Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Interview with Carly Corcoran, Editorial Assistant

This month as part of our blog centenary celebrations, we're so excited to have with us a brand new addition to the Harlequin Romance Editorial Team!

Carly Corcoran is a new editorial assistant in the Richmond office and has very graciously agreed to participate in an interview.

Welcome to Romance, Carly!

Title: Editorial Assistant on the Mills & Boon /Harlequin Romance team

Where do you live?

At the moment I am living with my parents in Hanworth, Middlesex a town only a couple of miles from Richmond where the UK Mills & Boon office is based. I have lived there all my life, but this year I have decided that it’s time to fly the nest (and the nagging!) and look for a place of my own! I will be looking in the local area for somewhere close to work, and my parents, incase I’m ever in need of a home-cooked meal!

What is the last non-job related book you read?

P.S. I Love You by Irish author Cecelia Ahern. It was recently made into a film of the same title starring Hilary Swank as the heroine, Holly Kennedy, and the gorgeous Gerard Butler, who plays her on-screen husband, Gerry. It was recommended to me by a friend and I found myself crying all the way through, and incurring some rather dodgy looks on the train! It was a heart-warming, life affirming story and a real page-turner!

Who are your favourite authors?

Having studied English Literature at school and university I’m a huge fan of the classics: Jane Austen, The Bront√ęs and Charles Dickens. My more contemporary favourites include Irish author Marian Keyes, who writes funny, witty chick-lit stories that always make me laugh. I also admire the ability of authors such as J K Rowling (Harry Potter series) and Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy) to create a whole new fantasy world that has captured readers’ imaginations across the globe. They offer readers a chance to escape into a world where anything is possible and transcend boundaries in their appeal to both adults and children. As you can probably tell I read quite widely!

What’s your favourite food/ guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure has to be carrot cake! I never seem to be able to say no to a slice (or two!) and also, (the downfall of many women) chocolate!

What is your favourite tv show? Do you have a favourite actor?

My taste in TV shows is quite varied. At the moment I’m enjoying The Apprentice, which is a UK show where multi-millionaire, Alan Sugar, is looking for a new apprentice and several contestants must carry out tasks he sets in order to win the coveted position. Also Desperate Housewives, which is conveniently on on the same night. I’m finding the fourth series the funniest yet!

On a different tack I do enjoy some of the more action-packed series such as Prison Break and 24, no doubt the gorgeous male leads have something to do with it…

While the actors in all these shows are excellent, in terms of my favourite actor, I automatically think of film stars. Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean) is my firm favourite. He has classic good looks and, has starred in a quirky mix of films and makes every role his own.

What is your dream vacation?

I would love to see more of Europe; take a gondola ride in Venice, see the Colosseum in Rome, the Acropolis in Athens…the list is endless! What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?

I have been lucky enough to do quite a lot of traveling around South East Asia, China, Hong Kong and the Philippines, which has been an amazing experience.

Who would you most like to meet, living or dead?

Jane Austen would be a very interesting person to meet. I would love to know what life was like in the eighteenth century and where the inspiration for her stories and characters came from, and if a man like Mr Darcy really did exist!

What did you do before becoming an Editorial Assistant for Mills and Boon?

I was working towards my Masters degree in Popular Literatures. I made the decision to continue studying for another year after finishing my Bachelor degree, mainly to pursue my interest in genre fiction. It was a challenging course but really enjoyable too!
What do you look for from your authors?

The protagonists need to be particularly well drawn so that they are both apsirational and believable. As a reader, my favourite stories are always the ones where I fall in love with the hero and want to be the heroine! A strong emotional conflict is also key to driving a story forward and keeping the reader gripped, and more often than not brings a tear to my eye! I have been blown away by the quality and variety of the editorial I have read since starting work at Harlequin Mills & Boon.

What do you think makes the Romance line so special?

For me, it’s the deeply emotional content of the stories that keep me gripped, and the heroes, who I believe are sexier, because they are not afraid to let down their guard and show some emotion!

What really makes your heartstrings twang when you’re reading a manuscript?

Any strong emotional conflict either in the hero or heroine’s past or in the front story. I really like the way the hero and heroine help to heal each others hearts in the course of a story and watching the characters growth on the page, particularly when a character gains the confidence to stand up to a domineering or repressive force in their life or to express their true feelings when they are not sure of the response they will get. And of course anything with an adorable little baby involved tugs at my heart strings.

How many manuscripts do you read in a week?

At the moment, as I am still relatively new to the company, two-three, though I am sure this number will go up as I gain more experience and begin working with my own authors.

And finally, Carly, what has it been like joining the Romance team during such an important time – celebrating the company’s Centenary?

It is very exciting joining Harlequin Mills & Boon in its centenary year and being part of a company with such a long and interesting history. The company is in a unique position in that its stories provide a barometer of the changes in our culture and society over the last century; from the increasing explicitness of sexual content in the Modern/Presents line, to the emancipation of its heroines from the home to the workplace.

The media coverage in the UK has been huge with features in the National press and television coverage. When I came for my interview there was even a film crew outside the building! I have been proud to tell my family and friends who have seen it, that that’s the company I work for!

There are lots of exciting things happening in the Mills & Boon/Harlequin Romance series this year, notably The Wedding Planners continuity, and it has been good to see authors working together and what they have come up with. I am looking forward to seeing what other great ideas and stories our authors come up with in Harlequin Mills & Boon’s 101 year!

(the Romance team from left to right: Carly Corcoran, Kimberly Young, and Meg Sleightholme)

Wow, thank you Carly for taking time out of your week to be with us!

And for you, the readers - don't forget to send an e-mail to hrablog@hotmail.com with the subject line Barbara to enter to win a signed copy of her current release, The Pregnancy Promise!


  1. Great interview and nice pics.

  2. Hi Carly and welcome to the HR team. It's great to "meet" you and learn so much about you. Great taste in men, btw!