Focus on Shana Asaro

Shana Asaro
Associate Editor
Love Inspired


Associate Editor Shana Asaro has been with Harlequin for over five years–though you might recognize her more easily as Shana Smith. She found her HEA in September 2013, and we’re getting used to her new name! A few months ago she did a Q&A on the Harlequin forums–the link is here–but we thought we’d refresh it a bit.



What most distinguishes your line from the other lines (especially lines that may be similar to yours)? 

While Love Inspired shares some aspects with other home and family lines like Special Edition and American Romance, there is a distinct difference when it comes to sensuality levels. Love Inspired is wholesome and free of sensuality. An integrated faith element is key to Love Inspired as is a strong sense of community.

What is your biggest submission pet peeve?
Authors not reading the guidelines and familiarizing themselves with the types of books the line publishes.

If your line was a TV series, which one would it be?
For the small-town community feel, Gilmore Girls (one of my favorite shows!).

What’s your favorite part of being an editor?
I love discovering great new writers and working on books that make me excited to share them with the world.

What does your typical day look like?
On any given day I might work on an edit or review a copyedit, read a manuscript or proposal, write up a memo on a proposal or new manuscript that I’ve read, write up revision notes for one of my authors, talk to an author about a problem she’s having with a manuscript, review copy or review art information. Then there are all those pesky little housekeeping details like gathering front matter, checking and responding to emails and of course popping in on Twitter every now and then.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read for pleasure?
I’ve just finished reading Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner and The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz and am currently reading Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.

Why did you become an editor?
Because I didn’t want to be a journalist after I graduated college. I’ve always loved reading, and once the idea of working in publishing occurred to me, I wondered why I’d never thought of it before.

Do you have any hobbies?
I like to travel, watch movies, buy more shoes and clothes than I have room for in my closet, eat cupcakes and pet my dog’s super-soft ears.

What type of character/plot are you DYING to see?
I love storms and weather disasters and any kind of really great twist.

Thank you, Shana, for sharing these details! You can also find Shana on Twitter at @Shana_Asaro where she tweets about books, writing tips, Love Inspired, and whatever is catching her attention at the moment!

6 replies on “Focus on Shana Asaro”

I’m also really loving Amish stories right now–contemporary, suspense or historical–and would love to acquire some. Just throwing that out there! 🙂

Hi, Shana… What happens if an editor likes a writer’s submission for what it is but determines that the submission doesn’t fit the line for which she’s seeking submissions? Is it likely that she’ll: (a) simply reject the work; (b) suggest that the writer submit to a different line or to a different publisher altogether; or (c) tell the writer to keep trying–that she sees his/her ability but that she simply isn’t interested in what’s being offered? I’m curious for fairly obvious reasons… 🙂

Hi Sybil. It depends on the circumstances. If the editor thinks that it has promise for another line within the house, she may pass it along to that senior editor herself or recommend that the author submit the project to that line instead.

Sometimes, though, we may really like a number of things about a particular manuscript, but it isn’t quite right for any of our lines. When we’re interested in seeing more from a particular writer, we’re not shy about saying so. So if we see that sparkle of promise but this particular story doesn’t work, we’ll ask to see something else.

Plenty of our current authors didn’t sell the first manuscript they submitted to us, but they kept working and submitting new manuscripts until the right project found the right editor. So keep honing your craft and never give up!

I love that Harlequin offers such great, clean lines. I also love clean romantic comedies. I sifted through my mom’s HQN collection as a teenager, seeking out that spark in the writing.
How do editors feel about writers infusing a little comedy into a manuscript targeting LI? Could it be an inspired romcom ms? That is, if the comedy actually works on the page, of course. 🙂 Thanks.

Hi Shanda. While I wouldn’t recommend going as far as a romantic comedy, humor, when done correctly, can always have a place in a book. It’s really about making sure that the overall tone of a manuscript fits with the desired tone of the line. For Love Inspired, we look for sweet romances that focus on community and faith. But if your story can also make me laugh every now and then, I think that’s great.

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