Confessions of a Harlequin Editor: Dana Grimaldi

Meet Dana Grimaldi, Harlequin editor, photographer and GoT fan!

Dana Grimaldi @DanaGrimaldi

Dana Grimaldi @DanaGrimaldi

Hello! My name is Dana Grimaldi and I’m an Assistant Editor/Editorial Assistant for Harlequin Heartwarming, Superromance and Gold Eagle. I’ve been working at Harlequin for seven years now, and I can’t wait to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work in the editorial department. It might seem like editors are faceless robots who process manuscripts and correct commas. But I can assure you, we’re real people who hate sending rejection letters and love the X-men. Read on for more insights into the life of an editor…

My favorite part of the job is…making The Call! Working with new authors is so exciting, and I love their enthusiasm and fresh ideas. And who doesn’t like giving good news?

The TV show I can’t get enough of right now is…Game of Thrones! I’ve read the books and watched the show and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. As an editor, I get to read books by my favorite authors months before they’re published, so having to wait is excruciating. I might even call it…a mummer’s farce!

If I wasn’t an editor I would be…a photographer. Before I started at Harlequin, I applied to be a photographer with the local newspaper. I didn’t get the job—possibly because my camera broke while I was shooting photos for the test—but I think it wasn’t meant to be. I love being an editor. Working with authors and helping them make their story the strongest it can be is incredibly rewarding. I still enjoy photography in my spare time, and I post photos on twitter and my tumblr account.

My editorial pet peeve is…stories with no conflict. Authors, I know you love your characters—we love them, too—but exciting stories need conflict! Bad things need to happen—lots of them. If your characters aren’t struggling, if there’s nothing keeping the hero and heroine from loving each other or reaching their goals, the reader won’t keep turning the pages. If there’s no conflict, there’s no story. For example, imagine the opening of Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara sees Rhett Butler for the first time…and immediately forgets about Ashley. She and Rhett get married and live happily ever after by chapter two. Where’s the fun in that?

Thanks for reading my editor confessions! If you’d like to leave me a question, I’ll be happy to answer in the comment section below. And join me in tweeting with the #ZeroConflictQuotes hashtag. I’m going to kick things off with this: “I don’t mind snakes, Jock! I don’t mind ’em at all!” #IndianaJones #ZeroConflictQuotes.

8 replies on “Confessions of a Harlequin Editor: Dana Grimaldi”

Will Heartwarming or Superromance consider stories that take place outside the USA?

If the location impacts little on the story apart from background detail, would it be better to transfer it to the USA?

I see Heartwarming online but never in actual shops here in Ireland, (also the Love Inspired ranges). Are they primarily targeted at USA markets?

Don’t feel bad about rejection letters.I never submit through normal channels but it is great that you consider all submissions.
Any competition I entered, I learnt a lot, enjoyed reading the other entries and following the results. I”m sure others feel the same. It gives the un agented, unconnected to the publishing world and beginners a chance.

Hi, Mary,
There’s no need to re-write a story that’s set in an international location. Heartwarming and Superromance publish stories set all over the world. For example, Out of the Shadows by Melanie Mitchell takes place in Africa, and The Sweetest Hours by Cathryn Parry is set in Scotland.
Print copies of Heartwarming books are available through and our Reader Service book club, but unfortunately, those services don’t ship outside North America. As you mentioned, Heartwarming ebooks are available at most retailers, including Mills & Boon (
All the best,

You can certainly get your fill of conflict on Game of Thrones, not to mention surprises, even if you’ve read the books. No HEA guarantees there, in fact the only guarantee is nobody stays happy. Could you believe Stannis — never mind,no spoilers.

Great post.

Thanks, Beth! I can’t believe it, actually. I’ll wait until next season to see if we’re just being fooled. 🙂

Good advice on the conflict angle. I agree, stuff had to be happening. I also like lots of dialogue. Too much intersection is boring.
Thanks Dana!

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