Patience had a rich and varied career prior to becoming an assistant editor at Harlequin in '97, but I'll let her share her information in her own words. I'm delighted to present Patience Smith....
Tell us about you: I started my relationship with Harlequin at fourteen while studying for final exams. I had pulled an all-nighter to study for History and had three hours before my Latin exam. To get through that day, I had to drink many Tabs and read a romance.
After stealing Harlequin Presents from my roommate’s pile, I devoured them when I should have been studying declensions and conjugations. I wound up getting a C on the History exam and an A—would have been an A+ if I hadn’t skipped an entire section due to sleep deprivation spaciness—on the Latin exam. I credit the romances for helping me ace Latin.
I continued to read romances during those times when I should have been doing something else—like writing my master’s thesis, doing lesson plans, typing memos for lawyers and answering phones for oil traders.
Role at Harlequin: I’m the Associate Senior Editor for Silhouette Intimate Moments which will turn into Silhouette Romantic Suspense in February 2007.
A lot is happening in Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense. The line has already changed editorially in that we are looking for suspense in every book—though the romance is the heavy focus. We’re looking for highly romantic, passionate category romances set anywhere in the world and containing some element of suspense.
The SIM/SRS team has revamped the covers, which will begin a transitional phase in October 2006. And the line changes its name and introduces its new covers starting in February 2007. Very exciting!
The feedback for the changes in the line has been overwhelmingly positive.
Did you always want to work in publishing? I’ve always loved reading and writing, so I knew I would wind up doing something with words, if only to do graffiti in bathrooms.
If not, what else did you want to do? I wanted to be a movie-star, but because I don’t like auditioning, memorizing lines or starving myself, this didn’t work out.
Also, I can’t act.
Did anything surprise you about the editorial role? It surprises me how little time there is to edit, but also how much fun it is to see a line evolve over a year—and to be a part of it.
What are most challenging/most satisfying aspects of job? The most challenging aspect is gathering all the materials in order to make deadlines. I have to rely on many people, which I’m not used to.
The most satisfying aspect of the job is the interaction with authors and editing. My favorite time of day is early morning when I first come to the office. It’s quiet and I usually spend the first hour just reading before noise levels rise.
Anything make you totally insane? Doing things at the last minute. Most of the time, it’s my own fault.
Can you finish the sentence: "If I read one more story with…. I will fall asleep." If I read one more story with the hero and heroine bickering for no reason, I’ll fall asleep. Same goes for the heroine stating at the beginning of the story that she doesn’t have time for a man and is too focused on other things.
Or “I wish I could find a story that….” I wish I could find a story that makes me cry. That happens every now and then and it’s always a treat (waterproof mascara is a good investment). That’s when I know I have to have the book.
Favorite recent film/film of all time: Favorite recent film: The Devil Wears Prada. Favorite movies of all time: Jaws, Notorious, Heat, The Hours, All About Eve, Hannah and Her Sisters, Silence of the Lambs
Favorite meal: To eat: Steak, mashed potatoes and peas (and cheesecake). To make: cupcakes. And I excel at overcooking rice, vegetables and pasta.
Most amazing recent purchase: I bought in one week a new big TV, computer and cell phone but have trouble working all three of them. I have discovered the magic of texting, which annoys my friends and family since I’ll send them really important messages like, “Hi.”
Hobby? Knitting, watching movies, collecting elephants (not real ones)
Most surprising thing about you we’d never guess in a million years? I’m known in my family for using a lot of foul language, which I think I inherited from my grandmother. Also, I read tarot cards, did calligraphy professionally for fifteen years and was the ace pitcher on a co-ed softball team all through high school.
Guilty pleasure you refuse to feel guilty about? Watching Dr. Phil.
Most interesting thing you've done lately? This is not so much interesting as it is obsessive—In the last seven months, I’ve knit ten pairs of slippers, four purses and two Peruvian hats, all of which I’m going to sell.
Inspiring event? In August, going to a family reunion and seeing so many interesting, fun people in one room. It made me realize how lucky I am.
Today’s favorite expression or quote? "Whatev”, which I got from Senior Editor of Special Edition Gail Chasan. Who has the time to add the extra syllable?
Comic book character that embodies characteristics you most admire? I sort of like Marv from Sin City. He’s done some evil deeds, but his heart is mostly in the right place. At the other end of the spectrum: Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter has always been my hero! I even bought her album.
Superpower you would enjoy having? Ability to beam myself places without going through the pain of traffic, driving, sitting in cramped places for hours, living through turbulence.
If you had a magic wand that would allow you to do one thing Naughty and one thing Nice, what two things would you do? Naughty: I wouldn’t protest if a magic wand allowed me to steal several million dollars from a bank without anyone ever finding out. Basically, anything having to do with theft, as long as I don’t have to be punished for it later. Nice: Put the cast of the Jon Stewart show in the Oval Office.
Least favorite characters in fiction and why? Rochester and Heathcliff because they’re just too much work. Also, this is wrong and bad of me, but because I had to read Le Petit Prince so many times, I came to despise him.
What do you have on your bulletin board? A picture of Ganesh—the god that removes obstacles. A lot of charts for deadlines and an 8x10 glossy of Keanu Reeves, courtesy of Marie Ferrarella.
Looking for… New authors for SIM/SRS. This line has a strong author base and we’d love to add new voices. As always, I’m looking for a book that will sweep me away and make me forget about day-to-day responsibilities (like studying for Latin and History exams).
Bought several great… Veteran authors to contribute to Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense. Rachel Lee, Catherine Mann, Lindsay McKenna and Susan Grant will contribute short stories for two separate military Christmas anthologies to be published in 2007 and 2008. And six authors—Marie Ferrarella, Caridad Pineiro, Lyn Stone, Nina Bruhns, Kathleen Creighton and Karen Whiddon—came together to create a new royal, international themed continuity, MISSION: IMPASSIONED, which will happen in 2007.
Just about to publish…. Lindsay McKenna's paranormal romance, UNFORGIVEN , which is in the launch month of Silhouette Nocturne, is about to hit bookshelves in October.
This story is amazing. Jaguar shapeshifters, the fight for good and evil and falling in love with the enemy—oh my!
I read it in one sitting.