Timing is everything, and it’s my luck to be guest blogger today, the same day it was announced to the news media—and employees—that HarperCollins has an intent to purchase Harlequin from parent company Torstar. (Here’s a link to the Publishers Weekly announcement of the news, if you want to see more details: tinyurl.com/o7tdssy.) We’ve had a company-wide Harlequin meeting this morning to discuss the implications, and I just want to reassure all the Heartwarming authors and readers that it’s business as usual.
Our CEO, Craig Swinwood, confirmed what was in the press release to the media: it’s going to take a few months to obtain the regulatory approval in both the US and Canada, and during that time, nothing changes. We are going to continue to publish the best clean romances we can and give the growing readership for this niche market the satisfying, emotional reads they turn to us for.
And there’s no doubt in my mind that the market for clean romances is growing—I read tweets from a recent writers conference that inspirational publishers are all jumping into the “clean” fray and are actively searching for wholesome stories without the inspirational elements. Well, get in line, folks: we got here before you!
That brings me to the May Heartwarming books, which arrived in the Toronto office: Love them!
We’ve got Melinda Curtis’s Season of Change, the third Harmony Valley Novel. If you’re sad to have to leave the vineyards of California behind at the end of this…don’t worry: Melinda has a new contract and there are three more stories to follow the original heroes who launched the original winery at the heart of these books.
Pamela Tracy’s second book set in Scorpion Ridge, Arizona, What Janie Saw has a strong suspense thread winding through it, which we’re glad to have for the rich variety of tone in our lineup. With longer books like ours, we can afford some to be more suspenseful, some more lighthearted, and some more emotional, such as Eleanor Jones’s The Country Vet.
I’m glad to see Eleanor’s debut blog up on the Heartwarming site here earlier—welcome, Eleanor! Her book takes me right back to James Herriott, the English country vet stories I loved so much growing up, except this time the vet’s the heroine.
And last but not least, I’m so pleased to include Cynthia Thomason’s second original Heartwarming in the lineup: A Soldier’s Promise. Some of Cynthia’s former Superromance books made it into the Heartwarming series when we were just testing the line with refreshed editorial, and she gives us the kind of complex characterization and emotional rollercoaster storytelling our readers want.
All in all, a very compelling month of new Heartwarming stories I’m sure our readers will love. To market growth in all its many forms and good news ahead!
*Enjoy this picture of (from left to right) Dana Grimaldi, Claire Caldwell and me (in my Canadian Tuxedo) “dancing around the maypole” yesterday when the Harlequin Fun Committee got into work early and decorated the kitchenette!