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dhaupt
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Adrienne, welcome to First Look and thank you for taking this week to talk to us.

I read your bio on-line and it made me laugh, isn't it funny how life never stops surprising us, I'll be getting a copy of your novel and hoping to see the next one too.

 

Now for my question about Bruce, how did you find this novel and what made you take a chance on a debut novelist, was it the story, the dialogue.

 

Now here's why I like it:

In my mind there is no question that this will be a hit, and I think the attraction to the work will be well represented by both a male and female audience. His story is hard to read sometimes and I don't mean the words, I mean the content is rather dark, but I like that there is a redemptive quality to it also, the characters are of the first quality and I absolutely love the dialogue and it's authenticity to the era that's being described.

 

Thanks again and good luck with your future prospects.

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dclement04
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Hi Adrienne,

 

My question to you is can you please explain what all goes into being an editor and what parts of the job you like and dislike at times? How do you find books for review? Are you like a rep that goes out in search of the "next big thing"? How does the process get started once you or your team decides on a book to pursue?

 

Thanks for your time!

 

Danielle

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Dear Susan, 

 

What a lovely note. Thank you. I am enjoying my time here and am delighted, of course, by the response to The Wake of Forgiveness. I feel tremendous gratitude to First Look (which I have to admit, I did not know existed before this book) and to all of you who participate. As I gather you know, launching a debut novel is a tricky business and having readers like you spread the word can make all the difference in the world. 

 

My best, Adrienne

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Dear Wendyroba, 

 

Thanks so much for your praise of TWOF. I have high hopes for many of those prize lists myself! 

 

Funny you should mention Bruce's story collection: MEN IN THE MAKING. It is every bit as exceptional and brilliant as his novel and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will be publishing it in Fall, 2011. As for his next novel? Well, all I can say on that subject is that I hope to be his editor for that book ... and the next ... and the next ... and the next ... and the next ...

 

As for your offer to blog, thank you! Send me your address in a message. I will happily put you on a galley list for the next book. Many thanks! 

 

Adrienne

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CindyWhoLu
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

I think I have finallly read enough pages to begin "getting into" the book and am starting to enjoy it.  I was wondering why there are no headers at the top of the page showing the "section" you are reading.  That would help if you missed the date / timeframe the subsection is taking place in. 

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Hi Rachel,

 

Thank you for your interest. Yes, I founded the fiction magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story, with filmmaker Francis Coppola and edited it for seven very happy years.

 

The comparison, like everything else in the world, is not nearly so straightforward as it seems.  It was a different time in my life. And although it was a huge amount of work, I adored making that magazine. It came to life in my apartment and I had a uniquely perfect arrangement: total editorial autonomy, coupled with a benevolent benefactor who paid the bills. Not bad, huh? But I also happened to be a freewheeling, single woman in NY at the time, totally happy to work until midnight every night.

 

Now, I’m married with two small children and you couldn’t pay me enough to do a start-up again. I adore my work at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt because I get to do what I love most – work with writers on their stories – and yet I have a humane schedule.

 

But as to the nuts and bolts differences between editing stories and novels – I don’t know that there is that much. Where there is a difference is in the publication process. With Zoetrope, I had to create a brand ONCE. When I got that right -- and readers knew who we were and what they could expect -- that was that. With books, you have to create a brand every time, and you have to be able to sell that brand in seconds. Sound easy? Try “pitching” The Wake of Forgiveness in a line or two. I’m told I’m good at it, but it does not come easily. When I love a book, I want to sit down with a glass of red wine and talk for a couple of hours.

 

Thanks for the question.

 

Best, Adrienne

 

PS I'm getting exhausted, so I apologize for typos etc. 

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Debbie,

 

Thanks for your question and I hope you are right that TWOF will be a big hit. Fingers crossed. I answered a similar question earlier, so I hope you won’t think I’m too lazy by cutting and pasting my response below. In a nutshell, it was no one thing. I pretty fell in love with everything all at once – characters, dialog, writing, story. This does not happen often!

 

My best, Adrienne

 

 

 Long story short, I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Bruce’s writing many years ago when I published his story “The Last One Left in Arkansas,” in Zoetrope: All-Story, the fiction magazine I used to edit. Simply put, you don’t often come across a writer with Bruce’s talent and, if you’re worth your salt as an editor, you don’t forget him when you do.

 

Cut to five or so years later when, as a new editor at Harcourt, I noticed a box (yes, manuscripts used to be sent in boxes!) bearing Bruce’s name. My heart skipped a beat. It was collecting dust on the top of one of several extremely tall stacks of manuscripts in a corner of the office of a talented and overworked colleague. She was delighted by my (generous -- ho ho ho!) offer to lighten her load. I took it home and was completely hooked within five pages.

 

To answer your question more specifically, I have no crystal ball when it comes to what makes a bestseller (would that any of us did!). What sold me on The Wake of Forgiveness was the simple recognition that I hadn’t read anything so beautiful or ambitious or well done in ages. I knew immediately that I was in the hands of a writer of astonishing talent, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I knew within five pages that I wanted to buy the book (that has never happened to me before).

 

In fact, that became my mantra: “Just read five pages!” That’s what I said to the higher-ups at my publishing house, who initially tried to discourage me from acquiring an unfinished novel by an unproven novelist. It’s what I said to those established authors I was approaching for blurbs, knowing they are inundated with such requests. And it’s what I say to any reader in lieu of a pitch: Just read five pages! I defy you to put it down!  

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MSaff
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Hi Adrienne and Welcome to our world,

 

  It is a pleasure to have you with us this week.  I'm sure that you will find us a friendly group as we are what I would describe as avid readers.  I think that you can see that from our posts and discussions.  I hope you enjoy your time with us. 

 

  Again welcome and enjoy.

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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wendyroba
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Adrienne,


Thanks for your reply - I've sent you a PM :smileyhappy:


Wendy

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mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Adrienne,

Just wanted to take the time to personally thank you for finding such an amazing read!  Others have stated this was a step outside their genre and it was for me as well, yet I found myself tortured by the thoughts of stopping after the required reading..........which is a good thing!!! :smileyhappy:

I look forward to Bruce's works for a long time to come, and pray you reap the benefits of being the editor on each and every one. Thanks again!!!:smileyhappy:

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dhaupt
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

 


Adrienne-Brodeur wrote:

Debbie,

 

Thanks for your question and I hope you are right that TWOF will be a big hit. Fingers crossed. I answered a similar question earlier, so I hope you won’t think I’m too lazy by cutting and pasting my response below. In a nutshell, it was no one thing. I pretty fell in love with everything all at once – characters, dialog, writing, story. This does not happen often!

 

My best, Adrienne

 

 

 Long story short, I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Bruce’s writing many years ago when I published his story “The Last One Left in Arkansas,” in Zoetrope: All-Story, the fiction magazine I used to edit. Simply put, you don’t often come across a writer with Bruce’s talent and, if you’re worth your salt as an editor, you don’t forget him when you do.

 

Cut to five or so years later when, as a new editor at Harcourt, I noticed a box (yes, manuscripts used to be sent in boxes!) bearing Bruce’s name. My heart skipped a beat. It was collecting dust on the top of one of several extremely tall stacks of manuscripts in a corner of the office of a talented and overworked colleague. She was delighted by my (generous -- ho ho ho!) offer to lighten her load. I took it home and was completely hooked within five pages.

 

To answer your question more specifically, I have no crystal ball when it comes to what makes a bestseller (would that any of us did!). What sold me on The Wake of Forgiveness was the simple recognition that I hadn’t read anything so beautiful or ambitious or well done in ages. I knew immediately that I was in the hands of a writer of astonishing talent, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I knew within five pages that I wanted to buy the book (that has never happened to me before).

 

In fact, that became my mantra: “Just read five pages!” That’s what I said to the higher-ups at my publishing house, who initially tried to discourage me from acquiring an unfinished novel by an unproven novelist. It’s what I said to those established authors I was approaching for blurbs, knowing they are inundated with such requests. And it’s what I say to any reader in lieu of a pitch: Just read five pages! I defy you to put it down!  


 

Adrienne, thanks for answering and of course I don't think you're lazy, I must have been multitasking when I read this response and missed your answer, so my bad.

 

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Vermontcozy
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Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Dear Adrienne.I have been reading all your responses,and Thank you for your vision..Bringing Bruce's talent front and center on FirstLook......The trailer,which I keep mentioning lol..is enticing..Because a Movie,we are due for a Great Western/Story/Historical....Your thoughts,if you wish to comment..Glad we have another week with Bruce..Best Susan Vt..

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Kittysmom
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Hi Adrienne and welcome to our FL group!  We are all very happy you could join us, and we try to be kind about what we're reading-like or dislike!

Welcome to our group again.

Kittysmom

"Open a book and the world is yours"
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BookWoman718
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?


Adrienne-Brodeur wrote:

Hi CAG, 

 

This a great question – with no simple answer, of course. Long story short, I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Bruce’s writing many years ago when I published his story “The Last One Left in Arkansas,” in Zoetrope: All-Story, the fiction magazine I used to edit. Simply put, you don’t often come across a writer with Bruce’s talent and, if you’re worth your salt as an editor, you don’t forget him when you do.

 

Hi Adrienne,

 

Coincidentally, I just this morning read the beautiful graphic novel "The Night Bookmobile" by Audrey Niffenegger.  As I was leafing through the final pages and thinking about all the people I could gift with the book, I saw a note that the story had originally appeared in Zoetrope in 2004.  Were you the lucky genius who spotted that story as well as this novel?   I think you need to have your own web page where all of us who are admiring your taste could check in to see what you're working on next.  

Thanks!

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Hi Danielle, 

 

Thanks for the question.

 

I tend to be a bit anti-establishment by nature, so I most love to find stories/writers through other than the ordinary means. Typically, an editor finds writers by taking the agents who represent them out to lunch and schmoozing. (And for the record, I do my fair share of that.) But I also try less conventional means -- I read literary journals, I listen to my writer friends when they tell me of a great student they’ve had, and I pay attention at conferences, on line, etc.

 

Once I fall in love with a book (and really, that is what it comes down to), I have to be able to effectively convey my passion to everyone in house. That sounds easier than it is. As is true in every aspect of life, people tend to be far better critics than supporters, and by and large, try to talk you out of things. "Well, that book is guy fiction and men don't buy books." "It's another _____ (fill in the blank) knock off." "He has a terrible sales record." ETC. And, as you all know, everyone is busy. Additionally, editors have to compete against one another, in effort to get the attention of folks in publicity, marketing and sales. Your job is to get as many people on board as possible.

 

On different days, I love/hate different aspects of the job, but mostly I feel lucky because I really do love what I do.

 

Best, Adrienne

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Thanks. I'm loving it here! 

 

Adrienne 

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Thank you!

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Thanks, Kittymom. Thus far, it has been an entirely supportive and positive experience. 

 

Many thanks, 

 

ADrienne

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Adrienne-Brodeur
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Sadly, I'm NOT that lucky genius ... I stepped down in 2002. Wish I could tell you otherwise ... I love having a fan! 

 

Adrienne

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Rachel-K
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Re: Questions for Bruce's Editor, Adrienne Brodeur?

Hi all,

 

This is Adrienne's last scheduled day with us! Please help me thank her.

 

Adrienne, thanks so very much for being part of the group--and for everything you do to get great books out on the shelves for us!

 

I hope we will see you and Bruce back on our boards with us soon! 

 

Rachel