Interview with Entangled Editor Candace Havens
Please welcome Candace Havens to the FF&P blog. She is here to give our readers a new perspective from the other side. Candace…please tell our readers a little bit about you, such as why did you become an editor?
Candace- I fell into the job. I’ve been a TV and Film critic for print and radio for more than 20 years. I’ve been writing fiction for about 11 years. My books have been published by Entangled, Harlequin, Berkley and Benbella Books to name a few. I just signed a new deal with Harlequin. And I’ve owned an editing company for about three years. I was at my publisher’s (Entangled) house working on a project. She asked me to take a look at a book and give her some thoughts. I did. Then she asked me to do it again on another book. She liked my perspective and the changes I suggested. A few months later she asked if I wanted to take on the position of Editorial Director for Covet (our category paranormal line). I kind of thought she was crazy, but I did it. And I loved the idea of being able to help other authors create best selling books. The job has evolved from there, and I love it.
Wow! You are a busy woman! Please tell our readers about the publisher you represent.
Candace- Entangled Publishing is a romance publisher, but it’s a wide spectrum of romance. We have several different category lines, as well as single titles. Paranormal, sweet, super sexy, young adult, new adult we have it all. There’s something for everyone at Entangled.
Do you have any rejection stories to share? Like a manuscript you passed on that turned into a best seller?
Candace- I hate writing rejection letters. Hate it. I’ve been on the other side of that and I know how it feels. We always try to provide some constructive criticism. But here’s the truth, and I’m sort of known for it: Out of a 100 manuscripts, I might get one that will work. I go in looking for books that I can acquire, and I’m so disappointed when it doesn’t work out. Every editor at Entangled is that way. We want to work with great authors.
What is your weekly routine like? With all you do, it has to be insane.
Candace- My schedule is insane and every day is different. I may be editing for 18 hours straight one day, and off to Toronto to teach a writing class the next. Two days later I may be interviewing celebs for the other part of my life, and that night working on revisions on my own books. But I spend the majority of time editing these days. I’m trying to take by my weekends for my stuff, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
Curious minds want to know: who first introduced you to the love of reading?
Candace- My parents and grandparents. Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Reading is a “thing” in my family. We’d all pretty much rather read book and than do anything else.
For authors or prospective authors: what influences your decision to read a submission: the query letter; synopsis; an agent’s submission; etc.
Candace- That query letter is often the first point of contact. If I see a short blurb and it looks high concept and interesting, I have to take a look. And I cannot tell you how important that first chapter, and even first few lines can be. When I’m slogging through the slush pile my favorite thing is to plan on reading a first chapter and before I know it, I’m on page 50. That’s a good book. If you’ve given me characters who jump off the page, and tell me a great story, I’m in.
What is the biggest no no you see in submissions that makes you reject them?
Candace- They aren’t the right kind of book for the line. Do your research. Read books on the line to make sure you’re in the right place. I started to list a bunch more, but the biggest thing missing from so many books is conflict. Conflict creates tension and makes the reader turn the page. And hone your craft. Don’t submit first drafts to publishers. It happens more than you can imagine.
You wear many hats. What do you see ahead in your career?
Candace- I love all aspects of my life. I’d like to continue helping authors make their dreams come true.
Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? Also, how can our readers find your submission guidelines?
Candace- Don’t give up. You never know who is going to love your book. Follow agents and editors on Twitter and find out what kind of books they like. If you’re interested in submitting to us, go to the Entangled home page
More About Candace Havens
Bestselling author Candace Havens has written multiple novels for Berkley, Entangled and Harlequin. Her books have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. She is the author of the biography Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities including Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and many more. Her entertainment columns can be read in more than 600 newspapers across the country. And she is the Editorial Director for the Covet, Embrace and Otherworld lines at Entangled Publishing. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2200 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing class. She does film reviews with the Hawkeye & Dorsey on 96.3, and is a former President of the Television Critics Association. Follow her at Twitter and Facebook