Pocket is the publishing house for bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Liz Carlyle, and Roxanne St. Claire, and award winning authors such a Caridad Ferrer (Adios to My Old Life) and Kresley Cole (A Hunger Like No Other), both who walked away with a RITA this summer at Nationals. Lauren McKenna is the editor for both of the winning novelists. She’s taken the time to share with us her summary of the spotlight at Nationals and a preview of the fall lineup.
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Q: Lauren, Pocket gave a spotlight at Nationals sharing with the attendees what you are looking for as an editor with Pocket. What is Pocket looking for in a manuscript? Is it a particular genre such as contemporary versus paranormal?
A: Pocket is looking for both contemporary and paranormal romance at this time. And at the risk of sounding clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚ © we want a book that has an original voice set in a marketable setting with captivating characters. I personally prefer a darker hero and a more complex storyline that is very sexy.
Q: What books are selling best for Pocket? Is it because of genre? Authors? Time period?
A: Both historical romance and paranormal romance are our strongest sellers right now. In the case of historical romance I think the author name is driving the sales and with the paranormal it's a combination of author name and a hot genre.
Q: Was there one piece of advice that you gave to attendees that you could share such as not writing to the trends or beware of editors giving you advice?
A: I think editorial advice for these new authors should always be heeded. I know that when I offer an opinion its based on 11 years of experience in the marketplace and I am only trying to help this author achieve their goals of eventually publishing a book. The advice I would offer now to an author is to find your "voice–? then submit a polished well thought-out manuscript.
Q: What type of packaging are you using for you romance books? I.e., covers that are selling, colors, etc?
A: Pocket does all types of packaging for the different genres in romance; from landscapes, to a couple in period dress, to a lone woman, to a male torso. All work but it depends on the type of book and the genre.
Q: What does the fall/winter lineup have to offer romance readers?
A: There are a few authors I'm excited about for our fall/winter 2007 list:
- In October we have a wonderful new romantic suspense author, Laura Griffin, out with her book One Last Breath. We also have paranormal fan favorite Katie MacAlister with Ain’t Myth-behaving.
- In November we have USA Today Bestseller, Kresley Cole, and the next book in her Immortals After Dark series, Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night. Also in November NYT Bestseller Julia London give us another historical romance to treasure with The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount.
- In December, we have the next exciting paranormal romance by Alexis Morgan, Redeemed in Darkness.
- – In January. we have a bunch of great books. A very special paranormal romantic suspense anthology What You Can’t See, headlined by NYT Bestseller Allison Brennan, with Karin Tabke, and Roxanne St. Claire. Marked by Moonlight by new paranormal author Sharie Kohler. And last but not least NYT Bestseller Gena Showalter's next book in her alien huntress series, Savor Me Slowly.
- True Evilby Greg Iles: Smooth prose, psychological depth and crafty plotting lift bestseller Iles’s latest suspense thriller, which puts a fresh twist on a familiar theme-the cat-and-mouse game between an FBI agent and a fiendishly-clever serial killer. (Publishers Weekly)
- Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea Mary & Carrol Higgins Clark: [A] frothy, holiday-themed whodunit starring the affable PI Regan Reilly, her D.A. husband, and mystery-writing mother–all aboard a luxury liner’s three-day maiden cruise. (Booklist)
- The Marriage Game by Fern Michaels: In a dazzling celebration of the power of friendship and love, acclaimed bestselling author Fern Michaels brings her trademark wit and warmth to an action-packed story featuring a group of diverse women who bond Survivor-style under the most unlikely of circumstances…and find romance along the way.
- Web of Evil by J.A. Jance: Recently fired from her dream job as a glamorous L.A. anchorwoman simply because she is over 40, Ali Reynolds returns home to Sedona, Arizona. Before coming home, she also cuts loose her husband (aka “the cheating rat.”) Now she enjoys venting her feelings as the owner of a popular blog. Days before her divorce is finalized, her estranged husband is found dead, leaving behind a large estate and a pregnant fianceÃƒÆ’Ã‚ ©. Ali is the sole heir… and the prime suspect.
- Someone to Love By Jude Deveraux: In Deveraux’s familiar latest, Jace Montgomery’s fiancÃƒÆ’Ã‚ ©e, Stacy, commits suicide while they’re vacationing in England–"or so, three years after her death, everybody but Jace believes. The chance discovery of a letter Stacy received days before she died and a photo of Priory House in Margate, England–"the village where Stacy committed suicide–"prompt Jace to investigate. Finding Priory House for sale, Jace buys it despite its ugliness and expense. Dwelling in the house is the ghost of young Ann Stuart, who lived there in the 1870s and committed suicide just before her wedding. A local journalist, the beautiful and confrontational Nightingale Smythe, joins man and spirit in the search for the truth about Stacy and Ann’s deaths. Deveraux never raises the pitch very high, and harmonizes the whole satisfactorily. (Publisher’s Weekly)
- PAST SECRETS by Cathy Kelly
- The Queen of Bedlam by Robert McCammon: Seven-time Spur Award winner Kelton has always been a masterful western storyteller of tales rich with historical detail, vivid characters and sharply defined plots. (Publishers Weekly).
- A Christine Feehan Holiday Treasury by Christine Feehan
- 50 X 50 by 50 Cent
- THE POWER OF BODY LANGUAGE by Tonya Reiman
- ENTOURAGE by HBO
- THE MARVEL'S COMIC GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY by Peter Sanderson
Q: What should we be on the look out for in the future (i.e., changes in Pocket's line, new line launches, ebook initiatives).
A: Pocket will be looking to expand our trade and hard cover lists in the areas of women's fiction and historical fiction.
Q: Fall is a big fiction release period. Are there any fiction books that we should be looking to add to our shelves or that might make a great gift for the holidays?
A: Pocket's big holiday books are as follows, all will make a great gift: