/cops. Men and women. God bless 'em all. Don't you just love, love, love a man in uniform?


  82. Hugs to Whitney for reading THE OFFICER'S SECRET. You've got me smiling.

    Loved Mario Batali's Eataly on the corner of 5th and 23rd, near the flat iron building. I gave a shout out to Mario and asked if he'd stop by Seekerville. He's bringing pizza and pasta and all the gelato Seekerville can eat! Enjoy!

  83. Mary Ann, waving to you! Good to see you, kiddo!

  84. Hey, Rachel!! So glad to have you with us today! What a fun interview.

    But I have to admit. We're die hard Atlanta Falcons fans here in my household. Have had season tickets for over 20 years. I hope you can still bear to work with me on books! LOL

  85. Ah, Ruthy to the rescue. Shrimp salad is good.


  86. You lived in LA, Rachel?

    Were you close to Leesville? I lived there and then Fort Polk, an Army post where hubby was stationed for a number of years.

  87. What an awesome interview! Thanks so much for taking the time.

  88. Rachel -- I enjoyed getting to know you a little better. I'm in awe of anyone who can walk in the super high heels in NYC. You're fearless and that's what you need, in my humble opinion, to be an editor these days so I'm not surprised you can do it. I haven't had the pleasure of working with you on much yet, but I look forward to doing so some day.

  89. I forgot to mention in my post that I would like "print" books! I don't have an ereader! I love the feel of holding a book! My mom was a teacher and taught all her kids to love reading! I've taught my own kids the same thing. Since they are all in college now, I guess I taught them one thing! Hey, DEBBIE, I loved Officer's Secret too! I've read every one of your books and enjoed them all! In fact, I really can't think of a LI or LIH that I've read that I didn't love! I guess that means that Rachel is doing her job well! All of your experiences in NYC sounded so fun. I bet all of you had a great time there! Valri

  90. Hey there Cathy, by starting with a bang, I mean an attention-grabbing first line, first page, first chapter. I'm aware that often a bit of set-up to put readers into the story is necessary, but the less description/backstory, the better, in my opinion. Give the minimum, only what's necessary for readers to jump in! Also, get the hero and heroine together as quickly as possible. I'm especially drawn to funny, quirky or different "meet-cutes." Have them first meet in a humorous situation, an interesting place or by bonding over something they both witness, etc.

    A few examples of really strong openings: THE GUNMAN’S BRIDE by Catherine Palmer, Jan 2011 LIH: Starts with an action-packed chase scene with the outlaw hero on the run--straight to the heroine's window! DAUGHTER OF TEXAS by Terri Reed, Jan 2011 LIS: An intense beginning that combines danger and emotion, with high stakes from page 1, as the heroine realizes there's gunfire coming from her father's house--and he's inside! ROCKY MOUNTAIN REDEMPTION by Pamela Nissen, Feb 2011 LIH: An opening that immediately generates sympathy for the heroine by portraying her as destitute, wandering around in the snow after losing everything. AN ACCIDENTAL FAMILY by Loree Lough, June 2011 LI: Very emotional beginning as the hero, a widower, contemplates his own loneliness as he walks his youngest daughter down the aisle at her wedding.

    Additionally, here are a few of my favorite first lines from Love Inspired books:

    “At precisely one o’clock on a sunny September Saturday afternoon, Megan McGuire spied the pirate.”—DREAMING OF HOME by Glynna Kaye, Oct 2009 (I’m intrigued and want to keep reading!)

    “While ‘Mac’ MacCarthy hadn’t counted on peace and quiet when he returned to his office, he hadn’t anticipated an opera-singing cockatoo, either.”—BLUEGRASS CHRISTMAS by Allie Pleiter , Oct 2009 (Hilarious! I can tell this story will have a fresh, fun voice.)

    “The man and the two little boys stared down at the disheveled woman asleep on the big Ultrasuede couch in their living room.”—THE PERFECT GIFT by Lenora Worth, Oct 2009 (Begs many questions that I want answers to!)

    “When the bells above the door of the coffee shop jangled, Dodie Westerveld looked up from the latte she was making and felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her.”—CLOSE TO HOME by Carolyne Aarsen, Nov 2009 (Yup, I’m in for a toe-tingling romance all right!)

    “The first time Addie McCoy saw Nathan Browder, he was in children’s pajamas.”—“The Holiday Husband” by Annie Jones, part of BLESSINGS OF THE SEASON anthology, Nov 2009 (Curious…)

    “The roses were perfect, and so was her plan.”—A WEDDING IN WYOMING by Deb Kastner, Dec 2009 (Okay…I’m a sucker for roses! Come on, it’s the quintessential symbol of romance!)

    “Dr. Craig Macklin saw nothing but the massive creature before him, a huge, white and hairy Maremma guard dog beleaguered by a face full of porcupine quills.”—WAITING OUT THE STORM by Ruth Logan Herne, July 2010 (Really, do I have to explain why this is a compelling first line?)

    “The woman was crying.”—THE DOCTOR’S PERFECT MATCH by Irene Hannon, Jan 2010 (4 words in, I’m already sympathetic to this heroine!)

    “This is the second-worst day of my life.”—A SOLDIER’S DEVOTION by Cheryl Wyatt, Jan 2010 (Why? What happened? What was her worst day? get the idea)

    “Unemployed. Single. And out of brownie mix.”—A VALENTINE’S WISH by Betsy St. Amant, Feb 2010 (This is just amazing.)

  91. Vince: Ahhh, that video explains it all! And reminds me why I like MODERN country music, LOL! As for your question, LIH books can go up to the end of the World War II. Nothing more recent because, well...then it's not so historical, is it?!

    Debby: My mom’s from Houma, Louisiana, a town about 50 miles south of New Orleans. Most of her family’s still there, so I go to visit as often as I can. I absolutely love that part of the country—it’s a whole ‘nother world—especially compared to NYC!

  92. Caroline Faye PrivetteAugust 3, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Rachel, I love your enthusiasm for your career. I also love the sweet image of you as a little girl on the playground, absorbed in a good book! I'm thinking my teachers didn't allow us to take our books outside, or else I would have been sitting under the trees reading instead of playing hopscotch. What were your favorite childhood books?

    I'm so interested in what y'all at Seekerville have to offer today that I'm finally using my real name for a change!

  93. Hi Rachel. It was fun to meet you in New York City. It was at the Algonquin Hotel and Tina introduced us. (I'm reminding you in case you perhaps were insanely busy and met about upteen zillion people that night--I was one of them)
    Interesting info on Love Inspired. I thought it was especially interesting that you can acquire for all the Harlequin lines. I've wondered about that. If someone sends you a book that you love but isn't right for your catagory but might be right for another one.
    Thanks for being on.

  94. Caroline: I'm not sure I was technically "allowed" to bring books on the playground either :-P (Ah, so THAT'S why I have nightmares of playground moms chasing me with volleyballs...and why I involuntarily flinch when a ball whizzes by me.) I read a lot of series books as a child--so I was basically destined to work on series romance books! I was sooooooo into the Baby-Sitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins and Nancy Drew!

  95. Rachel,
    Thanks for this insightful post and the new info.

    The fact that you have a reading obsession, shoe fettish, AND are a family girl - gee whiz, I like you already :-)

    Is LI open to unique U.S. locations? Let's Blue Ridge Mountains for example? :-)

    Thanks for hanging out here and sharing your wisdom. I am NOT a city girl, so it's also night to read about that perspective too.


  96. Don't be so hard on yourself, Ruthy.
    Carpenters are like cowboys with hammers instead of six shooters ;-)

    Still cute!

  97. Hi Mary, of course I remember you! And yup, if I get a manuscript I love but it's not for Love inspired, I could acquire it for another Harlequin line. I think that's a great testament to the importance of finding projects you're passionate about! Why should you have to pass up a story you fall in love with just because it's not for your specific line? :-)

  98. Rachel -

    Thanks for the examples of great first lines. And yes, I want to read them all (even the ones I've already read!)

    Now I need to go back and re-read my own first lines...

    And the buffet table is looking a little bare with all the action around here today. How about some fresh raspberries and vanilla ice cream for a mid-afternoon snack? Are the bagels all gone?

    (And waving a big "hi" to Susan Holloway!)

  99. Hi Pepper, excellent question and I'm so glad you brought that up! Love Inspired is indeed looking for unique settings--the Blue Ridge Mountains sounds like it would make a lovely environment for a romance.

  100. Mary Bailey came out of her alias.

    Welcome, Caroline!!

  101. And Rachel, for all us Colorado gals, you have a history here as well, right?

  102. I ate it the food Pam.

    Wouldn't you?

    I have to say, NYC is sure a busy, sensory overload city but they sure know how to eat. China town bakery, Little Italy. Good thing you NYers walk every where.

  103. You're correct Tina, I do have a bit of Colorado history, though I don't remember it. I was born in Littleton (near Denver), and then I lived in 3 more states (California, Louisiana and Pennsylvania), all by the time I was 4 years old. So I just call Pittsburgh home because that's where we settled and where I was raised, but it is kinda neat that I got to live for brief stints in other states. Also, my family was very big on cross-country travel growing up. We'd pile the 5 of us into the cab of my dad's truck, hitch up our trusty pop-up camper and hit the road for 2-3 weeks every summer. I've been to 45 of the 50 states. (Good old camper's got me beat, though--it's been to every state except Alaska and Hawaii!)

  104. Ah, Rachel, that opening line from Waiting Out the Storm....


    Oh my stars, this is so much fun today, but Pepper, THANK YOU!!! You're right a hammer and a hardhat ...

    That's not a BAD combo.

    But I felt a NIGGLE of Ruthy-guilt when I saw that house rehab thing because I KNOW we've been rehabbing our economically challenged Jamison ever since Trent Michaels (dreamboat Reunited Hearts hero, Patrick Dempsey cute) came back to help the town.

    But I got me a two-thumbs-up CEO ruler of the high tech universe hero in Mended Hearts...

    And so stinkin' lovable....


  105. Rachel, I'm so psyched by that awesome image of you in the truck! We love cruisin' in the truck and it's something most kids don't get to do these days, but we do it in the back fields to give them the 'feel' of bein' country kids.

    Because they'd arrest us if we took 'em truckin' on the roads.

    Awesome image and I love your parents already.

  106. Rachel,
    I nearly laughed out of my chair when I read your comment about country music in the Big Apple - or lack thereof.
    I'm in eastern TN - I don't think they sell any other type of music besides Country and Bluegrass 'round hyere ;-)

  107. Nancy Drew? I read every book, and then reread them. My LIS roots run deep. :)

    Loved the first lines. Thanks for sharing, Rachel!

  108. Waving to Caroline!

    The name suits you.

    Would be a lovely name for a character too!

    May I borrow?

  109. What a great life! Thanks for sharing with us today.
    No country music? Country music is full of love and passion. How can you stand it?
    I'm going to have my 18 year old son read this today. He's going off to college and a pretty good writer. He's focused on English and business. Do you have any suggestions for him?
    If I ask him to read a blog post of mine he often looks at me and asks if that's the best I can do.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    I'd also like to be entered in contest.

  110. Hi Jackie, if your son is interested in publishing, I'll give the same advice I gave earlier about getting a job in the business: He should try out internships to see if it's his passion. (I don't know anyone who got started in publishing without first interning.) If he's interested in business, he might find agenting an appealing career path. In general, agents are more interested in the sales side than editors. I had a great internship with two literary agencies that shared an office suite. Also, you can definitely intern at an agency and then end up working for a publishing house, or vice-versa. So basically, my advice is to learn as much about the industry as he can!

  111. Oh my goodness. What a day to almost miss! Thank goodness for a friend who cracked her whip. LoL

    So good to meet you, Rachel. I cannot imagine moving to NYC at 22 or 52 for that matter. *shiver*

    Loved the interview. =]
    I forgot to look at the books--oops.

  112. This was a great interview! I loved learning what Ms. Burkot does for a living!

    Please enter me in the giveaway!

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  113. Interesting post! I'd love a copy of Ruthy's newest book or any of Tina's books or Debby's newest! Thanks for the chance! (print form)


  114. Supper...

    For the thronging masses:

    Deb supplied Italian from the "Eataly" which is just too cute for words....

    So let's grab some Thai food to munch on for the dinner crowd. How about King Kheeo Wan pork and Kang Phet Chicken.

    Is that something?

    Basmati rice because nothing else is acceptable at Ruthy's House of Thai.

  115. Hi Rachel:

    While she is not with Love Inspired, she does inspire love – of the edgy kind!

    Here is one of my favorite opening lines from A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman:

    “Sisters are overrated, she decided. Not all of them, of course, only the beautiful ones who never let you forget it.”

    This sold me on the book…one of the last books I bought in a real bookstore.

    I, too, would like to see more variation in the occupations of the heroes. The hero’s occupation often dictates the heroine’s as well. The common problem is having two occupations that allow the hero and heroine to have maximum face-to-face interactions.

    Handyman = heroine who works from home.
    Cowboy = woman who works in ranch house.
    Cop = woman who needs protection or who runs a doughnut shop. : )

    Does LI have a list of occupational matchups to give authors?

    I’d like to see:

    Diving instructor = underwater archeologist
    Geologist = forest ranger
    Photographer = Grand Canyon guide

    These matchups would make great cover art. I believe that authors should ‘write what they don’t know about but leaned about just before writing the story.’ This way they are still full of enthusiasm from their discoveries which they can’t wait to share with their readers.


  116. Hi Rachel.I read your post earlier today but then had to run out the door to head in town. As I was walking up Fifth Ave., I was thinking of you and how brave you were to have attempted this move. The city overwhelms me and I've lived here for over 30 years.

    Thanks for sharing your answers. Your books in the schoolyard story reminds me of some of my students.

    Tina, why am I not surprised you brought Starbucks? I think were it not for Starbucks I'd never have seen you at all at RWA.


  117. Venti coffee of the day with room for cream.

    Yep. Good to see you Mary!!

  118. Rachel, I know you are two hours ahead of me so you may be leaving the office want to thank you so much for giving us so much information and so much of your time.

    We are so appreciative!

  119. I second Tina's sentiment.

    You really went all out on my question about first lines. So helpful! Not what I expected, either.

    Thank you!!

  120. Wow, Rachel looks soooo young! I'd love to know how she landed such a great job at such a young age. (I don't know if anyone asked that, because there are already 121 comments and I can't get through them all!)

    What a great giveaway and what a great contest! I've been lurking for quite awhile and just had to jump in and say you ladies are awesome!

  121. Rachel, thank you!

    And Mary C. and Tina, I hear ya' on the Starbucks.

    Love the place. I'm such an addict.

    And I love that they are everywhere in Manhattan. Seriously, the need to cross a street is non-existent.

    Oh my stars, my kind of city living!

  122. Thank YOU, Tina, and all of the other Seekers for having me! Really, the pleasure was all mine :) It was so much fun to hang out with you all today! To everyone I did not get to personally respond to, thank you so much for popping on to say hello, and for your interest in Love Inspired. It was lovely to “meet” so many followers of the wonderful Seekers! I hope I’ve enlightened the editorial process for you all, and answered those burning questions to help you fine-tune the Love Inspired queries you’re dying to send! I’ll be looking for submissions from you all soon ;-)

    To our fabulous Love Inspired authors--thanks for stopping by and saying hello. Whether we’ve worked together on a book, chatted over email or danced together at Harlequin’s RWA party, I am so blessed to work with such an amazing, talented and delightful batch of writers. Really, you ladies are a joy and a blessing, and the opportunity to work with you all is what gets me out of bed every morning and keeps the constant smile on my face (err…mostly constant)!

    Now--I think I hear an R train heading south to Brooklyn with my name on it…catch y’all down the road!

  123. Rachel, great to see you here.

    I know you said you're a pro football fan but do you have any college football teams that you particularly like?

    No on the books as I have all but three (Glynna's, Ruthy's, Tina's latest). And, as I won the previuos books from these three wonderful people, I want to purchase the next one. However, if for some reason my name is picked anyway, I would be happy to give one away at the next GRW meeting.

    I definitely will be entering the contest.

  124. Looks like it's been a busy day in Seekerville. I've been lounging around with a book since my AC went out and was too hot to do anything - including sitting my laptop on my lap for any length of time. It's my b-day and I decided to have time to myself.

    Rachel, your pet peeve is my pet peeve. I hate contrived scenes. If it's realistic and moves the story where it needs to go, fine. But don't create drama just for the sake of creating drama. Make it fit the story!

    I have some of the books listed, but not all. You could put me down for Glynna Kaye's, Ruth's Mended Hearts, Tina's Oklahoma Reunion, Audra's Rocky mt Hero, Debbie or Camy's books. I think I have the others. So, surprise me. :D If I win.

  125. Hi Walt, I only really follow the NFL, but I do root for Notre Dame and Pitt--family connections :)

  126. WHOO-WEE, what a day in Seekerville!!!

    Rachel, I knew you had to be a writer from the sound of this post, so that's exciting!!

    And, VINCE, you sweetheart, you!! Thanks for the plug for A Passion Most Pure -- that was really sweet.


  127. Rachel,
    Thanks for taking the time to do the interview today--and for mentioning The Baby's Bodyguard! It was fun working on that book with you :)

    I love when Seekerville has editors for a visit. It's great to see a tiny picture of life somewhere else.

    Hi to all my Seekerville friends!

  128. Happy Birthday, Linnette! Sorry about your AC. Hope you've had a "cool" day anyway!

  129. Rachel,

    Thanks for being with us today! It's been fun and informative. We love everyone at Love Inspired and are so grateful for what you do to make our stories shine.

  130. HI Valri, thanks for mentioning THE OFFICER'S SECRET. Glad you enjoyed the story!

    Always good to see you in Seekerville!


  131. Wow Rachel, you really do have a dream job.

    Having just been to New York for RWA, I feel like you described it perfectly.

    All of the Love Inspired are fabulous reads. I can always find something to match my mood.

    Thanks for the great post.


  132. Hi, Rachel! Welcome to Seekerville. I'm sorry I'm late to the party. My internet has been down since noon. Thanks for visiting and answering so many questions.

  133. Ah! Promised I'd make it and I did! Though I'm late to the party. :( Hope you all had fun! Though from the comment load, I'd say you did. :)

    My "hello" to Rachel! I'm always so excited to see posts from editors, what a priveledge to read! (and one I will have to remember to come back to later, too late in the day right now. :)

    Note for the Seekers, I would love to be entered for one of Ruthy's books. Kindle or print. Thanks! :)

  134. Dudes! What a fun day! I'm totally bageled out, but loved every minute of it. And so fun to have so many folks stop by.

    Late night snack: Popcorn.

    Fresh, air-popper. Not microwave. With REAL BUTTER and salt.

    And napkins.

    Yankees are winning 13-6...And Jeter looks like... well... Jeter.


    My day is complete.

  135. Thanks again for joining us today, Rachel! Great interview & lots of fun! (And so glad you liked the opening line of my "Dreaming of Home!")

  136. Rachel, thanks so much for playing in Seekerville today. Sorry I couldn't hang around much, it's fair time in Boulder County so my days are all work and maybe 6-7 hours sleep.

    Hectic pace, but bummer dudes -- it's not like I'm losing weight!!

    Thanks for all the great pointers and suggestions for queries and opening lines. Gotta start with a bang and keep running with it.

    You are truly such a sweetheart, Rachel. Prayers for all your own dreams coming true!!

  137. Linnette, happy birthday!! Bummer about the AC, girlfriend! Hope you found a pool and dunked for a while.

  138. Pepper, the Blue Ridge Mountains sound absolutely enchanting.

    With your gift of writing for diverse audiences -- suspense, romance, YA -- I'll bet you could sculpt and mold Cracked Concrete Nowhere into a heavenly romantic getaway!

  139. Audra,
    I love your faith in me.
    Scary - but I love it.
    Btw, we dont' have concrete around here. Dirt floors, remember ;-)

    And I can't WAIT to bring the Blue Ridge to the printed page, in any form :-)

  140. I'm late to the part, sorry about that! Thanks for being here on Seekerville today, Rachel!

  141. Linette - Happy Birthday! You need to come up this way - we've only run the AC for about 4 days so far this summer. Now the furnace will be another story come October...

    Audra - no one can lose weight at a fair. How many funnel cakes have you eaten?

    Pepper - I think a Blue Ridge Mountains book would be great. I've read others with that setting, but not romance.

  142. Well, Rachel, if YOU'RE excited, then I'm excited, LOL! You have quite the job; I enjoyed reading about it; thanks for sharing!

    New authors (to me), whose print books I'd like to try, include Glynna Kaye, Cheryl Wyatt, Audra Harders, Janet Dean, and Missy Tippens.

    (I either have read and enjoyed the following authors' books already, or else their books are coming up soon in my TBR pile: Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe, and Debby Giusti.)

  143. I absolutely love LI, LIH & LIS books. I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel's's a keeper.

    I would love to be entered to win any of the books in print, except Debby's as I have hers already.
    Thank you for the opportunity!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  144. Hi, Rachel! Thanks so much for stopping by!
    The fact that you are an "eternal optimist" shines through in how you answered our questions. Sounds like you are having the time of your life -- what a great blessing from the Lord! :) I've never been to NYC, (hope to someday) but it was fun to take a mini adventure with you as you described your work.
    Have a happy day!

  145. P.S. I have only read Camy Tang's books and Ruth Logan Herne's "Small Town Hearts" is next on my reading list. So...anything sweet & romantic, if I win the drawing (Audra's or Missy's books sound delicious right now). <3 Thanks!

  146. Rachel, I love that you pursued your dream job--and in high heels, no less! Great interview, informative and fun.
    All the books in the giveaway look good--but I'm reading the book by Cheryl Wyatt right now so, if I won, I wouldn't need that one! (It's good!)

  147. Great post today on Seekerville. I first got interested in writing romance by reading Harlequins, and still do to this day. thanks for a great interview.

  148. Great interview!! (I'm a day late--super busy day yesterday *sigh*) Rachel's replies to the Love Inspired questions were super helpful--thanks! ~ Since I'm a day late, am bringing Georgia Peach muffins to share--ENJOY!
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo Moore :)

  149. please count me in for a free book giveaway thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  150. First, I have to say that finding the Seekers is the best thing that ever happened to my writing career (potential and otherwise). I have learned so much and have found awesome reads and now, contest opportunities for free!!! The Lord is Good. Wanted to ask Rachel if she things the Christian Inspired future may broaden the general Christian themes to more specific Christian themes. I know that Julie Lessman writes about a Catholic family which is an awesome series but other publishers seem to hesitate unless it is the Amish religion. I do want to read Julie's new book, but I will take ANY book by these excellent writers. Eileen

  151. Rachel, thanks for some helpful info. I wish slush piles didn't exist, though. Oh well.

    Seekers, thanks for sponsoring the contest. I'm going to give it a shot -- see if I can avoid Rachel's slush pile.

  152. My daughter graduated in May from Northern Arizona University in Elementary Education and was so stressed that she wouldn't get a teaching job! She has wanted to be a teacher since she was in elementary school herself! Fortunately she just got hired to be a 3rd grade teacher and starts school on Monday but this week has been setting up her room. It's SO fun to see her realize her dream. I love that having a "book/reading" area is one of the most important parts of her room. She & I have scoured used book sales for years looking for books that she could use for just this purpose! She wanted to have an area where her students could have reading time or she could read to them. I guess my love of reading passed on to my kids! YEA!! Valri

  153. Hi Eileen, to answer your question, we are sticking to more general Christian themes in Love Inspired to reach as wide an audience as possible. The goal is to keep the stories relatable for as many readers as we can. Great question!