Friday, December 2, 2011

An Irreverent Interview with Adrien-Luc Sanders, Senior Editor at Entangled Publishing

Adrien-Luc Sanders is one of my favorite people in the world. We met when he submitted a beautiful M/M romance to an anthology I'm editing. After reading the story, I immediately Twitter-stalked him. Imagine my delight and surprise when I found out my boss had approached him about an opening for a Senior Editor at Entangled (and he blogged about this experience). He now works as another one of my bosses, and in a very short period of time, he's become a friend. Adrien-Luc spent some time at Lyrical Press as an editor, but now he's Senior Editor of the Flirt and Ever After lines at Entangled.  

What does Entangled primarily publish?
Adult, upper YA, and New Adult novels and novellas with strong plots and a well-woven romantic element, in the contemporary, historical, romantic thriller, sci-fi / dystopian / steampunk, paranormal / urban fantasy, and fantasy genres. Our books focus on memorable characters and brilliant writing, with solidly developed stories and a "happily ever after" ending.

What do you acquire?
I acquire for the Flirt and Ever After lines. Flirts are short, tantalizing standalone reads in the 10-15k range, while Ever Afters are 20-40k and give a little more room for character development and intrigue. While I acquire for all genres Entangled accepts, we're currently looking to expand our roster of contemporaries. My personal tastes run towards darker stories with a theme of redemption, though in contrast I also love light, witty, romantic comedies with a unique twist. Tight, intelligent, original stories and beautiful writing win me over in a heartbeat regardless of genre, though.

What would you give your firstborn to find in your editor inbox?
Right now I'm hungry for a good girl geek story. I don't even remember what triggered the craving, but I swear, I desperately need to read this. Something quirky and fun with a charming heroine whose geekiness is about more than proving she's as good as the boys, as that's played out. We know girl geeks are as smart as male geeks, if not smarter. I want to see a real story about our girl geek finding romance, and maybe some adventure on the way--with a voice that feels authentic, from the POV of someone who understands the things our girl geeks over.

What makes you want to cut a bitch when you see it in a submission?
A full-on list-style description of our POV character's appearance and personality traits in the very first paragraph, especially if we're in first or deep third POV. It's bad enough when we use the mirror trick for this, but even worse is when it's just there, as if the POV character is sitting there thinking about themselves like the ultimate narcissist. It just doesn't make sense. And if the POV character isn't observing it, it makes me wonder who is. Their alternate personality? A disembodied pair of eyes floating around in their wake? See through your POV character's eyes when writing. Not through your own.

What book do you constantly buy new copies of because you use it to proselytize the genre to newcomers? And they never give it back. Even when you threaten them.
Less a book than a series--the Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman, starting with Black Sun Rising. It's one of those strange books that starts off as fantasy but turns out to be science fiction, and it's woven together very well with a very compelling story that forces a righteous man to reexamine his concepts of good and evil while partnered with an antihero so deliciously foul he'd be a villain if not for their circumstances. Friedman's writing style, plot, pacing, and characterization are beautiful, with a certain lyrical flow that doesn't feel overdone. It's an older trilogy, but still stands out to me as some of the best writing I've ever read, and it inspired me to start writing in high school. I've been losing copies of this trilogy to friends for almost ten years now, and I've gotten to the point where I just buy it for them in advance so I can keep my own.

Favorite song to edit by.
Oh. Um. This is actually kind of embarrassing. I mean, I love all kinds of music from various genres and even various cultures, but your readers are going to think I'm--oh, screw it. "Hide & Seek" by Namie Amuro, okay? I'm not ashamed.

Favorite outfit to wear to fight club and/or while editing.
...I don't think I own any outfit that doesn't involve jeans, a t-shirt, a button-down shirt, and combat boots, so I guess there's really no other answer.

Favorite movie.
Just one? I don't even know. It changes with what I'm in the mood for. Last week it was Disney's Enchanted. This week it's The Charge of the Light Brigade. Last month it was HALO: Legends. I'm fickle, people. Don't make me pick just one.

What social issue compels you?
There are tons. LGBT issues, obviously, but also gender theory and gender-based social inequality in general. Political bipartisanism and how it affects the mental, social, and cultural development of successive generations can really get me going. So can discussions of assumptive complacency and positions of privilege in the Western world.

Your favorite recipe (preferably for an alcoholic beverage, but we'll accept cupcakes if that's how you roll)?
Blue raspberry vodka snowcones. All you need is a little Grey Goose (if you touch Ketel One I will shank you, but I'll accept Skyy or Effen), a cheap bottle of blue raspberry snowcone syrup, and one of those dinky little party ice shavers you get for kids in the summer. The trick is in layering it; if you dump the vodka in first, on top of a full cup of ice, it'll just cut through the ice and sink straight to the bottom. Fill the cup about a third full of shaved ice; then add the snowcone syrup, let it sit for a ten-count to soak through and crystallize, then slash the vodka on top. Quickly fill in the next third of ice in time to pack it into the holes left by the vodka (and there will be holes). Rinse and repeat: syrup first, vodka second, fill to the brim. After you've layered the syrup and vodka, it's up to you whether you want to top it off with an extra cone of ice or just take the cup as-is and dive in. Just don't try it with whipped cream or condensed milk like you might with a regular snowcone. The dairy and the vodka will not mix well.

Where do you plan to hole up when the zombie apocalypse comes?
A data center. Ever been inside a really solid one? Those things are fortresses. Actually, some of them are converted bunkers. I will brain the shit out of a zombie with a server rack, yo.

Machete or flamethrower?
Machete. Flamethrowers run out of fuel.

It's badass smackdown! Who wins and why?
...I'm not even touching this. Honey badger would own all their asses. So there.

Ha! Thanks so much for joining us, Adrien!


kateerobert said...

You had me at honey badger and combat boots!

Shirin Dubbin said...

You mentioned loving light, witty romantic comedies. I've noticed it's easier to draw readers in and keep them invested with darker, dramatic stories. What are the best ways to get a reader invested when the story is a romp and more fun than dark?

Adrien-Luc Sanders said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adrien-Luc Sanders said...

Katee: I am such a sucker for a good pair of boots. The more they look like they're made for leaving treadmarks on someone's ass, the more I love 'em.

Shirin: Outrageous humor is one way. Keep them laughing and on their toes, never knowing what you (or your characters) will say next, but eager to turn the next page and find out. Another way is to take the quirky route and embarrass the bloody hell out of your hero or heroine - the awkward loser who keeps screwing up but eventually comes out on top. You'd be surprised how much people will stick with a story out of sympathy for the embarrassing situations, as long as they're tempered with a good deal of humor to lighten the embarrassment. The same with comedic misunderstandings; we may be embarrassed for the protagonist to the point of groaning, but we want to know how they sort the mess out, and we can't put the book down until we find out.

In lighter stories, too, you can still have that sweet romantic tension, maybe sensual, maybe not--but with subtle cues you can tease the reader, keep them going, make them ache for that first kiss that you keep denying over and over until the moment when it's the most satisfying.

Shirin Dubbin said...

Adrien-Luc, Thank you. That helps a lot. I'm realizing making your characters fail or struggle in any genre (like the "the awkward loser who keeps screwing up but eventually comes out on top" you mentioned) endears them to readers and the readers end up cheering those characters on.