Harlequin TEEN and the Power of Paranormal
(By editor Natashya Wilson)
Welcome to the latest stop on the Harlequin TEEN blog tour! Thanks so much to Sci Fi Guy for hosting us today. Although Harlequin TEEN is acquiring stories across all genres, our lineup does include a large number of paranormal titles—a little more than 50 percent in 2010. Here’s why….
When the company green-lighted Harlequin TEEN, we initially sought the type of projects that would appeal to readers of the many paranormal titles that were burning up the bestseller charts. We had already contracted a strong futuristic YA story from Maria V. Snyder, Inside Out (April 2010), set in mysterious dystopian world with an engaging loner-turned-leader heroine. The story couldn’t be released right away for various reasons, and we began the search for more paranormal titles. And the flood of paranormal-themed submissions began….
We were fortunate to have talented authors in-house who came up with just the type of stories we wanted, and soon had our launch titles My Soul to Take (on shelves now!) by Rachel Vincent and Intertwined (September 2009) by Gena Showalter ready to lead off the program. We felt these titles suited today’s market perfectly while still offering unique paranormal themes, story elements we hadn’t seen before—Rachel’s story features a heroine who discovers she’s a banshee, and Gena’s stars a teen hero with four souls, each with its own paranormal ability—trapped in his body.
The imprint soon opened up to all story types—contemporary, historical, mystery and more—and we began to receive a variety of submissions. But the bulk of the projects we received were still paranormal. How much so? At an educated guess (being the person who receives the bulk of the submissions!), I would say about 90 percent. With that kind of bias, it is no wonder that our list includes a strong paranormal lineup!
The high number of paranormal projects on the YA market these days is no doubt in part due to the continuing appetite for paranormal stories. With the success of Twilight, paranormal books have recently become the focus of much media attention, and projects such as P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy books, and Alyson Noel’s Immortals titles remain high in the rankings on sales tracking lists. A glance at Neilsen Bookscan’s sales numbers from last week alone shows a top-selling YA paranormal trade paperback title selling about 80,000 units and the top-selling YA contemporary trade title about 8,000 units—and I don’t see the thirst for paranormal stories being quenched anytime soon.
Is this craze for all things paranormal a new phenomenon? No. As a long-time lover of wrinkles in time, phantom toll booths, and strangers with my face, I know I’ve long been a fan of all things weird and wonderful. Children and teens have always been fascinated with the paranormal, and while book sales trends may wax and wane, I believe that will always be true. Today we’re also noticing a high crossover readership, as many adult paranormal/urban fantasy titles enjoy success and their readers seek out the popular YA titles as well. Readers of all ages seem to be re-discovering the power of paranormal YA.
So…what other types of paranormal themes can you expect from Harlequin TEEN? To start, we’re reprinting two wonderful romantic fantasy stories from P. C. Cast, Elphame’s Choice (October 2009) and Brighid’s Quest (March 2010), both set in the fantasy world of Partholon, featuring goddesses, centaurs, half-demon-half vampires and more. Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey novels feature faeries of all kinds, beginning with The Iron King (February 2010) and The Iron Daughter (August 2010). Douglas Rees’s Majix: Notes from a Serious Teen Witch is a lighter paranormal tale featuring—you guessed it—a teen witch, and we’ve got more Soul Screamers books from Rachel Vincent—My Soul to Save (January 2010) and My Soul to Keep (June 2010) along with the next Intertwined Novel, Unraveled (September 2010), from Gena Showalter as well. September 2010 will also bring a new ghost-focused series from newcomer Mara Purnhagen, whose first title, Tagged (March 2010), is a contemporary story.
For more details on the Harlequin TEEN paranormal titles, check out this previous blog tour post on Harlequin’s Paranormal Blog. And please, let us know…what are your favorite paranormal themes? What have you seen too much of, and what would you like to see more of? Comment here and be entered to win a copy of one of our launch titles, My Soul to Take and Intertwined, or a Harlequin TEEN T-shirt! Thanks for joining us today. We hope to see you at our next stop, Librarilly Blonde, on August 17!
Thank you Natashya and everyone else on the Harlequin Teen team for visiting with us today! What a terrific lineup of YA books.
- And please, let us know…what are your favorite paranormal themes? What have you seen too much of, and what would you like to see more of? Comment here and be entered to win your choice of one of the launch titles, My Soul to Take or Intertwined, or your choice of one of the Harlequin TEEN T-shirts!
- Two names will be drawn at random.
- Giveaway runs until Midnight, August 19. I'll announce the winners next Thursday.
- For an extra entry, blog about the Harlequin Teen Blog Tour and Giveaway and leave the link in the comments.