Introducing the Harlequin Heartwarming Collection
by Marsha Zinberg, Executive Editor, Feature and Custom Publishing
O.K. I have to admit that that even I, long-standing (I did NOT say “jaded”!) editor here at Harlequin, am somewhat blown away by the excitement being generated around our new Heartwarming Program, set to launch as a Reader Service subscription this month and available online for presale in March and in stores in April. This is a program conceived to satisfy many readers’ longing for romance novels with “wholesome” content; that is, free of violence, possibly offensive language, and on-stage depictions of physical intimacy.
For romance fiction devotees who are used to all of the above, you may wonder, what are those folks thinking? But in fact, the great success of our inspirational romances, research, and the many reader letters we’ve received over the past several years have led us to believe that there is a substantial readership who very much enjoy stories based on positive values, an unambiguous moral code and a strong, family-oriented foundation to the plotline.
So, we set about figuring out how to check that out, and in the process, have managed to spark some electricity both internally, and outside our walls, about the kinds of stories that will be on offer. These are not original stories: they are romances culled from our vast backlist treasure trove, where we went hunting for the right tone, the appropriate setting, the perfect kind of story to produce that heartwarming feeling we wanted our readers to experience as they finished turning the last page. And I was so delighted by the wonderful stories we discovered. I found myself really immersed in these books, impressed by the ingenuity and complexity of the plots, sympathetic with the fully-realized characters and emotionally engaged. Frankly, these stories grabbed me more than I expected!
With the enthusiastic collaboration of the authors—many favorite series authors such as Jillian Hart, Laura Abbot, Ginger Chambers, Sherry Lewis and Roz Denny Fox among them– we’ve freshened the stories and re-titled them, and gorgeous new covers have been designed so that readers will immediately understand the kind of read they’re in for. I’m really excited to hear what readers think of this idea, and can’t wait to learn if their hearts were indeed “warmed”, just as the editors’ were, when we selected these novels for our program. So let us know what you think. Is “Heartwarming” a good way to begin a new reading year?
Pictured are the first four releases in the Harlequin Heartwarming collection.