Confessions of a Harlequin Editor: Kathryn Lye

IMG00517-20150130-1206This week it’s Harlequin Heartwarming editor Kathryn Lye in the SOLD blog hot-seat – enjoy this insight into what she’s looking for, and don’t forget to tweet her with your questions or post them below!


I’m Kathryn Lye, a Harlequin editor located in the Toronto office. On St. Patrick’s Day next month I’ll have been with the company for eighteen years. I had hoped that starting at Harlequin on St. Patrick’s Day would bring me good luck, and it has. I’ve had an amazing journey working with and getting to know so many authors, agents and colleagues. Indeed, I’ve been very lucky.

My primary task is to acquire and edit for the Harlequin Heartwarming series. These books are clean, contemporary romances at 70 000 words. Finding new authors is definitely one of the best things about this job. Making ‘the call’ –hopefully making someone’s publishing dream a reality — is a great privilege. I’ve had authors on the phone who have cried happy tears, screamed, and to complete the range of emotion, been shocked speechless.

What I’m most keen or excited to see in a new submission is depth of emotion from the characters and that the characters seem real. Meaning they have an interesting personality, are engaging, have good points, but are still vulnerable and open to change. I love it when I’ve enjoyed being with certain characters so much that I don’t want to leave them by the end of the story!

Romances that capture a blend of dramatic circumstances or premise, and a little underlying humor are often my favorites. Having a sense of humor is key I think to tackling life’s ups and downs. Lifts the soul; helps you to remember the bigger picture.

On a practical note, to date in the series we’ve published a number of fine romances that involve refurbishing a property, home or business, but going forward I’d also like to see other types of stories, and, I do love small-town settings, they have a lot to offer in terms of charm, texture and a close-knit community. But I would also like to see more urban settings. I live in a large cosmopolitan city and confess I enjoy seeing locales that I can relate to personally.

I always like attention to detail. No doubt it relates to the stickler part of my brain and personality. Do events that happen make sense to the story? What about the choices characters make, or their behavior, do they advance the plot, the relationship? Romances that answer yes to these questions definitely appeal to me.

My other passion, apart from reading, is for my four-year-old nephew. I recently bought him a terrific picture book by Scott Campbell titled Hug Machine. Enough said.

Best wishes,


Follow me on Twitter @Lye1892.