Call to action:
Do you have a clean, emotionally satisfying contemporary romance that celebrates community, family connections and true love? If so—we would love to see it!
I’m Kathryn Lye, a Harlequin editor located in the Toronto office. This past St. Patrick’s Day, I reached a milestone of having been with the company for nineteen years. I had hoped that starting at Harlequin on St. Patrick’s Day would bring me good luck, and it has. I’ve had an amazing journey working with and getting to know so many authors, agents, and colleagues. Indeed, I’ve been very lucky.
My primary task is to acquire and edit for the Harlequin Heartwarming series. These books are clean, contemporary romances at 70,000 words. Finding new authors is definitely one of the best things about this job. Making ‘the call’ – hopefully making someone’s publishing dream a reality — is a great privilege. I’ve had authors on the phone who have cried happy tears, screamed, and to complete the range of emotion, been shocked speechless.
What I’m most keen or excited to see in a new submission is depth of emotion from the characters and that the characters seem real, meaning that they have an interesting personality and are engaging, but are still vulnerable and open to change. I love it when I’ve enjoyed being with certain characters so much that I don’t want to leave them by the end of the story!
Romances that capture a blend of dramatic circumstances or premise, and a little underlying humor are often my favorites. Having a sense of humor is key, I think, to tackling life’s ups and downs. A story that lifts the soul helps you remember the bigger picture.
On a practical note, to date in the series, we’ve already published a number of fine romances that involve refurbishing a property, home or business, but going forward I’d also like to see other types of stories. I love small-town settings; they have a lot to offer in terms of charm, texture and a close-knit community. I would also like to see more urban settings. As someone who lives in a large cosmopolitan city, I enjoy seeing locales that I can relate to personally.
I always like attention to detail. No doubt it relates to the stickler part of my brain and personality. Do events that happen make sense to the story? What about the choices characters make, or their behavior, do they advance the plot, the relationship? Romances that answer ‘yes’ to these questions definitely appeal to me.
If this series appeals to you and you have a story or proposal that may be a fit for us, we’d love to see it! If you submit it before Friday, April 22, 2016, you’ll received feedback from us within 20 business days after the submission period closes. It’s all part of #HWBlitz.
Kathryn Lye, Editor, Harlequin Heartwarming
Follow me on Twitter @Lye1892.
What you need to know:
We publish romance novels that are 70000 words, but do not have sex scenes. Romantic sparks—yes. Chemistry and attraction—a must. We also ask our authors to deliver engaging plots and subplots, realistic and appealing characters and a deeply moving love story. Heartwarming novels are warm, poignant and rich.
No explicit religious or Christian content. No paranormals, please.
Submission dates: Monday, April 4th – Friday, April 22nd at 11:59 p.m. EST
Writing tips: Follow the #HWBlitz hashtag on Twitter for exclusive content, helpful hints and more!
What Harlequin Heartwarming needs to see:
- A cover letter that introduces your book and includes any previous publishing credits, writing contest wins, or affiliations.
- A 4 – 6 page synopsis. What happens in your book—tell us the key moments, the crucial twists and turns, and how it ends! Show us what drives your story forward, including the internal and external conflicts your hero and heroine face to get to their happily ever after.
- The first chapter of your manuscript (up to 25 pages).
What you get:
- A quick response! Skip the slush pile and hear back from Harlequin within 20 business days after the submission period ends.
- Editorial feedback for every Heartwarming appropriate story received.
- The possibility of having your novel published in Harlequin’s Heartwarming romance line.