A RITA award winner herself, Ballantine Bantam Dell editor Linda Marrow has been editing romances since . . . well, she doesn’t want to say, just that it was a time of big hair and bodice-ripping covers. Some things have changed about the genre since Linda started her career, trends come and go, but the essential ingredient for a successful romance novel stays the same: passion. A deeply devoted and passionate editor herself, we caught up with Linda recently and asked her about her work and some of Ballantine’s upcoming titles.
You have worked with some of the biggest romance stars. When reading a manuscript, what makes you suspect you might have a real hit on your hands? Is there something that sets apart the most successful romance writers?
There’s a fearlessness to some fiction authors, a fierce devotion to their craft and the world they create in their heads. As an editor, when I read confident storytelling of this caliber, I relax and let the author drive. For example, we just released Jacquelyn Frank’s new novel, Forbidden, which is her first book in the new World of Nightwalkers series. When Jacki writes, she brilliantly and ever so skillfully takes readers into new territory in so many ways. We thrill at the opportunity to see the world through her eyes. Of course in the hands of such a gifted author, even the climactic coming together of hero and heroine that romance readers fully expect becomes entirely fresh and unique. Read Forbidden and you’ll see what I mean.
Do writers ever run out of ideas? How do bestselling authors working within a genre stay fresh?
Happily enough, a lack of new ideas is not a problem among the authors I’ve known. However, it’s true many writers purposefully take new storytelling approaches to keep their skills razor sharp. Right now I’m thinking of New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard. She’s been a romance star for a number of years now, but she never stops experimenting. She writes novels by herself, of course, but she also collaborates with the incredibly talented writer Linda Jones. Writing with another person by your side is one way to keep an author on their toes. Running Wild by the two wonderful Lindas (Howard and Jones), comes out this month, and it delightfully showcases the fruits of a successful creative collaboration. In a way, this novel represents both new and familiar territory for Linda: it’s a return to the Western Romance genre, in which she wrote so many fantastic novels years ago, but it’s also a collaboration, which adds spice and perspective. Besides being a sizzling love story, the book is a lot of fun. Also, I’d be remiss if I did not mention that Linda Howard’s upcoming thrilling and incredibly sexy solo novel, Shadow Woman, will be published by us in hardcover in January. In this new novel of sensual romance, suspense and intrigue, a woman wakes up and discovers the last two years of her life have been wiped clear from her memory. Trying to discover just what happened brings assassins to Lizette Henry’s door, as well as an extremely sexy man she fears to trust.
What are you working on now?
Be still, romance readers’ hearts! — for I am extremely excited to tell you that in the works at Ballantine right now is our first novel with the phenomenal Jude Deveraux. She’s just finishing up True Love, to be published in July by Ballantine. Wonderfully enough, this is only the first volume in Jude’s Nantucket Brides Trilogy, so even though much of the editorial work is now done on True Love, I have two more novels to look forward to in this fantastic series. Breaking news for Romance at Random readers: the next book in the trilogy will be called Prince Charming. Alright, I must return to work! There are more always more love stories to read, which is my happy fate.
Have questions for the incredible Linda Marrow? Ask them in the comments!