Tuesday, September 4, 2007

SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER Blog Party--Leis Pederson tells us 5 Quirky Things

My other special guest for today is Leis Pederson, my editor at Berkley, a division of Penguin, USA. Leis acquires romance, young adult and women's fiction as well as mysteries and thrillers.

Leis, thank you for joining us! First of all, can you tell us what drew you to SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER? And yes, I am begging for compliments!

SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER is a great new historical romance that no reader should miss. I was drawn to Christine's fresh voice and the way she creates characters. This is a novel full of friendly banter, sexual tension, and a romance guaranteed to make you swoon.

Thanks for that glowing recommendation, Leis! Now, let's talk about you. What are five quirky or unusual things about you that our readers might not know?

Let's see, I am sure there are a ton of unusual things about me, but here are a just a few that I came up with.

*I have nine brothers and sisters.

*I like mustard on my popcorn.

*I love really cheesy movies.

*My educational background is in clinical psychology --- comes in handy when working with authors (hahaha!)

*My roommate and I adopted two kittens from a local shelter - a black/white girl named Pippi (as in Longstocking) and an orange male, Milo, who thinks he's a dog.

Mustard on popcorn? Sounds just awful enough to be tasty! And I'll let that comment about the clinical psychology pass!

You work with Cindy Hwang as well as editing your own list. Sometimes I wonder when you sleep! Can you give us a run-down of a typical day?

A typical day generally involves all sorts of things but I’m most likely to spend my day in the office taking care of the various administrative tasks that come my way, dealing with endless amounts of paperwork and talking with agents and authors. Most of my editing and reading gets done in the evening.

So, let’s start with the submissions that come to you. What excites you about a manuscript? Do you have any automatic turn-offs?

Getting new submissions is always exciting but I would have to say I am always looking for that one that I just can’t put down. Something that would automatically turn me off would be a poorly put together proposal. When submissions come in with lots of typos, missing pages, etc. it definitely gives a bad impression.

Once you decide you would like to buy a manuscript, what process do you have to go through before you can make the author an offer?

This process can vary somewhat but generally it involves getting secondary reads and presenting it to our editorial team. We of course also consider where the book would fit into our list and how we would be able to package it.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I love all aspects of my job but I guess the best part about it is getting to work with the authors. I’m a people person and getting to know the people behind the books I love to read makes them that much more special to me.

With so much reading in your day job, do you still read for pleasure? What (non-Berkley) book did you most recently read and enjoy?

I do read for pleasure as often as I can. Most recently I read the new Harry Potter and I absolutely loved it.

I must be the only person in the world who hasn't read the latest HP yet. But I've been writing! (she says, polishing halo)

Lately, there have been rumours that historical romance is making a comeback. Do you think this is true?

Every genre goes through its ups and downs. Historical romance has always been a favorite for our readers and I don’t think it ever really goes out of style.

Amen to that! Thank you, Leis, for a fun interview!

Leis will pop in during the day to chat, if she can fight her way through the submission pile to get to her computer. *g* Once again, there's a WONDERFUL prize for one lucky reader who comments on this post. A signed copy of Scandal's Daughter and other assorted goodies from Bandita Christine Wells

And don't forget to check out Jessica Faust's post (below) Jessica will swing by to answer questions and comments today.


Anonymous said...

hi leis,

love your interview, and it confirmed some suspicions. mustard is wonderful; have you tried curry popcorn? i will be in your neighborhood this evening fetching π and my car before heading north. are you available for dinner? let me know.


Christine Wells said...

So is that powdered mustard or the wet stuff that you put on popcorn? I'm imagining powdered, but I'm open to suggestion. Must go and buy some popcorn:)

Anna Campbell said...

Leis, thanks so much for popping in and being a Bandita for the day! I hope you have fun with us in between battling those wild piles of untamed manuscripts!

I agree with you about the wonderful characters being the secret to Scandal's Daughter's magic. I just loved Gemma and Sebastian from the moment I started the story and I adored the friends into lovers plot. And Christine has such a warm, witty style that suits Regency historicals down to the ground.

I noted your comments that historicals never go out of style. Great to see that! But are you noticing any particular trends in historicals? Are you seeing any different settings? Is there anything you'd like to see in a historical that you're not currently finding?

Love your five quirky things. Goodness, after growing up with nine brothers and sisters, authors should be a snip!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Leis - welcome to the Bandita's lair.

Ooh ick on the mustard on popcorn.

Yay on you for adopting rescue kittens - especially the B&W. It's so sad that blacks and tuxedos are often not adopted because people think they're unlucky.

My question is about the apparent demise of straight contemporaries. Is there any sign that they're coming back? Or is there a specific type of contemporary that looks to be hot?

Caren Crane said...

Leis, welcome to the Lair! We Banditas bow to your people-handling skills and sibling wrangling with that ginormous family.

I thought my family was big and there were only five of us kids! (Of course, Bandita Jo has 7, which also stuns us. We behave better around her--really!)

Mustard on popcorn sounds really good. I like mustard on sausage biscuits (learned that from the ex-stepfather). Hats off to you for adopting the kitties! We adopted a kitty in January from Craig's list. He's the sweetest cat ever!

Glad to know that Berkley stands by its historical authors. I love historicals, especially Regencies. My good friend Claudia Dain will have her first Berkley release, "The Courtesan's Daughter" out in October and will guest blog with us on Oct. 5. You Berkley editors have fine taste!

Anonymous said...


I can't say that I am noticing any sepcific trends in Historical romances at this time but Regency historicals do tend to be a fan favorite. As for that special something I'd like to see, I guess I have to fall back on my earlier answer and say that it's really the one mansucript that I just can't put down no matter what. That's pretty much what it comes down to for me more than anything else.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great interview! Hmm, mustard on popcorn...I'll have to try that :)

ChristyJan said...

Scandal's Daughter sounds like a great historical romance ~ I love the cover.

Great interview

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome Leis!
Thanx a BUNCH for hanging out with us in the lair! And BIG THANX for giving us some insights into an editor's day.

Also GREAT to hear that historicals in all time-periods are gaining strength!

I'm curious about the packaging and marketing aspects of a new manuscript. If the story 'blends' across several genres (like an historical with paranormal elements), or otherwise is not quite like anything else Berkley has out, will this hurt or help its chances of being sold to you?

100 pages into SD and LOVING IT!

Anonymous said...

I just noticed that two Annas posted, so this is to Anna #2, Anna Sugden. :)

Contemporary romance has always been popular and like anything else has it's ups and downs but I definitely wouldn't say that it is out right now. As for what's hot right now the sexier contemporaries seem to be doing especially well.

I hope this helps!


Anonymous said...

Aunty Cindy,

That's a really good question. It is always a good idead to know precisely where the book should go but sometimes it does cross categories. For a book to fit several categories is not necessarily a problem, but I would say a problem occurs when there is no identifiable place for the book. It's hard to publish something successfully if you don't know where to put it.


Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Leis, for that update on historicals. Yes, we do have two Annas. One's real (not me!) and we call her Vrai Anna. The other is a pen name (that's me) so I'm Faux Anna which has become Foanna. Sorry for the confusion! You can't have too many Annas, though!

jo robertson said...

Hi Leis, thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to join us Banditas today.

I love your name! Would you mind telling us the origin and the pronunciation?

As the mother of seven myself, I sympathize with your growing up as one of nine. Geez-Louise! No wonder you learned to like mustard on popcorn; there was probably no butter left by the time it got to you!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Leis -

Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for all the help in the last year. You're a life-saver!

Mustard on popcorn? Definitely unique - as are you.

Donna (waving)

Beth Andrews said...

Great interview, Leis! Thanks for being with us *g* I too love cheesy movies and I often dip carrot sticks in honey mustard. Will have to try mustard on my popcorn :-)

And Christine, you're not the only one who hasn't read the latest Harry Potter -- I haven't either. Okay, I haven't read any of them but they're all in my TBR pile :-)

Unknown said...

Hi Leis!
So nice to have you as a Bandita for the day!

And THANK YOU for your vision and the gift of Christine's wonderful book. It's the first true "friends into lovers" book I've seen in years. I don't know why, but they just don't seem to be out there. I'm a believer that friends can make the best lovers and Christine's book was fabulous. Yes, I'm a writer, but we're all readers first too. A great book is priceless.

My question is this (though I don't know if there is an answer.) When you find a manuscript that's a little different--something that doesn't quite fit the "pattern"--but you can't put it down because the story is compelling--do you ever have trouble "selling" this to your editorial team because it's different? And if so, is there anything an author can do to help you on that end?

Elyssa Papa said...

Hi Leis,

Thanks for answering questions!

You mentioned the romance contemporaries are still selling ... What's your take on a Romanctic Comedy/Contempoary? Are editors/agents looking for these? Or does it depend on the author's voice?

Anonymous said...


My name is Norwegian. I was named after a great, great, great, great.....grandmother. It is pronounced like "lease".

Anonymous said...


That is a good question. It really depends on the book, the genre, etc so I am hard pressed to give you a definitive answer about this.

Hellie Sinclair said...

Hi Leis!

I admit when you mentioned the mustard thing, I thought, "French's? Really? It'd be so soggy..."--then Christine pointed out the dry mustard thing and that makes so much more sense...

How many submissions are taken unagented? Do you recommend getting an agent, or is it still possible to be considered without one? (This seems like such a chicken-and-egg question.)

Anonymous said...


As editors we are always looking for new material, be it contemporary, historical etc.

Anonymous said...


We have been known to take some unagented submissions but in general we always recommend that you get an agent.

Anonymous said...


I want to say thank you so much for all of your questions and a special thanks to Christine for including me in this. I've really enjoyed this experience and I hope I was able to answer everyone's questions. Take care and thanks again!!

P.S. I was referring to plain old yellow mustard, which can make the popcorn soggy but still tasty :)

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks for your time, Leis. It's been a blast!

Buffie said...

Hey Leis!! It was so great to read your post today. I was surprised to see that you have the time to read books for pleasure. I guess I just assumed you would be too tired of reading at work to want to read on your own time.

And as for the mustard -- I have never tried it on popcorn, but I do like it on plain potato chips!

Sandra Barkevich said...

What a wonderful interview. And, yet another book to add to my TBR list! Thank you, Anna...umm Faux Anna, for emailing me. :-)

Leis, is there a listing of what each acquisitions editor is looking for? Most of the advice out there tells you to address your query to a specific editor, but how do I know which one is most likely to be interested in my work?

Sandy :-)
Sandra Barkevich - Romance Author
*September 6, 2007 at Sandra's Goings On - World Building Workshop with
Nalini Singh

Sue A. said...

Thanks for the great interview showing another perspective. And I agree Historicals always stay in style.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Welcome to the Bandit Lair, Leis. I'm chiming in late in the day...but then I'm the vampire of the group. :)

I loved that you came from a big family. Both my parents came from huge families, 10 and 18. I must confess I sort of use some of them as fodder for secondary characters.

Regency and Victorian English historicals have held a tight reign on the sub-genre for some time now. Do you happen to see any American-set historicals finding their way into the market place in the near future?

Caren--try mustard on bacon sandwiches. To die for!

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview today and I love to put seasoning salt on my popcorn!

Christine Wells said...

A huge thanks to Leis for spending time with us in the Bandit Lair today and giving us an insight into mustard flavoured popcorn--so it is the wet kind of mustard--what we call American mustard here. Fascinating!

And thank you to all our readers who had such great questions. I really appreciate you all celebrating SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER's release date with me.

Keira Soleore said...

Welcome to the Banditas, Leis.

Mustard on popcorn... In that case, you have to meet a friend of mine, who loves mustard or mayo with her french fries.

Curry popcorn?? :) I had curry-flavored Pringles at a roadside convenience store in Aberdeenshire.

Leis, which cheesy, er, sweet romantic movie would you say is your favorite? Princess Bride rates highest with me.

V.Anna- tuxedoes? What a cute term.

Leis, is there a particular area of Norway that your ancestors are from? We visited Bergen and inwards along the fjords. Oh. My. Goodness. My eyes ached from trying to take in all those brilliant colors.

Caffey said...

Hi CHristine!!! Gosh, I so love historicals. They really are a joy to read, so much a comfort read for me. To get away and drift within the story and I was doing that already with the excerpt. I can't wait for this one! And it was fun to read your interview here as well!
Oh I don't think historicals will ever go anywhere. I see more movies too coming out as historical settings (can't wait for them to be on DVD so I can see them) but too, the historicals have always been there. Others come and go, but for the years i've been reading them, publishers been committed (some) with having the historicals and I would bug them if they didn't LOL. Thats what I have seen as a reader.

Helen said...

Thanks for the great post Leis we had a cat once called Pippa and my sister has a pug named Milo mustard on popcorn not sure about that. I love reading historical romance so it is good to hear that they are still strong. You must read some very good manuscripts and it must be hard deciding which ones you will be able to sell with time slots available at the time. I am really looking forward to reading Christine's book I have it on order and should recieve it anyday now can't wait to read it.
Have Fun

Maureen said...

I too think historicals will never really go out of style.

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