Erika Tsang, Nicole Fischer, and Elle Keck, all of Avon Books, are the editors of the new book How to Write a Romance.
Q: How did the three of you work together on this book?
Elle: We had a large team who worked on this, including Tessa Woodward, Mireya Chiriboga, and Emma Brodie, who is a senior editor and in charge of the Morrow Gift imprint. She came up with the idea and we all loved it. We wrote the prompts with a lot of collaboration, sometimes in person and sometimes over email.
Erika: I believe pizza was involved at one point. We all had fun with it, coming up with different prompts based on tropes we like to read.
Nicole: There was also wine!
Q: How would you define a romance novel, and has the definition changed over the years?
Elle: I would define a romance novel as a book where the love story is the central focus and it ends in a happy ever after and/or happy for now. I don’t think that definition has ever changed.
Q: How many aspiring romance novelists would you say are out there now, and are there more or fewer than in past years?
Elle: That’s a question I don’t think any of us could answer. Thankfully, there are always new voices to publish, regardless of the year.
Q: Do you write romance novels in addition to editing them, and if not, have you considered it?
Elle: I don’t and have never considered it. I consider myself an editor, not an author.
Erika: Writing exercises a part of the brain that is dormant for me, so no. I’m quite happy being on this side of the process.
Nicole: I used to write stories as a kid, and they always had a romance in them. Actually, some were probably inappropriate, considering I was about 10.
But I quickly realized I was too lazy to write a full book—it’s HARD, props to anyone who can do it or even just attempts it—and never really had the urge again. I’m much better at spotting the problems or weak spots in a manuscript than coming up with the actual story/idea itself!
Q: What are you working on now?
Elle: Some of the upcoming books on my list include Cat Sebastian’s A Little Light Mischief, a novella and her first lesbian romance, that published Aug. 6; Nisha Sharma’s The Legal Affair, which will be on sale early 2020; and Christy Carlyle’s third book in her Duke’s Den series, Nothing Compares to the Duke, which will be out May 2020.
Erika: I just put into production the next Beverly Jenkins Blessings book, On the Corner of Hope and Main. And Lynsay Sands’ 30th Argeneau vampire novel, Immortal Born, will be published in a few months.
Nicole: I have a lot of fabulous stuff coming up! Vivienne Lorret’s The Rogue to Ruin just went on sale at the end of July, Talia Hibbert’s Avon rom com debut Get a Life, Chloe Brown is out in November, as is Eva Leigh’s '80s movie inspired (gender-flipped Weird Science!) regency historical My Fake Rake.
Just finished editing Mia Sosa’s 2020 rom com The Worst Best Man and Scarlett Peckham’s Avon debut, The Rakess, which is out next April. All very exciting!
Q: Anything else we should know?
Elle: I’m very excited about this journal. I think it’s the perfect companion piece for any aspiring author working on their first book, any established author who is looking for a bit of creative inspiration, and any editor trying to discover how to best help their author with their next book.
Erika: Writing is a lot of work, but I hope we also made it fun with this journal.
Nicole: The journal is a really fun, engaging way to flex your creative muscles! Even if you’re not ready to write a full book, or have no ideas at the moment, it’s full of funny, entertaining prompts and thought-provoking tips/advice that might help get the words flowing.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb