Love Inspired is both the name of the series which publishes six books each month and the imprint (which includes Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense, Love Inspired Historicals and Love Inspired Heartsong Presents as well as Love Inspired Classics and other programs!). Associate Editor Shana Asaro (formerly Shana Smith) has volunteered to explain exactly what makes the perfect Love Inspired.
If you’ve been wondering what Harlequin’s Love Inspired series is all about, I’m here today to tell you. In this inspirational line of books, a sweet romance is at the heart of each story. We’re looking for compelling, relatable heroes and heroines who struggle with powerful conflicts in a small-town setting. A strong sense of community and a Christian worldview are also essential. Our books are “clean” romances—no swearing, no drinking and no sex. The focus of the romance should be on emotional intimacy rather than sexual desire.
In many ways our books can be compared to Harlequin Heartwarming, Harlequin Special Edition or Harlequin American Romance for their focus on home and family. Our readers enjoy stories with classic hooks—cowboys, ranchers, police officers, doctors, single moms and dads, babies, weddings—and we love to see authors put a new twist on these. We’re always looking for more Amish stories and Western stories as well as books set during holidays. Christmas is popular, but consider others, such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, 4th of July or Thanksgiving.
To get a sense of our Amish stories, look no further than Patricia Davids’s Brides of Amish Country miniseries. Set in an Amish community in rural Ohio, these stories explore the lives and loves of the Plain people who often must deal with difficult problems that bring the English world to their doorsteps. Plain Admirer just came out this June.
Brenda Minton writes a great Western/ranch story. In The Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship, a wandering bull rider comes home for Christmas and falls for a girl from his past. We love a good reunion romance storyline as well in Love Inspired—what’s better than a second chance at a first love?
In 2013, Love Inspired has published books by seven brand-new authors, the last of which, Lone Star Holiday by Jolene Navarro, is out this month. Lorrie Ann Ortega’s made mistakes in her past. Now she’s back home, trying to live right. But will she ever feel worthy enough for Pastor John Levi and his sweet little girls? Set in Texas, this is a heartwarming story of second chances at Christmas and a great example of the kind of book that employs the traditional hooks (Texas, single dad, Christmas) while also taking some chances with new twists (music industry heroine).
Other authors who’ve published their debuts with Love Inspired this year are Georgiana Daniels, Jessica Keller, Kristen Ethridge, Belle Calhoune, Patricia Johns and Mindy Obenhaus, and reading their books is a great way to see the kinds of stories we’re acquiring. As you can see, we’re eager to welcome previously unpublished authors to the fold. Could you be the next author we acquire? Check out our Writing Guidelines for more info and go to our Manuscript Submission Page to see how to submit. There’s also a great Forum for Writing Inspiration Romance on the Harlequin Community. And you can always find me on Twitter at @Shana_Asaro, where I’ll be happy to answer your questions about Love Inspired.
Thank you, Shana, for giving us this insight into Love Inspired. We’re looking forward to seeing what else is coming from this growing and very popular imprint within Harlequin!