Susanne Smith Kirk
We have yet to be in contact with Susanne, but from the information we have found, she has had a magnificent career as an editor at the book publishing house, Scribners. As a matter of fact, she has just retired as VP-Senior Editor for the company.
According to Booklovers Report, July 10, 2004:
"Susanne Kirk, famous Scribner editor, has just retired at the end of a stellar career. Kirk first brought the crime fiction of Janet Evanovich (the first of her Stephanie Plum books) Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, and Linda Fairstein to readers. She also worked with Judith Guest, John Dunning, Gregory Iles, and many others".
When looking for a new mystery writer, she tells Publisher's Weekly her criteria in the following article:
A Massive Crime Wave Aiming for Attention
by Robert Dahlin | Apr 21 '03
I'm not giving away my secrets," warns one publisher, off the record. Elsewhere, an associate editor says, "Do you really think I'm going to tell you the successful things we do?" Well yes, we did think so, although such defensive responses provide clear evidence of a tough market for today's mysteries. The fundamental questions we recently put forward to publishers were: How do you launch new mystery writers in a crowded field? And considering how heavily populated the genre is, how do you maintain a prominent position for your mysteries in general?
Susanne Kirk, Scribner senior editor, addresses the first query: "My first instinct is to say 'with difficulty.' There are so many new writers competing for attention. When I'm acquiring a new author, I try to look for a hook. Is there something about this author that makes him or her promotable? Is she a D.A.? Does he have a relationship with his local NPR outlet? Does he have an amazing story to tell? Case in point is Haunted Ground by Erin Hart [May]. This is an atmospheric Irish thriller by a talented new American author. When her agent told me that Erin sings Irish folk music and that her husband is a well-known Irish accordion player, I had instant visions of wonderful author events."
So, you aspiring mystery writers...that's what you needed to get noticed by our classmate, Susanne!
From WARA Market News earlier this year:
Susanne Kirk is a vice president and Senior Editor with Scribners, a division of Simon and Schuster. Her particular area of interest is crime fiction, which encompasses all kinds of mystery, suspense and thrillers. Again, Scribner's guidelines state they don't accept unsolicited submissions, but she said. "the truth is, if you send something in, it will probably be read by an editorial assistant." If the assistant likes what he or she reads, they will pass the submission on to an acquiring editor. No one wants to pass up the chance to buy a great book just because it came into the slush pile. Susanne said authors should be sure in their cover letter to mention any expertise they have that applies to their books. If you share the same profession as your protagonist, or if you have experience in some crime-related field, say so. "It's a real plus," she said. She also said any published romance authors moving into the mystery field should mention this. "Everyone's looking for the next Janet Evanovich."
Other facts of interest about Susanne:
Best selling author Patricia Cornwell dedicated her book, "Cause of Death" "to Susanne Kirk, visionary editor and friend."
In 2000 she won the prestigious Ellery Queen Award from the Mystery Writers of America. It is given to outstanding person of the year in the mystery publishing business.