Meet Senior Editor Natashya Wilson

- by BlogMistress

nwphotoWelcome Harlequin TEEN Senior Editor Natashya Wilson. She began working at Harlequin Books in 1996, when she became an editorial assistant for the Harlequin American Romance and Intrigue series. She left in 2000 to work first as an associate editor for McGraw-Hill and then later for the Rosen Publishing Group, where she edited children’s nonfiction books. She returned to Harlequin in 2004 to head up the Silhouette Bombshell series. She then worked as an editor focusing on Silhouette Romantic Suspense until recently being named senior editor for Harlequin TEEN.

Why Harlequin is launching Harlequin TEEN,
a new young adult fiction program

By Natashya Wilson
Senior Editor Harlequin TEEN

Hello, Ninc, thanks so much to Patricia and all of you for the invitation to blog about our new single-title, young-adult fiction imprint, Harlequin TEEN. As the senior editor for Harlequin TEEN, I’m excited to have this chance to tell you more about what we’re publishing in our young adult fiction program and what we’re looking for in submissions.

Harlequin has long considered joining the young adult fiction market. Now that we’ve solidified and grown our single title programs, and with the recent phenomena of books such as J. K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series and Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight saga raising the profile of young adult novels, the timing seems perfect to launch our new imprint.

From flirty, fun romance to serious drama, Harlequin TEEN will publish stories across all genres, including contemporary, paranormal, futuristic, historical, mystery, and many more. We’re looking for compelling stories that teens will find relevant; books that will be remembered long after the covers are closed. We’re excited to have a mixture of both experienced and brand-new authors, from New York Times bestsellers to fresh talent. Our first two books will be released this year, followed by a full-year’s lineup in 2010. Here’s what’s coming soon…

9780373210039_TS_prd.inddMY SOUL TO TAKE by Rachel Vincent, first in the Soul Screamers series, comes out in trade paperback this August. The story features Kaylee Cavanaugh, a girl with a secret heritage-she’s a teen banshee, and when someone near her is about to die, Kaylee can’t control her urge to scream bloody murder. When the hottest guy in school seems to know more about her urge to scream than Kaylee does, it’s all she can do not to fall head over heels even as classmates start dropping dead around them. Now they have to find out why-or the next scream may be Kaylee’s last.

INTERTWINED by Gena Showalter, the first Intertwined Novel, lands on shelves in September in gift hardcover. This story stars Aden Stone, a sixteen-year-old magnet for all things paranormal-including the four souls who share his body and mind. Everyone thinks he’s crazy, but he doesn’t mind. 9780373210022_HC_smp_CC.inddFor months he’s been having visions of a beautiful girl-a girl who will either save him or destroy him. And though he’s half in love with her before she arrives, he’s unprepared for the centuries-old secrets she brings with her. Together, they’ll enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger . . . and not everyone will come out alive.

2010 will be a whirlwind year, with two more Soul Screamers novels in January and June, the next Intertwined novel in September, several incredible debut authors, and several YA favorites. In February, we’ve got debut author Julie Kagawa‘s THE IRON KING, the first of a romantic modern faery series featuring the secret daughter of a faery king. March brings fresh contemporary writer Mara Purnhagen‘s TAGGED, a tale of secrets, graffiti and love-all surrounded by the sweet 16th party of the year.

In April, the incredible Maria V. Snyder delivers INSIDE OUT, an unforgettable futuristic story about a girl whose attempts to rebel quietly put her at the forefront of a revolution. For May, Allison van Diepen has penned the enchanting ORACLE OF DATING, in which a teen relationship whiz gives anonymous dating advice through the Web and winds up with more trouble than she can shake her mouse at, and in July, Douglas Rees joins our lineup with MAJIX, featuring one irrepressible teen witch you’ll never forget. And that’s just the first half of the year!

We’ve also got a secret…shhh…something fun we hope to announce at BEA, and so much more to come. It’s incredible to feel the energy generated by this new program and all its possibilities, and we hope you’ll check out some of the books and perhaps come to write for us in the future.

Harlequin TEEN’s focus is on building authors and their characters and storylines. At this time, I would particularly love to find a strong historical project as well as a mystery. Although I don’t have too much of any particular story type, those are two holes in the lineup that I am looking to fill.

What are we not looking for? For one, I see a lot of derivative stories; writers trying to emulate Stephenie Meyer, Sarah Dessen, the P. C./Kristin Cast House of Night sensation and other YA favorites. And while I’d jump off a bridge for the chance to work with any of them-well, you know what I mean-what I’m looking for is the next Someone New. If you’ve got a fresh, original young adult story that only you can tell, I invite you to submit it.

I would love to hear from Ninc members. Do you have any questions about Harlequin TEEN? Why do you think readers and authors are embracing young adult novels? Who are your favorite young adult writers? Let’s talk!


16 comments

  1. I’ve been hearing a lot about this new imprint and was wondering when it would be out. Thanks for the good information. Can’t wait to read some.

    One of my favorite YA authors is Laurie Halse Anderson. I used to read her SPEAK to my high schoolers.

  2. My daughters and I have been anxiously waiting for this new line up of books from Harlequin. I love that fact that the lineup will be diverse. Is there anything different YA authors need to know about Harlequin Teen that is different from other YA lines?

    Thanks!
    Lisa

  3. Debbie–I love LHA too! She’s amazing. Wintergirls was tough to read in the best of ways. She’s always provocative, always fresh.

    Lisa–hmmm, different. I woudn’t say we’re looking for something different from other publishers, but we have a small program right now so we’re being more specific with the depth of story telling and uniqueness of voice we’re looking for at this time–for example, I might pass up a straight romantic comedy for a story with a romantic comedy theme plus more depth to it–it’s hard to describe, but, I’ve had to say no to a lot of really good books that I might have been interested in had we had a larger program. I’ve also said no to some tween-feeling stories, and some hero-led books that I loved, that might be more strongly considered once the program matures.

  4. Hi Natashya – I’ve got girls that are really starting to read YA (and growing up so fast!) and I’m enjoying it as much as they are. In fact, I frequently read books first before I let them have them….I claim responsible parenting, but truth be told, I have loved reading a lot of the YA stuff lately.

    I know that paranormal twists are really hot right now, but how open would you be to straight contemporary YA (with or without RomCom elements)? And also, you mentioned historicals. Any particular type of historical as far as time period and/or setting?

    Thanks,

    Donna

  5. Hey, Natashya–
    My hubby and I both teach middle-school readers, so we’re excited to have some more exciting, age-appropriate books to recommend to our students!

    When you talk about mystery books for YA readers, are you looking for something contemporary Nancy Drew-esque, in the sense that there’s a recurring amateur detective who solves mysteries? Or something with more of that “mysterious” feel of a suspense/thriller book? Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is a favorite YA book of mine, and though it has a paranormal focus, I loved the mystery elements in it as well.

    Thanks!
    Julie

  6. This is such fantastic news – I am so pleased to hear about the Harlequin Teen imprint – it gives a wider scope to the genre and a chance to for existing and new talent to come out and play.

    Am really looking forward to reading these and reviewing them. Will they be made available in the UK or will it be import only?

    Liz

  7. Hi Natashya! This is so exciting, and the covers of the first books are eye-poppers. Big yay for the art department.

    Wanted to say hello from all of us at RWA San Diego. We’re glad you’re at the helm of this terrific line.

    Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
    http://www.lindathomas-sundstrom.com

  8. Hmmmm… my previous message seems to have gone atsray – so here I am again.

    Hi Natashya! Wanted to say the covers for this new line are eye-popping! Big yay to the art department.

    Waving to you from RWA San Diego ! Happy to see that you’re at the helm of this new line.

    Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

  9. Donna–we have several straight contemporaries in our lineup–the first is TAGGED by Mara Purnhagen, that’s the March 2010 book. All of our contemporaries happen to have romantic elements in them, as that is a natural part of teen life and of major interest to our target audience, although we don’t have a specific rule about romance in the imprint. We love this type of read! TAGGEd worked for us b/c it not only has a wonderful romance in it, it has a great art-focused mystery and a fun peer clash, among other strong elements.

    I don’t have any specific time period in mind for a historical. I wouldn’t have thought of colonial times, but look what Laurie Halse Anderson did with Fever 1793–wow! And Eva Ibbotson focuses on the early 1900s, and I see a rash of REgency era novels coming out, not to mention the early New York setting of the Luxe novels (the exact year escapes me at the moment). I want great characters and a compelling plot–the time period/setting should be a natural extension of the story that enhances it.

    Julie–From an individual author, I would be looking for a single-title feeling mystery, probably more sophisticated than Nancy Drew, BUT, we also eventually plan to create our own continuity series, and if we do a mystery series, it might share elements with Nancy. And as far as sleuth v. thriller/suspense (and I’d love to find a historical mystery, too!) that doesn’t matter–it’s the character and story that will lead the way. I loved Graveyard Book! It highlights a wonderful side of YA, crossing categories and delivering something fresh.

    Liz–I’m not sure yet on our status with the UK–our UK offices may pick them up, or we may work with other UK publishers, that isn’t clear yet, but, I do expect at least some of the books to be available there one way or another. Stay tuned!

    Hi Linda, thanks so much! (waving back). Glad you like the covers, we’ve all worked really hard on them, no one more so than our ever-patient and talented art director, Erin Craig. Kudos to her on the wonderful look.

    –Natashya

  10. My daughter and I are both really looking forward to the new YA line. I love that some of my favorite authors are going to be writing novels my daughter can read.

  11. I love YA. For some reason I don’t have any expectations when I pick up a YA book like I do with paranormal romance or even UF, lately. And just about every one I’ve read both paranormal and contemporary have been stellar. OUt of maybe 30 books I’ve only been slightly disappointed with two.

    Natashya, are you looking for really romantic YA in various genres? Great romantic YA I think of is Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr. Twilight is very much a romance as well.

  12. Hi Holly, we hope you both enjoy the books. Let me know!

    Vivi Anna–yes, most definitely, those are exactly what I’m looking for (only original, of course). My personal preference is for a romantic book. We have a range, but the titles you name would all have been appropriate for HQ Teen.

    I agree with you, the variety and unexpectedness of many YA titles is exciting. I’m in the middle of Being Nikki by Meg Cabot and just finished Wings by Aprilynne Pike–totally different books, both completely YA.

  13. Am really looking forward to INSIDE OUT – I adore futuristics, and am so glad Maria’s written one :-)

  14. Hi Natashya,

    Your enthusiasm and excitement about these new books comes through your posts with every word! Are the books sold into stores like Single Titles? Can you tell us about distribution? Word count? How often will HQ release one of these books?
    Thanks,
    Susan Kearney

  15. Hey Tez, glad to hear Maria’s book is on your radar; I suspect you’ll find it worth the wait. It’s terrific! I’ve read it twice myself and am just blown away by Maria’s characters and world-building. It’s a truly unique yet accessible read, with many wonderful twists.

    Hi Susan–yes, they are indeed sold-in as single titles, with similar distribution to our other ST programs. Word counts vary; my general guideline is anywhere from 50-100K, but, a few books are slightly over that and a few are ever-so-slightly under. Each project is handled individually, as with other single titles. We don’t have a set number of books to release each month–we have some months with 1, 2, or, rarely, 3 books, and some with none. Currently there are about 15 books scheduled for 2010, and we’re planning for about 18 in 2011, but that’s flexible, depending on the projects we choose to move forward with. It’s truly exciting!

    –Natashya

  16. Hi, Natashya,
    I published my fifth novel, Another New Year’s Eve, at Harlequin American back in 1996. Great experience. A health crisis took me out of the writing business around the time of publication. I then worked as a manager at a software security firm for the next several years. Now I’m hoping to try my hand at fiction writing again. If you are in contact with Debra Matteucci, please say hello for me… Regards, Phyllis