Interview with Tara Parsons, senior editor of HQN.
Tara Parsons is the Senior Editor of HQN. HQN publishes contemporary, suspense, paranormal, and historical romances. They will publish 87 titles in 2012.
The big news is that current Spice authors are being moved into Harlequin’s other single title programs. Harlequin’s flagship romance brand, HQN, will absorb the existing Spice novels that meet the HQN promise; the existing Spice novellas contracted will be published through Harlequin digitally under the Spice banner but no new Spice novellas will be acquired. The print titles will be published in either trade paperback or mass market, to be decided on an individual basis. Additionally some Spice titles might be moved to the Mira line. The purpose of this is to provide better distribution to the Spice authors. This was tested with some of Spice’s key authors, including Sarah McCarty whose Spice books were rebranded under the HQN imprint with revised covers and picked up by other distributors under the new packaging.
I asked if the Spice books moved to HQN would be romances as opposed to the other types of stories sold under the Spice banner and was told yes.
We then discussed the various types of romances sold under the HQN brand. Tara Parsons is not actively looking for contemporary romances because the line is full of really strong voices but says that there’s always room for another great new voice if they find one:
- Susan Mallery’s very successful Fool’s Gold series continues with a new trilogy, ONLY MINE, ONLY YOURS and ONLY HIS.
- Virna DePaul, new to HQN, brings a romantic suspense to the market in April of 2012 called ”Shades of Desire.” Tara called DePaul a “young Linda Howard.” The photographer heroine has gone blind but prior to her blindness she took a photograph of something she should not have seen.
- Series author BJ Daniels has a growing groundswell of readers. She hit the USA Today list with her Desire titles and has become a highly anticipated author particularly in Western romantic suspense. Her new HQN title will hit stores in August of 2012.
- Lori Foster also writes a strong contemporary series with romantic suspense elements. She’s just hit #8 on the New York Times bestseller list.
- Newcomer RaeAnne Thayne will be writing about “Hope’s Crossing”, a town that has seen economic hard times, crime and is now in the process of being revitalized. Her first book with HQN came out last month, “Blackberry Summer,” and her next book, “Woodrose Mountain,” will come out in January 2012.
HQN is on the lookout for paranormal romance and more romantic suspense. One paranormal romance author Parsons and I discussed was Eve Silver, Rita nominee. She’s writing a dark paranormal series based on Greek and Japanese mythology; “Body of Sin” comes out in September
Parsons says that their historical offerings continue to evolve as they work on the best way to market and package the genre. They’re not actively seeking to add to their historical roster at the moment. Current authors they publish in the historical genre include Brenda Joyce, Kasey Michaels, Nicola Cornick, Charlotte Featherstone, Judith James and Delilah Marvelle. Parsons called Nicola Cornick, “A smart woman’s historical romance. Smart and sexy.”