Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Interview With Editor Jenny Hutton - Pt 1.

We here at The Pink Heart Society are ecstatic to bring you our first ever interview with a Mills and Boon Editor. So please come out in force to give a warm welcome to the very lovely Jenny Hutton!!!

What is it like to work in the London Offices?
There is such a fabulous team who work here so the atmosphere is always buzzing and friendly - everyone is so passionate and enthusiastic about what they are doing.
We are based in leafy Richmond so we don’t have to compete with the congestion of central London, instead we have the river close by and the park etc which is all stunning. So yeah, it’s pretty good working in the Richmond Office.

What's a typical working day like?

This is a small, friendly department so the day always starts with that all important cup of tea and a quick catch-up chat to get everyone’s creative minds in gear. It’s busy from the moment we walk in through the door – everyone has manuscripts to read either from authors or aspiring authors, letters to write, phone calls to make. And a steady flow of emails to deal with! A lot of the day is spent chasing deadlines and proof-checking to make sure that everything runs smoothly and on time. It’s so varied that no two days are alike – one morning might be spent picking new cover images, the next afternoon maybe meeting an author for lunch, and another day jetting off to Atlanta!

What's the layout inside the offices like - do you have groups that work together - do you share authors?

The office is open plan and each team tends to be grouped together. But it’s all very fluid because each editor acquires across all the M&B series so we are always popping over to each other’s desks to discuss ideas, books, concepts, story ideas etc. Or ogle the newest sexy cover model or admire the latest cover proofs.

What is the best or worst thing about being an Editor?

The best thing is working with my authors and finding and developing new authors. It’s fascinating watching a book move from its initial synopsis stage right through to the finished product. No matter how many manuscripts I work on, when the finished glossy beautiful book arrives in the office it still makes me proud and I read through it and it makes me smile – that kind of warm, involuntary smile that nothing really beats.

The worst…mmm, there aren’t enough hours in the day!!!

How do you decide on a particular Mini-Series or mix of themes each month?

Within our teams we discuss the direction of the series and what themes are particularly popular not only within M&B but also in television, the media, film, etc. We brainstorm ideas for new miniseries, new names and fresh new concepts. It’s great fun!

Is it tough deciding what to put on the cover? (in particular the Romance line has been receiving RAVE comments for its covers...)

Isn’t the Romance art fantastic – absolutely beautiful! We have meetings each month with the art department in Toronto and we discuss the cover concept for each story. It’s always a treat when the new cover proofs arrive in the office – we pour over the stunning new Modern images, or someone from the Historical team might pop round to show us a fab cover for one of our author’s books!
What are the themes you're seeking for the lines from the London Office or are you always open to a plain old good story?
A dream author is someone who, when you read their manuscript, transports you into a completely new world. When you can’t remember that you’re sitting at your desk in the office because you’ve been swept up by the story, that’s when you know you’ve found a real gem of a manuscript.
Do M&B ever see themselves having email submissions in the future for unpubbed writers?
Not in the near future. So parcel up your submissions and send them our way – we are still actively seeking new authors!
Don’t sit on your work worrying about it, put it in the post. Think about which series you are aiming for and where your talent lies – if you used to be a nurse/ doctor/ paramedic or have a partner who’s a medical professional think about writing a Medical. If you adore history, and love to escape to the past, write a Historical. If it’s the glitz and glamour of the high-life and strong alpha heroes who call to you, write a Modern. If you want feel-good romance and the rush of falling in love write a Romance. And if it’s flirty sexy fun that you’re after go for Modern Extra! Just start writing…

End Of Part One.

Come back to The Pink Heart Society tomorrow when Jenny tells us about the famous Slush pile, deciding which line a writer's voice fits better and what we can look forward to in 2007!!! And if thats not enough temptation for you then it'll be worth the visit alone just to see the fantastic Christmas photo we have of the London office's Editorial dream team... you can finally put faces to the names!!!!!

You can order all of the Christmas books featured in this Blog though the Mills & Boon Website where you can also get all the information you need on submitting manuscripts to the Mills and Boon Editorial Team.


  1. Thanks for coming along to play Jenny!!! I came to London a couple of years back and had lunch with my ed, and your lovely answers transported me back to the offices at Richmond.

    Mmmmm, methinks the time is coming for another trip across the ocean blue...

    Can't wait to see what else you have in store for us - one thing I never saw was the slush pile!


  2. Ooh! Jenny, you have made me want to come and visit. I think I need a 'Goal Richmond' plan:-)

    Wishing you and all the other editors a Merry Christmas!

    Fiona Lowe
    HMB Medicals

  3. I think this made us all want to make it to Richmond.

  4. Thanks for doing this, Jenny!

    The Richmond office sounds like a great place to work. I can't wait to see the Christmas photo.

    Claire Baxter

  5. Jenny,

    Thanks for doing this. I really love hearing about the office and how things work in the publishing world.


  6. Jenny,

    I enjoyed your post and I'm looking forward to seeing the group photo. I do like the sound of a working day that includes a decent lunch. Maybe one day I'll make it to Richmond to see you all (and have lunch!).

    Thanks for the insight into your office - it makes it a bit more real to us.


  7. Thanks for the interview! Very fun! I'll be back tomorrow for sure...

  8. Jenny
    I think its unremarkable that there are still people with a heart in this world.... It takes a very strong, determined, caring and considerate woman to take time out of her everyday work, and spend it on a blog such as this and give romance writers information.
    I wish you and your family a great christmas...

  9. Hi Jenny, and thank you for your lovely post. Your enthusiasm shines through and makes me realise all over again just how fortunate we are, whether aspiring writers, authors or readers, to have such a dedicated team at HM&B. Many thanks to you all, and I look forward to reading tomorrow's blog (and seeing any and all pics on offer).

    Best wishes,


  10. This was so great, Jenny! Thanks for sharing it with us. Here's wishing you and all the staff at Richmond a Merry Christmas! Maybe next year I can visit...

  11. Hi Jenny! I'm not reading this, promise!! I've got a book to finish ....

  12. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's blog post!

    I like M&B's covers too, and the trend of using semi-contemporary (i.e. they weren't painted during the Regency period, but at a slightly later date) artwork for the collections of Regency romances makes them very attractive.

  13. Jenny, this is a wonderful insight into the offices where the magic happens, thank you!
    Many thanks to the wonderful PHS editors for arranging the visit (just when we think things can't get any better). :-)
    Looking forward to Part Two...

    Sue :-)

  14. Jenny, it's lovely to 'see' you here...this information is a real treasure trove and is sure to inspire even more people to have a go!
    Have a lovely holiday break and happy new year!
    x Daisy - Abby Green

  15. Hi Jenny, thank you for posting to us, it's lovely to hear from an Editor direct & what a lovely post! I've got two unusual (well, probably!) questions. First is I was a nurse but then requalified in social work because I've got a foot deformity that made running about the wards difficult, I haven't noticed you have a social worker and wondered why? (It's not the awful job the papers make it out to be, it's more the counselling & arranging role really). My current book is about a GP & Social Worker, do you think that will help or hinder it's chances of being published?
    Also, after stopping social work I wrote a bit for magazines but have now stopped that to have more time for novel writing, which I really want to do. Do you think I should finish a whole book before sumbitting, or just partial, because if I write a book and the setting isn't suitable, I could have wasted time writing something more appropriate!
    Thanks for your time anyway.
    Hope you're not too cold up there, I'm in Glos and it's freezing!
    Lynne Pardoe

  16. PS, I forgot to mention it is the medicals I'm targeting. That'll teach me not to be distracted by my daughter and to preview everything!

  17. Jenny, thank you so much for coming to talk to us here at the PHS, it is lovely to read what goes on behind the scenes.

    It has been a complete privilege to work with the Meds team this past year and I am exdeedingly grateful to you all for your support and encouragement.

    Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and the best of everything for the new year.

    Best wishes,
    (HMB Medicals)

  18. Hi Jenny!!!!! WHAT A STAR for coming out to *play*!!! And LOOK at all the new friends you've made!!!

    I can tell you all gang that if the enthusiasm comes through in this post its nothing compared to what you'll experience in the office itslf! Everyone os so very very friendly - and entire too good looking.... ;) It is the loveliest place to visit...

    Mind you, after this, there could well be a bus load of authors turning up at the door...

    Lynne - I dunno about the Socila Worker part - if Jenny is able to pop by then maybe she can answer that - but I know she truly is hectic at the mo - but as to the finish the manuscript first - ABSOLUTELY!!! Every book is a learning curve - and even finishing one is part of the test. Also - if they request the full you want it sitting all nice and shiny and ready to go, don't you???

    H's & K's

  19. THanks so much to the PHS and Jenny for taking the time to answer all these questions. Can't wait for PArt 2... And I can't wait even more for you picking my wip from the slush pile. Hey, a gal can dream....


  20. Oh I agree the office in Richmond is lovely. And Jenny's description tallys with my memory of my visit there last May.

    It is a lovely interivew and very lovely of Jenny to do this.

    Hopefully people will be inspired to send off their ms.

    Lynne -- if the ms fits the Medical guidelines, take a chance and send it off, because unless an editor sees it, she can't tell. Finish the ms, and then send it off. Take the risk.
    You don't want to know how many people told Olvia Gates that she'd never sel a medical set in a war zone or how many people told me that they would never ever buy a Ancient Roman...

    Looking forward to the Interview part 2.

  21. Jenny, thank you so much for taking time to explain things for us. Looking forward to pt. 2.


  22. Introduced to this blog by a fellow member of the RNA (thank you Natasha) it reminded me of when, via the NWS, I had an editorial meeting with Elizabeth Johnson(?) at Richmond. Sadly, it never came to anything, probably because I hadn't got the "emotion" gene. But every time I read something like this, I get fired up all over again! If it wasn't for rewrites and deadlines, I'd be in there trying...

    Great blog. I'll be back.

  23. Thanks sooo much for giving us an insight into the Richmond office, Jenny!
    Sounds like a great place to work.
    I almost made it there in day soon, definitely!

  24. Fascinating! What lively insight into a dream job. Looking forward to tomorrow's instalment

  25. Jenny -- I agree that your Richmond office sounds heavenly. It's great to hear from you. As a historical author, I'm so happy that the HH line is doing well as are all the others. The covers are more and more wonderful. So nice to meet you here on the blog!

    Charlene Sands

  26. I enjoyed Part I and I'm looking forward to Part II. Thanks so much!

    Gail Fuller

  27. Hi Jenny - nice to see you here!

    And I can confirm that the offices definitely have a buzz about them - I was privileged to be there last month. They're also a 5-minute walk from the river, which is a partocularly beautiful spot in Richmond.

    Have a lovely Christmas!

  28. Hi Jenny, thanks for the peek inside the Richmond offices :o) Looking forward to seeing the photo. Happy holidays!