Fizzy Fangirling – An Interview with Lizzie Poteet (Bonus: Ask Lizzie!!!)

Hello my loves!

Today, as promised, I bring you an interview with the delightful Lizzie Poteet of St. Martin’s Press, PLUS all her answers to your Ask Lizzie questions!!

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1. Tell us a little bit about your job as an editorial assistant with St. Martin’s Press? What does your job entail? What genres do you handle? Pretty much any little tidbits you’d like to throw out there!

How to explain my job…well, let’s start easy and work our way up to hard. I work with romance, erotica, and YA. But my main passion is romance. No Happily Ever After, No Lizzie. My job at SMP is pretty normal. I work for one awesome editor who is awesome, helping her manage her submissions, rejections, and editing. I read a lot, write a bit, and help out with the thousand random things that go into book publishing that I’m sure none of you really care about. Unless you have an unquenchable thirst to hear about…metadata. In which case, I underestimated the readership of this blog and let’s talk! Plus, right now I’m on the prowl like a wild cougar in the night looking to start building my own list of books. Or in less threatening terms: I’m now “actively acquiring” and am reading a lot more submissions than I used to.

2. What made you get into this goofy business in the first place?

I probably should say something like, “Oh, well I’ve always had a lifelong passion for the written word and realized I wanted to help shape and nurture the future voices of our generation … blah blah.” But in real life, my realization was a little less noble: I love fun, sexy, knock-your-socks-off-first-kiss romances and wanted to get paid to read them. For some reason I had it in my head all through high school and college that I was a serious person interested in serious things with a side addiction to romance novels—which I refused to admit to anyone. So being such a serious individual, I decided I was going to be…a Bible Professor (but a secular one). Tribes of Israel! Jephthah! Jesus! So I majored in religion. I looked into post-grad programs. I talked a lot about the Rapture and primogeniture in Scripture. I was on fire. [Insert burning bush joke of choice here!] Until I realized I couldn’t read ancient Greek and I didn’t have any desire to learn. It was like a wake up call. While I like religions, I love love. So I decided to finally fess up and pursue the industry I was born for: romance novels and erotica. Best decision I’ve ever made. Besides growing out my bangs. I looked terrible in bangs.

3. According to your Tweets, you spend a considerable amount of time editing Erotica. I’ve got to ask: Does it ever scramble your brains a little? (I’m imagining the episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler had the free porn and it skewed their realities…)

Confession: before this job, I never really read erotica. Sure, I’d picked one or two up when I was interning at RT Bookreviews (a super awesome review magazine with a focus on women’s fiction. Holla RT!), but erotica wasn’t a staple in my life. Now, while I don’t edit it per say, I do help my boss with some of her erotica titles, and I will admit that sometimes I wonder if I truly know what sexy is anymore. But that’s only after I’ve gone weeks not reading anything but erotica. If he touches there… is that sexy or sleazy? I don’t know. Maybe both. But it’s great. Now, I’m really trying to expand my erotic knowledge by reading more of the genre. Erotica is always fun even if sometimes you have to stop and wonder: is that even physically possible?

4. You are hilarious. That’s not a question. Just needed to be said.

Haha no pressure right? Just don’t make me tell a joke. The only material I have comes from the back of popsicle sticks.

5. What kind of story would you love to land in your inbox right now?

Hmm tough one… well obviously, I’m a sucker for a good love story. Historical, contemporary, paranormal, or young adult, as long as it has that “Oh My God, hit me in the gut, breathless with anticipation” love, I want it. No biggie. Sexy banter and tension is my drug of choice. Right now, I really want three things: a unique historical romance—give me time travel or give me knights, just give me the sexy Alpha men!; a smart, sexy, witty contemporary  romance; or a hotter than hot, danger abound, romantic suspense—didn’t someone super smart say that the love that blooms during war is the strongest? Or something like that?

6. As you have wandered into the realm of my blog, it is customary to share an embarrassing moment, industry related or otherwise, with the class.

I almost feel like there are too many to share. I am a supremely awkward person and for some reason this industry makes it worse. For some reason it always seems like my embarrassing moments come when I meet authors I’ve always loved. While at RT, I interviewed one of my all-time favorite romance authors, Heather Graham (not to be confused with the actress), and after we were done talking she asked me to email her sometime when I was back in school. I replied, “You’re gonna regret that.” Which didn’t make me sound like a stalker at all. And just this month, I was  introduced to a childhood idol while literally stroking a colleague’s furry vest. But that’s a story for another time.

FIZZY AGAIN!!  Now it’s off into the Ask Lizzie answers!!  ENJOY!!!!

I would LURVE to know what your all time worst Valentine’s Day experience was.

A: This is going to sound terrible, but ever since school stopped making us decorate boxes, I’ve kinda forgotten Valentine’s Day. So that’s been a bit awkward. Like when the guy you didn’t quite know you were “seeing” decides to learn your favorite song by heart and play it on the piano—which he doesn’t really play—and then you’re all like, “what’s this for?” …Yeah. But blast from the past, my worst Valentine’s Day was in second grade when my first love Everett couldn’t take my Valentine—a penguin card because he loved penguins—due to the fact his religion didn’t allow him to celebrate. It broke my heart. I still can’t look at penguins.

So, what “traditional” romantic gift do y’all think sucks? And what would you recommend instead?

A: I hate poetry. Stop it. Don’t write me some long, boring, rhyming b.s. about how you think my hair looks like a wild vine and my cheeks apples. Thanks for that. My hair looks like wild vines? I think if a gift is personal and original it’s romantic. Give me a teapot, but just please don’t try to rhyme “Lizzie” with “dizzy.”

Your man has to “work,” canceling your long planned special V-day evening. What do you do when you decide to go anyway with a girlfriend instead and see him with another woman?

A: Depends on what genre you’re in. For example, one solution would be to slay him because any man who’d cheat on you On. Valentine’s. Day. is obviously a demon and trying to steal your soul through complex sex magic. Duh. But before you bring out the Big Slayer Skillz, I would verify first that you are in the middle of a paranormal romance. If you don’t have magical powers and/or your now ex-BF does not have horns, consider instead that you may be in a perfectly lovely contemporary romance. Much less bloodshed and better humor. In which case, when you see the Cheating Bastard, casually stroll up with the next Hunky Hunk (i.e. a fireman, billionaire, cop, or contractor) you can grab. Obviously, this new man will fall instantly in love with you, you’ll have great sex and a lasting relationship, and the C.B will be insanely jealous and sorry he ever let you go. Or you could just throw your drink in the C.B.’s face and storm off to drink a lot of tequila. Either way, should be fun.

You are all of 19, practically a hag. It’s your last Season and you need to find a husband, now. Unfortunately, the only man you’re interested in is a duke with a rakish reputation. How do you snag the man of your dreams?

A: Read Lisa Kleypas. She’s got your back.

This time of year I’m thinking about established relationships, couples who are in it for the long haul. It’s easy to keep tension high in a still developing will-they-won’t-they relationship. But are there any tips for keeping tension high, and reader interest in a committed coupling?

A: Just because they’re married, doesn’t mean they’re dead. Well-established couples have ups and downs like everyone else. There could be a secret, the threat of infidelity, financial troubles, the cockblock of children, elderly parents, and nosy neighbors. There’s no rule that says just because your hero and heroine are married they can’t have any fun. Or draaaama! My suggestion: make them real. The reader will remain interested as long as the couple seems genuine.

You’ve been married a long time and you decide to spice things up by doing what all the kids do and take naughty pictures of yourself with your cell phone. You text them to your husband. Only, you don’t because you accidentally send them to a friend (more specifically the father of one of your kid’s friends). Now said father of kid’s friend thinks you lust after him. What to do?

A: We’ve all been there, haven’t we? If I actually were Dear Lizzie, I would suggest making a joke of it and laughing it off. “Oh God! Jeremy, I can’t believe I texted you that. Old people and technology. Please just delete it and forget it ever happened.” But, if this were a romance novel, that subconscious slip would probably mean more. Two scenarios: 1.) Jeremy the Dad is actually your soulmate (obviously to make this work you would have to be in a loveless marriage), so this will be the perfect opening for your crazy, stupid, love. A catalyst to realizing that the spice has long since left your marriage. After all, Jeremy is recently divorced… or 2.) Jeremy is now going to fall madly in love with you and become a new Mr. Collins to your Lizzie Bennet. Doesn’t matter what you say, he’s going to talk right over you anyway. Hopefully, this comedic character will bring you and your husband closer together.

You are driving. Your tween daughter is in the car. You are speaking to your mother on the phone, speaker on. You mention that your child can hear all, but your mother forgets and begins talking about her love life with your eighty-year-old father. After you yell “Grooooooooss!” and hang up, what do you say to your mortified daughter?

A: “Imagine growing up with them.”

 

Okay, so you’re married, you’ve got kids and no babysitter, but V-Day just happens to be your 13th anniversary.How do you celebrate within the confines of kidlet jail?

Thankfully children usually go to sleep eventually. But why not celebrate this day with them? I get that anniversaries and Valentine’s Day should be romantic, but I honestly think people put too much pressure on the actual day. Have a fun dinner to celebrate the holiday with “champagne” for the whole family (aka cider) and decorate heart cookies. Then plan a romantic weekend just for the two of you and drop the kids off at Gammy’s house. If you’re mother is anything like the grandmother from question above, she’ll totally understand. Like a Harlequin Super Romance, family is important and sometimes the best moments are those you all share together. Plus, dinner and baking will probably wear your sweet little darlings out. And I assume your doors have locks…

What if this is your last Valentine’s Day? (After all, how do you know it isn’t?) How does that change what you do? (And isn’t that what you really should do after all?)

A: Unfortunately, Romance Heroine Lizzie and Real Life Lizzie are two very different people. Heroine Lizzie is a brazen spitfire. She throws caution to the wind. IRLizzie is a lot more cautious.  I would love to say that if this were my last Valentine’s Day, everything would be different. That I would let go of all my inhibitions. That I would go skydiving. That I would make-out with that super cute stranger on the subway. That I would eat caviar and lobster and blow all my money and do everything I’ve ever wanted. But the reality is simple: I don’t like heights. Caviar and lobster are gross and taste like the ocean. And I probably wouldn’t do too much different. If it were my last V-Day, I’d be with the people I love, which is what I plan on doing this year as well. That and I’d eat a LOT of toffee. Like a whole. lot. of. toffee.

And that’s all she wrote, kids!!!

Isn’t she adorable!?  And major bonus points for the usage of “cockblock” in her answers. *golf claps*

A huge thank you to Lizzie for taking the time to answer all these fabulous questions!!

Leave her all the love in the comments, peeps!!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and LURVE!!!

11 Comments

  1. OMG. I LOVE HER.

    Also, Summer, WHERE DO YOU FIND ALL THESE GIFS? *bows to your awesomeness*

  2. That was hilarious. Summer, you are a treasure trove of romance novel set ups. And Lizzie, I kinda want to read the book that comes after the mis-sent text. Fabulous V-day interview! I also grew up thinking I was serious with a secret addiction to romance novels (only I majored in biology instead of religion). Consequently, I do a lot of nerding out over all sorts of genre fiction. Is this a safe space to admit I want to know more about metadata?

  3. Hi, my name is Lizzie. And I am a metadata master. You asked. I answer. Basically, it’s all about classifying your content using “key words.” For example, right now I’m going to say: this interview is “perfect for fans of 50 SHADES OF GREY!” and “filled with mentions of BONDAGE” and “EROTICA!” I’ll also mention “awesome” and “great” just in case. Publishers Weekly has like a million articles about it.

    As for THE TEXT MESS, someone else will have to be responsible for writing it.

  4. Soooo. ANy help on the chafing question? Asking for a friend. *shifty eyes*

  5. Hi Lizzie,

    Did you send this interview to our grandmother? I think she would enjoy your answers. Particularly #3. You might need to send her a glossary, as I don’t think she knows what a cockblock is.

    Love,
    Your Brother

  6. Hilarious and excellent interview! Thanks for sharing Lizzy with the rest of us, Fizzy. I would give an arm and a leg plus a couple fingers off the other hand to have her as my editor.

    Okay, to ask a nosy yet serious question–how much communication with her authors works for Lizzy, especially during the revision process? Constant updates, don’t bother me until you’re finished with that damned revision letter, or check back with me once the stripper leaves??? Inquiring minds want to know 😉

  7. Fizzy, I’m in awe. This is your best interview ever. The bangs .gif goes in the hall of fame! Imma go pimp this link out on Twitter ASAP.

    Then, I need to go write a romance novel just so I can submit to Ms. Poteet. She would be *awesomely fun* to work with.

  8. Lizzie, as always you are hilarious and I love you! I kind of wish you would write a book…

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