For a while, Barbara Seranella and I shared an editor at Harper Collins, Carolyn Marino. Carolyn really likes mysteries with quirky characters, making her kind of an odd match for Barbara's books, which are grittier. But Barbara's first book had come out at St. Martins, and had done well enough that the paperback rights went, at auction, to Harper. So Carolyn was the paperback editor for a book that probably wasn't to her taste. Barbara told me that Carolyn called Barbara and asked if the paperback version could be toned down a bit. Could the main character sleep with just a few men in the motorcycle gang instead of nearly a dozen? Could she not shoot heroin so much? On the phone, Barbara agreed.
But that night she tossed and turned. And in the morning Barbara called Carolyn back and said she couldn't do it. That she had to be true to the book. And Carolyn said, "That's all right. It's your book."