KRISTA STROEVER, SMART CHICK AND CUTE TOO
We're thrilled to have an interview with Steeple Hill senior editor Krista Stroever! Krista is a familar (and small!) powerhouse at ACFW and other conferences. She talks fast enough to keep up with me, and she is a shaker and a mover in the NY publishing world of Harlequin. She's been a friend and an encourager to me personally and if you have the honor of meeting her, you'll agree that she's one of a kind.
So join the fun and get to know Krista.
Colleen: Is editing just a leap into the writing world? Wouldn't you rather write? Krista: Actually, no. I love editing; creating is not something I feel a call to do. The first time I knew I wanted to be an editor was when I was in college, and I picked up a romance from someone whose backlist I’d loved—she’d now moved on to bestseller status, and you could tell she was rushing to write these books. It was as I was making notes on the book in front of me that I knew this was something I’d want to do full time.
Colleen: I think the very best editors are ones who are gifted that way right from the start! You're a rare breed, you know. So what do you prefer to see when a submission comes across your desk? A really great voice and story or an average story from an author with a marketing plan and a speaking platform that will sell bazillions? In other words, what's the most important thing--the book or the marketing plan?Krista: That differs—fiction vs. non-fiction. Non-fiction readers are reading your book because they need information or guidance, and a writer with an impressive platform, or an expert, is someone whose guidance will matter. Fiction readers are reading for entertainment, as well as for an uplifting experience, so you’ve got to have the voice.
Colleen: What's the best part of being an editor?There are times when everything comes together—you find the right project, it gathers in-house support, gets critical acclaim and finds an eager readership. A codicil to that is when we see letters from readers who were touched by the story. Publishing can be a very insular world—we hear feedback from bookstores and marketing people, so seeing actual readers who appreciated the work the author did is a pleasure.
Colleen: What's the worst part of being an editor?When a book you really believe in and the house really believes in fails to find its audience. It’s disheartening, but it makes us work all the harder to make sure the books do succeed.
Colleen: I know Steeple Hill does a lot to promote their authors. If a book fails, it's not for your lack of trying! Krista, a synopsis seems to be the bane of the writer--how necessary are they?Krista: Believe me, we understand how hard the synopsis is—we work on the cover copy! You try boiling a book down to 100 words! J The synopsis is very important—I can’t be sure of where a book is going if I’ve only read the first 3 chapters. I can make an educated guess, of course, but we do need the synopsis.
Colleen: Is there a most embarrassing moment you've had as an editor?There have been many, but most involve tripping. There was also the time as an assistant when I kept calling an author by her pseudonym until she gently corrected me. (Honey, you can call me Ann, you know.)
Colleen: Tripping! I can so relate, girlfriend! You seem much too dainty to ever be clumsy. LOL So, what are you reading right now?Krista: I’m a die-hard library fan, because I read so much—I’d be buried in books if I wasn’t able to return them! I just returned SALT by Mark Kurlansky (non-fic) and THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael Connelly. I’ve also just finished reading THE ALIENIST by Caleb Carr (for the umpteenth time!) at the gym & on the subway and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN by Lionel Shriver at home. It recently won the Orange Prize in London, so I thought I’d check it out. Of course, I just got a notice from the library that THE CELL by Stephen King, VERONICA by Mary Gaitskill (again, another prize nominee I thought I’d check out) and a chick-lit by Gigi Grazer are waiting for me, so they’ll be up next! CLUB SANDWICH by Lisa Samson was my gym reading this weekend—I’ve been hooked on her since WOMEN’S INTUITION. The RT review for the newest Linda Hall, DARK WATERS also piqued my interest—she’s one of my steady favorites, so I’ll be putting in a request for that one soon.
I also love my library, because they keep the Love Inspired books right up front by the checkout. And I didn’t even need to ask them to!
Colleen: Oh we are so alike! I LIVE at my libary! Krista: And I’ll give you my when-I-was-an-assistant story—whenever we were feeling down about our job choice, my roommate and I (because yes, if you are an assistant in publishing, you need a roommate in order to keep a roof over your head) would head to the local bookstore and look up our names in the acknowledgements of the books we’d worked on. That and a latte were a good cure for the blues!
Colleen: Coffee! Now you're talking our language. The four of us are coffee freaks too. LOL Thanks so much for joining us, Krista! It's great to know a Princeton grad can trip, read books at the library, and be just as real and as fun as you are. See you soon!