Please accept my apologies for posting late, but I’m sure you are all going to love hearing what this lady has to say. We are so excited to bring you the following Q&A by Diana Ventimiglia, Associate Editor for Silhouette Desire. Many published and aspiring authors already know Diana as Melissa Jeglinski’s Editorial Assistant until her promotion last year. Diana kindly agreed to answer the questions we dreamed up for her, but even more fantastic, she has offered to critique a full or partial manuscript from a randomly-chosen winner who comments on this week’s blog. If you are not in a position to take advantage of this prize there will be a parcel of books from our Downunder authors. Feel free to comment on the blog anyway, just stipulate whether or not you want to go in the draw for Diana’s critique or the book prize. We will draw the winner on Sunday 27th April.
Don’t be confused with the critique offered by Melissa Jeglinski, which will be drawn in June and is still open for comments. Check out Melissa’s Q&A in December to enter.
1/ The Desire line is home to many different voices, settings and tones – perhaps now more than ever! What do think epitomizes a great Desire?
I think a great Desire is sexy and packed with lots of conflict. If an author can give me passion, scandal, and an alpha hero I’d love to date myself I think they’ve nailed Desire. I also think Desire has very strong heroines. They are nurturing and sensitive, yet can stand up for themselves.
2/ Your podcast with MJ last month on eHarlequin generated a lot of interest. I was interested to hear you would like authors to push the envelope, go deeper or more over the top. Can you expand on that a little?
By pushing the envelope I mean moving out of ones comfort zone. If an author had an idea and thought, ‘hmm this might be a little too dramatic’; I say go for it. Don’t be afraid to add different elements. For example, the hero gets into a car accident and is left with amnesia. He returns home and marries the wrong twin sister he slept with months ago. Then it turns out she’s pregnant with his brother’s child. OK maybe not exactly the above, but just that idea of not being afraid to be a little too dramatic. It’s always easier to cut down than to tack on at the end.
3/Can you give us your take on the differences between the Presents and the Desire Alpha Hero?
I think the biggest difference between the Presents hero and the Desire hero is that the Desire hero shows his feelings more. The readers have a better idea of where he came from and his transformation in the end. For example, although he is out for revenge, readers still see his sensitive side as he feels for the heroine throughout the manuscript.
4/Can you give us a brief idea of the path of a contracted manuscript after it lands on your desk?
Once a contracted manuscript lands on my desk, I first give it a read through to make sure it follows the proposal and has all the elements of a Desire. Once I complete this, I then begin the line edit. After this stage, the manuscript is sent out for copyediting, and I contact my authors with any important questions the copy editors may have. The author also receives a copy of the line edit, so she can get back to me with any changes she may have
5/What’s your personal favourite storyline – MOC, secret baby, seductive revenge etc? And do you have an all-time favourite romance?
I love secret baby stories. I just think they can be so juicy. I also think it makes for a great connection between the hero and heroine. I love seeing the hero taking on a more fatherly role. He really appeals to me in those scenes. So I’m very excited about the Billionaires & Babies series that starts in August 2008 with Maureen Child’s Baby Bonanza.
My all time favorite romance is when Harry Met Sally. I could watch that movie everyday for the rest of the year and be just as sappy.
6/I think you have a couple of Downunderers in your growing stable of authors. Is it a hassle dealing with time differences, international postage, contracts whizzing here, there and everywhere, or not much different to dealing with American authors?
Well I love my down under authors and dealing with them is never a hassle. Really, it’s pretty much the same with American authors. The only difference being the time delay via telephone. I feel like those cell phone commercials where someone says something and the other responds but doesn’t hear anything and then thinks they said something horrible! J Haha so this sometimes can be tough, but other than that proposals and other materials are sent just as regularly as the American authors
7/Did you collaborate on the Diamonds Downunder series at all or was that down to MJ and the continuity editors?
Yes, that was all MJ.
There you have it. I will attempt to load the gorgeous pic Diana sent me but as my technical ability is now legendary on this blog, don’t hold your breath. Sorry again about the delay. What an interesting lady Diana is. Get polishing those secret baby stories, I say! And don’t forget, the winner for her critique or the books prize – you stipulate which when you post – will be drawn on Sunday 27th April. Best of luck, everyone!