Chatting with my Editor Part 1

I’ve been working with my editor, Mary-Theresa Hussey of Harlequin pretty much from the beginning of my writing career.  My very first editor, Helen French (out of the UK office) who made the call and bought POISON STUDY and MAGIC STUDY worked with me for about six months before leaving the company.  And, as a brand new author, still shiny, I was immediately worried because I’ve heard stories of orphaned authors, where the editor who loved her story leaves, and no one else in the company is interested at all.

Mary-Theresa quickly stepped in, and she’s been mine…or rather I’ve been hers ever since.  Nine years of answering all my questions, addressing my concerns, and editing my manuscripts.

I thought it would be fun to have a chat with my editor about our nine years together.

Me & Mary-Theresa

MVS:  Let’s start at the beginning.  Back in 2003, you were in charge of Harlequin's new fantasy imprint called LUNA Books and looking for fantasy novels with strong female protagonists and romantic sub-plots.  I sent you the first 3 chapters and a synopsis of POISON STUDY in June (I still have a copy of the letter) and 4 months later I get a call from Helen, asking me for the rest of the story, which she read over the weekend and bought on Monday.  Do you remember that initial submission?  What were you thinking when you sent the chapters to Helen?
LUNA Ladies (left to right): C.E. Murphy, Maria V. Snyder, Mary-Theresa Hussey, Michelle Sagara, Laura Anne Gilman
MTH: 2003 seems so long ago--and really just around the last corner! I do remember that when we were starting up LUNA we had a clear vision in our minds, but it was very hard to explain to authors and agents. So I read a lot of projects and struggled to get that balance right. I had received your proposal and really enjoyed it and marked it to ask for a complete. Then Helen French, who worked in our UK office, but was in our office for an RWA business trip, really wanted to work on LUNA, so I gave her a few projects, including POISON STUDY.

Helen's initial excitement was contagious, and we loved seeing that first glimpse of Yelena in the complete manuscript. And then when Helen left, I was happy to work with you again. So I've actually edited all of your projects for us, and it's been a treat over the years. I still remember that opening scene with Yelena in prison, awaiting execution, was dark and complex, and she was a fresh heroine! The voice and the characterization was vivid and then the twists kept coming as we met Valek, discovered the truth about Yelena's position, her past, her magic, and how the world of Ixia unfolded.

Original USA cover for POISON STUDY - Hardcover October 2005

So I've been lucky to see your career develop over the ten novels and some novellas with Harlequin
(and more to come!). Each book unfolded part of the world, and you had a great, strong grasp of your characters. Even when they make decisions I disagree with [MVS - Opal's choice being the biggest :)], you worked on motivating them so it makes sense. So we talk a little on the proposal, then at the revision stage after I've sent my notes, and then occasionally at the edits, but that's generally some minor stuff. I think we've worked ourselves into a good rhythm.

Maria--how do you see the revision process going?
Find out my answer in Part 2 of Chatting with my Editor!


  1. It is amazing how time flies! I think we've had a lot of fun--and great success--over the years. :)


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