A Day in the Life of the Harlequin Medical Romance Team

Dashing doctors, tea and tasty treats, AssiLaura-McCallen-photo-300x238stant Editor Laura McCallen takes us behind the scenes of Harlequin Medical Romance…


Our day starts when we arrive at The NEWS Building at London Bridge. Whisked up to the 16th floor by whisper-soft elevators we arrive at our desks ready to take on the day…after a quick trip to the kitchen for tea, of course! The first thing on the agenda is always taking a look at our inboxes (if we haven’t already taken a sneaky look on our phones on the way in) and sorting out what needs to be done in the day ahead. It’s set to be a busy one with a team meeting, an art briefing, a titling brainstorm, and an initial prelim meeting!

Once we’ve all had a chance to sort through our emails and deal with pressing queries we find a quiet spot to sit down as a team for our bi-weekly Medical meeting. This is the chance for all four of us to get together and check in on where we are with dates and deadlines. We go over the different admin that needs to be completed and make sure everything is in hand. Before we know it we’re all caught up and it’s on to the next meeting – an art brief! In every meeting with the art team we have two goals – to pick covers for a specific month from the gorgeous selection our art team pulls together for us and to brief the team on the following month’s covers. When briefing we talk about a variety of different elements that can have an impact on what might be best for the book – sensuality levels, season, poses that best reflect the title, what the hero and heroine look like and the key emotions of the story. Every story is completely unique and we’re dedicated to ensuring that the cover accurately reflects the book. After pouring over lovely images of dashing doctors, beautiful babies and heart-warming family bonding it’s no wonder we always leave these meetings with smiles on our faces!

After our Art Brief there’s some time before lunch so we all get our heads down answering emails, seeing to administrative tasks and maybe even getting stuck into a new manuscript. As we’ve recently changed offices lunch is a time of adventure as we head out into the surrounding area in search of the best hidden lunch spot gems. We return to our desks full and happy and ready for the next item in the schedule – titling! Undoubtedly a highlight for all of us this is the time to familiarize ourselves with the latest month of fabulous books and to brainstorm titles. It’s always fun to see the diversity in the line-up and we have a great time challenging ourselves to find the best title for each book!

After a quick tea break the team comes back together for another exciting part of our jobs that also allows us to flex our creative muscles – this time with prelims! ‘Prelims’ are the ‘preliminary material’ that goes out with all of our books including author notes, dedications, the back cover copy, concept pages, extracts and praise. The process starts when each editor sends us the prelims for their author’s book. We then sit down at a team with all 6 blurbs (aka back cover copy) and look at each in turn – as with covers we want to ensure each blurb is completely unique so it’s important we check for any unintentionally similar locations or themes across the books. We always make this initial prelim meeting a half hour so that we can focus swiftly and efficiently on each one…otherwise you might find us in the same place days later enthusing over this story or that! With each one we analyse what it might need and then either make the tweaks ourselves or ask the editor to run a second eye over it with our feedback in mind. Some stories are trickier than others but we’re a determined bunch and we won’t stop until it’s absolutely perfect!

Finished with the prelim meeting the rest of the afternoon is free for us to tackle other tasks. That is – after we’ve all taken a quick trip to the Treat Shelf. We deserve a reward after all those meetings! As I’m in the midst of a gripping new manuscript from one of my Medical authors I take this opportunity to find a quiet corner to finish reading and getting caught up in my favourite type of drama. I’m the type to take notes as I go so you’ll usually find me with my Kindle in one hand and my phone (open to my favourite note-taking app) in the other. I always aim to finish up and be back at my desk a half hour before the end of the day to double check that there’s been no disasters and to be on hand for any last minute requests. After one final check in with the rest of the team I put together my to-do list for tomorrow and then head out for the evening. It was a busy, meeting-filled day but I’m feeling good knowing just how much we accomplished!


Now you’ve gotten a glimpse of a day in our lives tell us – what do you get up to during your 9 to 5?