Susan Swinwood, Executive Editor
Interests: I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction that features prominent female characters, particularly set around the World Wars, but have recently discovered a deep fondness for time-slip novels that marry the best of historical and contemporary story lines. I’d love to add an original take on the classic mystery or gothic fiction to my list, and I’m a sucker for any novel told through journal entries or other forms of correspondence. I also just love a big layered quirky family drama told with wit and charm.
I’d love to find the next… Sarah Jio, Curtis Sittenfeld, Susanna Kearsley, Jane Green.
Bio: A born and bred Torontonian, Susan’s publishing career began with notable Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart before she joined Harlequin Books where, for the past 15+ years, she’s edited and helped guide the writing careers of a wide array of debut and veteran bestselling authors. She is the executive editor for Graydon House and HQN Books.
Melanie Fried, Editor
Interests: I acquire book club and upmarket women’s fiction and value a balance of engaging voice and characters with a defined plot and high emotional stakes. I love historical fiction with strong female leads inspired by true figures and typically with 1900s, Gilded Age and American Revolution settings; feel-good contemporary stories and romantic comedies with high-concept hooks; mainstream plots with elements of suspense; and humorous yet heartfelt family dramas. I have a soft spot for novels that involve New York City, high-society drama, rekindled relationships, campus settings and multicultural themes.
I’d love to find the next… Adriana Trigiani, Melanie Benjamin, Jonathan Tropper, Laura Dave
Bio: A lifelong New Yorker, Melanie Fried began her publishing career at Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster before moving over to Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, where she worked with a wide range of bestselling and award-winning authors but specialized in upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction and memoir.
Allison Carroll, Editor
Interests: I’m particularly interested in women’s fiction that addresses the realities of dating in a very digital, very global society. Modern day relationship fiction that explores everything from long-distance relationships and cultural/racial barriers and expectations to online dating and the hookup app culture to the darker issues facing women today, such as online trolling and bullying and the disturbing emergence of doxing and revenge porn.
I’m also searching for format-driven fiction—a relationship told through letters, diary entries, email; a story told out of order, a story with an unexplained plot device à la the film Sliding Doors or the phone in Rainbow Rowell’s Landline.
Whether it’s a fun, breezy, grin-inducing read or a story that makes me weepy (in a good way!), a modern retelling of a classic story or an unpredictable speculative love story, strong hooks and a commercial voice are a must.
I’d love to find the next… Rainbow Rowell, Graeme Simsion, Elena Ferrante
Bio: Allison Carroll is a Montana transplant who once upon a time packed all her belongings in a U-Haul and drove cross-country to NYC. Her introduction to publishing began at Dorchester Publishing in 2009 and continued at Macmillan’s Heroes and Heartbreakers. Allison joined the Harlequin family in 2012 and counts several New York Times bestselling authors among the writers she works with.
Brittany Lavery, Assistant Editor
Interests: My personal taste in acquisitions lends itself to three main areas, and if I see these kinds of stories on submission, I’ll drop everything and dive right in. I love snappy, fresh, funny, contemporary voices with relatable protagonists for a younger generation—a female protagonist who is relatably screwed up, in the vein of Amy Schumer or Kristen Wiig’s irreverent comedy. I also love sprawling family sagas with love stories woven through, like a Penmarric for a new generation, or even something spooky and atmospheric like Rebecca—the story of a deliciously unhinged relationship. My other definite bias is toward the speculative, the truly unconventional love story—for example, The Time Traveler’s Wife or Never Let Me Go.
I’d love to find the next… David Nicholls, Audrey Niffenegger or Jessica Knoll.
Bio: Brittany started her publishing career in 2009 with an internship at The Cooke Agency and moved on to positions at the University of Toronto Press and Penguin Canada, joining Harlequin in 2015. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, you can find her watching X-Files reruns, running around the soccer field or discussing the finer points of baseball and cheering on her beloved Toronto Blue Jays.
Tahra Seplowin, Assistant editor
Interests: Voice is paramount; I want to lose myself in an unforgettable narrative. Manuscripts that take me on an emotional roller coaster—laughing one chapter, sometimes even sobbing the next—are usually the ones that keep me up until three in the morning because I can’t stop reading. High character stakes and a keen awareness of what makes for a compelling emotional journey are key. I also love darker women’s fiction with complicated relationships and the occasional suspenseful twist as well as sweeping historical fiction that pulls me into a foreign experience. I’m actively looking for stories that feature diversity that accurately reflects the world we live in, and Own Voices manuscripts are a top priority.
I’d love to find the next… Liane Moriarty, Kate Morton, Sally Thorne or Sonali Dev.
Bio: Tahra Seplowin was born and raised in New York City. She’s worked at the Jane Rotrosen Agency, Entangled Publishing and is now with Harlequin. She’s actively looking to acquire fresh new voices in commercial trade fiction.
Keely Kundell, Editorial Coordinator
Interests: I’m drawn to snappy and humorous love stories; hook-driven books with fresh, unique voices; modern retellings of classic stories such as Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld or Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler; and smart, sophisticated, emotionally charged women’s fiction in the vein of Jenny Lawson’s wry and reflective voice. I also love to read anything with a diverse cast of characters.
Bio: Keely hails from Toronto, and she began her career working at Kobo in publisher operations, later moving to Harlequin as an editorial intern in early 2015. When she is not reading a good space opera or fantasy novel, she is playing D&D, or Guild Wars 2. She has deep and abiding love for all things Jane Austen. A cat lady to the core, she can often be found posting too many photos of her furball on Instagram.