I’m so glad there’s a place where Harlequin Heartwarming authors, aspiring authors and readers (not to mention the occasional editor!) can share their love of good stories, and some of their personal experiences in reading, writing and publishing romances. I plan to drop in now and then and, despite being a bonafide crazy cat lady, I’ll try not to turn this into a forum for cute cat anecdotes….
….Although, having said that—knowing our authors’ love of animals—I suspect more than one beloved pet (probably a horse) makes a poignant appearance in this month’s lineup: For the Girls’ Sake by Janice Kay Johnson, New Year’s Baby by Jodi O’Donnell, Alex’s Choice by Carol Steward and A Place to Call Home by Cynthia Reese. Okay, no more about animals. For now.
It’s hard to believe I’m almost at my first-year anniversary as senior editor of this wholesome feel-good line, and what a year it’s been! Our team of editors—still working hard on refresh edits—began acquiring and editing new material from scratch for the launch of Heartwarming originals in July 2013, as you all probably know (thanks for your pitches!). And we can’t forget the two lead-off books we’re premiering in June 2013, Marie Ferrarella’s Innkeeper's Daughter and Ingrid Weaver’s Winning Amelia. At least, we can’t forget them in the Toronto Harlequin office because we’re already neck-deep in editing them and developing the cover copy and images! You can’t help but get excited when you’re faced with the reality of immediate deadlines…even if the books don’t hit the shelves for another five months.
We like to say that Heartwarming stories are emotional, satisfying romances that readers can feel comfortable sharing with their daughters or granddaughters. I look forward to working with established and new authors to figure out when attraction tips too far away from emotional and too far toward the physical, and also to identify (and steer clear of) profanity that in a million years you might never have guessed was profane!
Above all, I look forward to helping Heartwarming writers communicate the stories they want to tell as effectively as possible. At 70- to 75,000 words, these are wonderful “hearty” romances, and I know we’re going to have a lot of fun telling them!
It’s my wish that writers don’t feel intimidated by the PG rating of our books, but that the guidelines free them to dig deeper into character motivations and possibly secondary romances and other storylines to tell an emotionally richer romance. I put it to you writers: Do you see the no-sex romance as a challenge or an opportunity? Let me know!