What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
Boy, I wish I had a Magic 8-Ball! Trends are anybody’s guess, and sometimes they can be quite surprising (I’m thinking the BDSM erotica trend of a few years ago). If I had to put money on it based on the trends of submissions I’m seeing, I’d guess that psychological suspense will continue to thrive, though the market will likely be quite saturated. I think everyone is looking for the next Man Called Ove and novels that are packed with charm and poignancy—to counterbalance the darker themes we find in suspense (and in the news). But it’s not necessarily about what’s trending: a truly spectacular book can always find a way to shine, regardless of whether it fits into a particular category.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I’m a sucker for a good tearjerker. Regardless of the genre, whether it’s happy, sad, heartbreaking or hopeful, funny, or serious, I love a story that strikes a deep emotional chord. I also enjoy novels featuring interesting or larger-than-life characters, characters whose unique perspectives make me view the world a bit differently. Voice is the first thing I’m drawn to in a book, then a story that keeps me on the edge of my toes. Some of my recent acquisitions include The Cactus by Sarah Haywood, a debut novel told from the perspective of a self-proclaimed control freak whose life spins out of control when her mother suddenly dies and she finds out she’s unexpectedly going to become a mother herself; Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades, about a young woman set to be married into a polygamous family and the secret that could grant her the freedom she longs for; and two new novels from Lisa Unger, one of my favorite suspense writers.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Because I work with Mary Kubica, whose debut novel, The Good Girl, has been an incredible success, I see a lot of suspense of all types. Much of it is derivative, but even in a saturated category like this, there are still voices and stories that transcend, and I will never get tired of reading them. A good book is a good book; I hold no biases.
Have you worked with self-published authors?
A few years ago, I published a gripping domestic suspense novel called Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel, whose first few novels she self-published. Many of my authors are debut writers or authors who are established in traditional trade publishing. But that’s just the way the cards have fallen. I’m always open to self-published authors who are looking for a traditional house.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
Park Row Books just launched in the summer, and our first books go on sale in May 2017, starting with an exceptional debut novel, The Original Ginny Moon,by Benjamin Ludwig. A big, bold, heartbreaking, and utterly unforgettable novel told from the perspective of a teenage girl with autism, this book perfectly captures what Park Row strives for as an imprint: fresh voices and important stories that have a lasting impact. As a small literary imprint at a major commercial house, we have a boutique approach with the support of a powerhouse publishing institution. It’s rare to have the best of both worlds like this.
Executive Editor Erika Imranyi joined Harlequin’s MIRA imprint in 2011 after many years at Dutton, a division of Penguin Random House. In 2016, she helped launch Park Row Books, Harlequin’s new literary imprint. Her interests include fiction across a variety of genres, including women’s fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, and literary suspense, as well as voice-driven narrative nonfiction and memoir. She has worked with dozens of bestselling and highly acclaimed authors, including Mary Kubica, Heather Gudenkauf, Pam Jenoff, Jason Mott, and Rainbow Rowell. Prior to entering publishing, Erika received a master’s of arts degree in English from the University of Maryland.