Please join me in welcoming Samhain Publishing Executive Editor Laurie Rauch! Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed at my blog.
LMR: Thank you so much for having me, Beth. I’m excited to be here.
BK: First off, big congratulations on your new position as Executive Editor at Samhain! What has been the biggest challenge during the first month of your new job?
LMR: Thank you, I’m pretty darn excited about the whole thing. I really love working at Samhain, so having the opportunity to be more involved with the company and the direction of the editorial department as a whole is so cool.
As for challenges, my biggest has been all the extra emails, because I seem to spend a lot of my time answering emails. Really, the whole new job is a bit of a challenge, but I’m loving every minute of it because I’m learning so much.
BK: Tell us about your vision for Samhain. In what areas do you think you can make a significant impact in your capacity as Executive Editor?
LMR: I have a few big ideas, none of which I can talk about just yet, but expect announcements of some really exciting things we’re going to be doing in the near future. A lot of the changes I’ve made so far have been more from an internal perspective, so they may not be immediately noticeable to our readers, but I’m hoping they’re making a positive effect on both our staff and our processes.
As far as making an impact goes, I’m hoping to renew our focus of providing high-quality, well-edited stories for our readers. Our motto has always been and will always be “it’s all about the story”, so that’s really where my attention will be moving forward.
BK: How is Samhain different? If you were at a conference and trying to convince Rising Star Author to submit, what would you say?
LMR: I just think we’re awesome, so that’s my best reason. *grin* Really, though, one of the things that drew me to Samhain as an editor was how quickly the company made its mark on the industry. The company hit the ground running and has really grown and established itself as a force to be reckoned with. I like to think we have a reputation of putting out great stories, our editors are wonderful to work with, and we are constantly looking at ways of expanding our distribution to get our books in front of as many readers as possible.
I think digital publishing as a whole is really about to explode, so not only does Rising Star Author have a chance to get in on something that’s going to be really big, but also a chance to work with a company with a solid plan in place for growth and wider exposure.
BK: Tell us a bit about you and your career path? Have you always wanted to be an editor? Did you have a moment when you realized—Wow, this editing thing is awesome?
LMR: I did my bachelor’s in Theatre, with a focus on playwriting and production, so I was very much a backstage geek. But, I’d been a bookworm since I learned to read when I was four, so I knew my career path would take me somewhere that involved writing, no matter where I ended up. I always say my big revelation came one night as I was standing in an empty theatre hanging a light, and that’s when I fully realized that theatre wasn’t where I saw my career going (although I still do the odd community theatre production, because I’m never going to get theatre out of my blood), but I’d been thinking of my future for a while at that point. It was the book “˜Careers for Bookworms’ that made me realize being an editor was where I should be focusing, and as soon as I made the decision, I set myself on that path, and I’ve been going down it ever since.
My first wow this is awesome moment came the first time I saw a book I edited in Chapters (big Canadian bookstore). Up ’til that point, most of what I’d done was corporate and technical editing, so my work wasn’t out for the world at large to see. But when my first book, Internet Law: A Practical Guide for Legal and Business Professionals, hit the stores, and I got to see my book in print, that just made the whole thing a bit more awesome.
BK: You’ve been an editor at Samhain for quite a while. What is your biggest pet peeve in a submission, aside from grammar issues? (We all know you’re a Grammar Geek.)
LMR: Yep, I’m definitely a grammar geek (and I totally didn’t fix your grammar in one of the later questions. 😉 ), but I’m actually seeing a lot of stories that are light on plot and conflict, which I confess I find incredibly frustrating. I’m all for hot and plentiful sex in a romance, but that can’t be the only thing carrying a story. Without the conflict, the whole “˜how are they ever going to get past this big thing and realize they’re meant for each other’, the story just isn’t going to have the wowie zowie that’s going to keep readers reading.
BK: (Oh, groan about my grammar mistake. Unfortunately, Laurie knows I am not much of a grammar geek and need her editing desperately).
I know it’s a cliché question, but I know I’m curious as to your answer, so others might be too—What genres do you see as being hot in the market in the next few years?
LMR: I think erotic romance is here to stay, although I suspect it may evolve into more of a focus on the story than the position du jour as readers become more discriminating. I’m hopeful that romantic comedy will make a resurgence, but I despair I may be in the minority on that one. Futuristics, steampunk, cyberpunk, I think will get hotter, and paranormal will continue its popularity. I’m also hopeful for both the contemporary and the historical romance. And I’d love to see more suspense and whodunits.
BK: Can you give us a few short samples (a couple lines or a paragraph) of writing that just blew you away it was so good?
LMR: This is one of the few quotes that I loved so much I wrote it out and hung it on a wall when I was in University. It’s such an eloquent declaration of love:
Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, for those who are wondering.
BK: Perfect choice, Laurie.
Do you have any idols in the publishing industry? Anyone who has really influenced your work and career mission?
LMR: I did an internship in Harlequin’s Editorial department in Toronto while I was in school, and the editors I worked with there were so incredibly helpful and sharing of their knowledge. I think their passion for the industry and their willingness to help a student who flitted into their lives for a few months really inspired the kind of editor I wanted to be. And I hope I get the chance to pay it forward someday.
BK: Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself here today, Laurie, and best of luck to you.
Leave Laurie a comment and two lucky people will win EITHER three Samhain e-books of choice (generously donated by Laurie) OR three Samhain print books (Snowbound by Larissa Ione, Checkmate by Annmarie McKenna and Beautiful Girl by Shiloh Walker). Prizes will be rewarded Monday morning, September 28.