Rachel Kramer Bussel speaks with the 5-year veteran of the romance house:
Harlequin is the standard-bearer for many people when they think of romance, and releases 110 titles a month with its various imprints, selling 144 million books worldwide in 2003. How has the company evolved with the times, and how are the romances you edit different from, say, those from 20 or 30 years ago?
Harlequin is always looking to update their offerings and determine the next wave of reader interest. We were the first company to respond to the success of the chick lit genre. After the success of Bridget Jones’ Diary, we launched Red Dress Ink, which still publishes distinctive fiction for the 21st-century woman. And in the last few years, Harlequin has launched several new series and imprints that go well beyond romance: fantasy imprint Luna Books, erotica imprint Spice, as well as a women’s fiction series, Harlequin Next, and the upcoming series Silhouette Nocturne, Harlequin Everlasting and Steeple Hill Love Inspired Romantic Suspense and Love Inspired Historicals. We’re also invested in new formats for fiction, from mobile phone technology to e-books and audio downloads.
In today’s romance market there is a wide range of character types, plots and subgenres. Romance readers tend to read a lot, both in and out of the genre, so romance authors — and publishers — capitalize on this by providing romances that blend genres, such as romantic thrillers, Christian romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, and women’s fiction. First and foremost, romance novels are about the emotional high of finding love. That’s still true today.
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