Welcome Birgit Davis-Todd, an Executive Editor with Harlequin Books based in Toronto. When she’s not looking for that next new voice she’s out sailing the Great Lakes and enjoying hockey. She’d love to see submissions from both new and veteran writers.

This is Harlequin's 60th anniversary -- how long have you worked for the company, and what are some of the ways it's changed during your tenure?

I’m delighted to drop by to visit with everyone from NINC.

No question the big news in 2009 is our 60th anniversary. We’ve been celebrating with our readers and our authors all year long—and what a party it has been!

We put a different series in the spotlight each month featuring diamond themed miniseries and popular authors. Our Famous Firsts reprint program highlighted some of the very first series books by bestselling writers such as Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller and Jayne Ann Krentz. In May we sponsored a wonderful art show in New York featuring book covers from every decade.

From our humble beginnings as a small reissue house in chilly Winnipeg, Canada to our emergence today as one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, it’s been quite a journey. One I have been proud to be part of for over twenty-five years.

I think one of the biggest changes has been the breadth and variety of programs we publish. We launched many new romance series in the 1980s such as American, Intrigue and Temptation. After 2000 came innovative programs such as Blaze and Nocturne never mind Steeple Hill and Kimani Romance. Currently we offer our entire front list in e-book format as well as continuing to create original e-book programs such as Nocturne Bites and Historical Undone.

Certainly one other change of note is the launch of our website www.eharlequin.com. It’s a great place to meet editors and authors, check out our podcasts and guidelines and look for our new releases. I encourage every writer to visit!

In your position as Executive Editor, what kinds of things do you tackle on daily basis? What can you share "from the trenches"?

A big part of my job is overseeing the American, Blaze, Intrigue and Superromance programs, working with all the staff. But I also work closely with my editorial colleagues from Silhouette, Mills & Boon, Kimani and Steeple Hill. We all share the same goal—finding talented authors with a great story to tell.

This year alone we published over forty new authors. The market might seem tough to crack at times but there are always opportunities at Harlequin.

I work with a number of authors personally and am always on the lookout for new voices.

I also work on sampling with our Marketing team. It’s so important to get books in the hands of potential readers. We know once they have a chance to sample what we publish they are hooked and will likely buy books on a regular basis. One of our biggest sampling initiatives took place this year in conjunction with the 60th anniversary. We set up a special website www.harlequincelebrates.com where visitors can download 16 series books for free. It’s been a wonderful promotion for all our authors!

We also work with many other partners such as Harrah’s and Women’s Day magazine on sampling opportunities.

Do you have any favorite Harlequin moments that have been a part of your work over the years?

Harlequin is a wonderful company. I’ve had the opportunity to work with and meet so many talented writers. Some of my favorite moments include making “The Call”. There’s nothing like calling an author for the very first time to make that person’s dream come true—to be published.

I love working with writers. Often you start with just an idea, which then becomes a synopsis, followed by a great opening chapter. It’s a privilege to work with writers, to get inside his or her head, help shape a book and ultimately edit the entire manuscript. It’s a wonderful creative process that I enjoy year after year.

I hope to hear from writers who might be interested in writing for Harlequin. Maybe you are new but have a great story to tell. Or perhaps you are a veteran of another house or genre. I’d love to hear from you if you have a story that’s right for us.

Thanks for the chance to stop by!

And thanks to Samantha Hunter for inviting Birgit to blog with us.