Senior Editor, The Wild Rose Press
WG: Welcome Kathy, and thanks for stepping
into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us a bit about
KC: Thanks for having me, Winnie. I never pass up an
opportunity to run my mouth! I am senior editor with The Wild
Rose Press [www.thewildrosepress.com] We are a fairly new [less
than two years old] electronic publisher, which recently earned
RWA recognition [editor's note: there is no longer
anything called RWA recognition]. We publish romance fiction in all lengths, from
1,750 to 100,000 words and many different sub-genres. They are
outlined on the website: www.thewildrosepress.com.
My educational background is as about as far removed from
editing as anyone can get. I am a registered nurse and a
certified paralegal. I have worked as an advocate for survivors
of sexual violence as well as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.
In my private life I am wife of one, mother of three, and
grandmother to 1 and 8/9ths.
you tell us why you decided to pursue a career as an editor and
what steps you took to get you where you are today?
Through writing, participating in a variety of critique groups,
and presenting workshops to writers about sexual assault, I
discovered a talent for turning "rough drafts" into some pretty
good stuff and making characters stand out. My critique partners
call the way I edit "Kathy Love". The more I mark up pages, the
more they know I'm really loving it. So, when TWRP began
growing, they looked for another editor to take on "The Last Rose
of Summer" line and asked if I'd be interested. I was; and here
genres/lines do you currently acquire works for?
run the Last Rose of Summer line, contemporary romance fiction
where the hero and/or heroine are usually over 40 and have
significant life experiences under their belts. I feel very
strongly that the baby boomers are sorely under-represented [as
lead characters] in romance fiction--or portrayed as past their
prime. There may be snow on the roof [not mine, of course,
thanks to some good genes] but there's still fire in the
was the last time you acquired the work of an author from the
sure some of TWRP authors are agented; most however are not. So,
in answer to your question, I'd have to say we have a huge slush
pile. The last time I acquired something was this month. I am
currently evaluating seven short stories from an author I met in
July at RWA Dallas at a TWRP Meet and Greet event. I adore each
of her stories and, if she's willing to make a few minor tweaks,
I will most likely offer contracts on each within the next
you actively seeking out new authors, and if so, what would it
take to catch your eye?
Funny you should ask. I and another editor in the Last Rose line
were recently interviewed for the In the Garden department on
the Wild Rose website and this same question came up. Look for
the column written by Ima Rose, who is an absolute hoot to talk
Short but sweet, our company
was conceived for those authors whose work may be a little
quirky and because of that have continually run into brick walls
with the traditional houses in New York City. I'm always
looking for a great read; something that will keep me turning
the pages; strong heroes and heroines who have some layers and a
few warts. They must be someone who isn't afraid to fight for
what they want for themselves or others. I must have great
goals, motivation and conflicts, plus a happy ending.
you think contest credits help an author further their career?
Have you ever acquired a manuscript that you discovered via a
think contests can help and hinder an author's career. A novel
can final in some major contests [the Emily, Duel on the Delta
or New Jersey's Put Your Heart in a Book]; but bomb in others
[The Molly]..An author can pitch their brains out to an editor
and agent who might ask to see a partial or full--but it ends
there. Years [and we've all been through that charming
experience] later, it's still sitting there, growing mold.
Meanwhile, the author sits in limbo, twiddling their thumbs
because Thou Shalt Not Submit To More Than One House At A
Sorry, an author can
submit their work to anyone anywhere, as many as they want. Of
course, I'd like to know if I'm in the running with Avon or
Random House. As an editor, I've not yet had the privilege of
judging a contest. There is always tomorrow. And any contest
coordinators who might be reading this?--call me. I love to
judge contests and I work cheap.
asked what they look for in a new author, most editors and
agents will mention a fresh and/or strong voice. How do you
personally define voice?
Like I'm sitting in that deli, smelling fresh roast coffee and
my mouth is watering. Like the heroine is in my living room
talking to me, telling me all her goals and aspirations. Like
that hero [who by the way must make me laugh] is standing in my
bedroom, looking at me, with a smile on his face that
melts my fillings. That's what voice is.
you ever considered penning a novel yourself?
you betcha. I have two out under my pen name Kat Henry Doran: Captain Marvelous, a romantic mystery set in the Catskill
Mountains and Try Just Once More, a romantic suspense set in the
Adirondacks. They're filled with medical people, cops, priests,
nuns, and some really bad guys. Hey, I write what I know.
would you describe your editorial style?
combination of Attila the Hun and a cheerleader.
do you see as the main strength you personally bring to the
table as an editor?
Tossing out passive voice, tightening sentences, beefing up
dialogue, encouraging authors to dig deep inside to make a story
stronger, more emotional.
some/all of your submissions read by someone else in house
before they reach you? If so, what sort of feedback and/or
screening do you expect that reader to provide?
read everything, no first readers--at least not at this point.
If things start to cook, I may have to resort to first readers,
but I hope that day never comes.
Realistically, what is the normal timeframe for your response to
queries? Partials? Fulls?
Queries--24--48 hours. Partials--15--30 days. Fulls--3 months.
Given that you feel an individual author’s manuscript is
marketable, how important is it that you personally like the
work in order for you to pursue acquiring it?
only way I would acquire something is when I love it at the
input do you personally have on the cover art selected for the
manuscripts you acquire? What level of involvement do you feel
the author should have in this process?
have a very talented art department at TWRP. The author is
involved in the cover process from the time they sign a contract
so I leave it up to her/him and the artist to decide what the
cover will look like. As an author, I know what it's like to be
involved from the beginning and have a cover that really rocks.
Bottom line: if the author's happy, I'm okay. If the author's
not happy, I will strongly encourage them to speak up. I
do not tolerate whining; ask my kids if you don't believe me.
you feel that writers’ conferences provide significant value to
you in the way of personal contact with your authors, other
authors (either published or unpublished), and/or other industry
professionals? Do you receive any value from other offerings
such as the presentations, pitch appointments, and/or networking
to all of the above. I really prefer the smaller, regional
conferences like New Jersey or Central New York. RWA in Dallas,
both this year and 2004, made me quite crazy because I couldn't
hear myself think. I try to make as many workshops as possible,
when I'm not taking pitches, and I like meeting others over the
planned dinners or lunches.
WG: What piece of advice or
‘pearl of wisdom’ would you like to offer authors who are
considering submitting a work to you – or to any editor for that
your research. Take your time creating your characters and
their goals, motivation and conflicts. When someone tells me
they wrote this 75,000 word novel in a week, I get a little
antsy. When I slave over line edits, I expect the author to
consider them seriously and take their time incorporating them
into the manuscript. I take a rather dim view of an author who
sends me back the "edited manuscript" in 24--48 hours. It tells
me they either didn't look at my suggestions or do not value
sort of misconceptions/ unrealistic expectations have you
encountered from authors about what an editor’s role is that you
would like to correct?
not fond of submissions filled with run-on sentences,
mis-spelled words, point of view slips, and/or sloppy
punctuation. I will make corrections ONE time only. If those
problems continue, perhaps TWRP is not the best house for this
author. Nor do I care if the author is multi-published, be it
with another line at Wild Rose Press or Stinkweeds 'R Us
Publishing House. If I don't fall in love with the hero, or if
the heroine is a whining wimp who wears a sign around her neck
that says 'Kick Me', I'm not going to accept it..
important do you think self-promotion is to a writer’s career?
If so, is there a particular area of promotion that you feel is
think it's crucial so if anyone is out there who can offer me
some tips on successful self-promotion, I'll be your new best
WG: I love
to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky,
motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite
you'd like to share?
have two. I don't know who wrote them or where they came from:
The first is particularly
special for those who advocate for victims of violence: "You
can always spot the pioneers. They're the ones with arrows in
The second is for those who
are contemplating a major change: "Never be afraid to try
something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals
built the Titanic."
do you do to relax and have fun?
fun I make tote bags and purses to order, whatever the customer
wants. Any size, shape, color, pattern, with zippers or without,
pockets inside and out. Staff at local fabric stores call me
the Remnant Queen because I'm always scouting out different
fabrics, quirky designs or colors, pieces of material that I can
turn into a bag. When I need to relax I listen to audio books. I
am addicted to them.
Other than your client’s work, what do you enjoy reading?
boy, I hope I can remember them all. Nora Roberts of course;
and Eileen Dreyer--who writes fabulous thrillers which feature
trauma nurses. Vince Flynn writes political thrillers which
once I pick one up, I won't be able to put down. Robert K.
Tannenbaum writes legal suspense; carrying the same characters
through 20 or more novels. This man makes me laugh out loud.
David Wiltse wrote a number of books in the past featuring a
horribly wounded hero named John Becker, a FBI criminal
profiler. Oh baby, I'd like to invite Becker home with me
because I'd take real good care of him. John Maxim wrote
several novels known as The Bannerman Series. The characters
are quirky, funny and cold blooded killers. I cheer my brains
out for them.
are your favorite movies and/or TV shows? Why?
KC: The Closer. I think all the characters on that show are a
scream as well as being very well drawn. Law and Order,
Chris Noth is a major fire starter in my house. In recent years,
I'd strayed from Special Victims because of so many gross
errors with how they depicted the law and how victims are
handled, but I see that Adam Beach [major league hunk] is a new
character so I'm willing to forgo errors in favor of looking at
him. There's a new show on TNT or USA, called Burn Notice.
Wowee kazowee, that guy bears watching and Sharon Gless is
always a treat to watch. I am a baseball fan [I love a man in
tight white pants and buns of brass] so the playoffs and series
are big for me.
there a particular book that made a significant impact on your
life? In what way?
Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Every page is a pearl of
wisdom and something to reflect on.
Before we close, is there anything else you'd like to mention
about yourself or the publisher?
Come visit our garden at The Wild Rose Press: www.thewildrosepress.com. You might decide to stick around and
help our seedlings grow. To look at me, personally, you can go
to www.Kathenry.com or contact me at KDCottrell@frontiernet.net.
finally, thanks again for taking some time to ‘stop by’ this
Thanks for asking, Winnie. This was a lot of fun.