Interview with Christine Pride, Editor Broadway Books (Random House)

By Theresa Rizzo

Date:  11/17/09

 

Bio: Christine acquires and edits a range of fiction (Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician by Daniel Wallace, The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha, The End of The Alphabet by CS Richardson), memoir (Rattled! by Christine Coppa, The Geography of Love by Glenda Burgess) and narrative non-fiction (Teaching Hope by Erin Gruwell). While her tastes and interests are diverse, she is committed to finding and nurturing projects that feature strong story-telling and emotional resonance. Christine graduated from the University of Missouri's prestigious broadcast journalism program and worked in non-profit management before embarking on career in book publishing.

 

  1. Which categories do you currently acquire?  Which category is your favorite?


Answer:  I acquire memoir, women’s/book club fiction, animal stories, pop culture and human interest stories.

 

  1. In terms of submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of?

Answer:  I could do with fewer Marly and Me derivatives—“the animal who changed my life.”  I would love to see more novels where I just can’t stop reading once I start; novels that feature expert and mesmerizing story-telling.  

 

  1. Do you accept unagented and/or email queries?

 

Answer: I do not.  (Unless it’s from writers I’ve spoken with at a conference and requested material.)

 

  1. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial?

 

Answer: A few pages that outline the story and 25-50 pages of sample material usually suffice.

 

 

  1.  What are the compelling elements that you think are necessary for a good
     read?   What particularly grabs your attention?


    Answer: I love a strong narrative voice, a protagonist to whom I relate and get excited to go along on their journey.   I love startling observations and insights into human nature and how we relate.  I love to be surprised.  Most of all, I love to have an emotional experience when I read—if a book makes me laugh out loud or tear up, that’s a very good thing.

 

 

  1. Does meeting an author face-to-face at a conference make a difference in your response time, the submission process, or the rejection process (ie. Form letter vs a few sentences of advice)?

 

Answer:  If I’ve requested material or an agent sends me material, I always try to respond as quickly as possible (within two weeks) and try to write as thoughtful (and helpful) a rejection as I can if I don’t think the project is right for me.

 

 

  1. Besides the writing, the story and the talent, what are the most important elements you look for in an author, ie. contest wins, cooperativeness, affiliations to writers organizations, knowledge of publishing industry, promotability, etc?

 

Answer:  In this day and age it really helps if the author has a platform, has been published in premier journals and literary magazines, has an on-line presence and mailing list, has some media experience or contacts (for non-fiction).

 

  1. What do you love most about your job?

 

Answer:  I get to read at my desk (sometimes).

 

  1. Do you have any pet peeves?

 

Answer: Misspelled words or bad grammar in an author’s query letter.   It’s a very bad introduction to one’s work!

 

  1. What’s your favorite genre/type of:
    1. Book: Way, way too many to name!
    2. Food:  Mexican
    3. Music:  My favorite singer these days is Ingrid Michaelson. I also been on a somewhat inexplicable Sam Cooke kick.
    4. Movie: The Five Heartbeats, The Age of Innocence
    5. Hobby: I unabashedly love television.

 

  1. What are you addicted to?

 

Answer: See hobby!  Also coffee, french fries, red wine and my friends.  All things I could not live without.

 

  1. What have you always wanted to do?

 

Answer: Go to South Africa.   Soon!

 

 

  1. Do you have a favorite quote?

 

Answer:  For this context, I love this Edith Wharton quote:  I don't believe there is any greater blessing than that of being pierced through and through by the splendor and sweetness of words…I wouldn't take the kingdom for it.