Harlequin Historical Pitch is Coming! Here’s What Editors Are Looking For

Harlequin Historical editors Carly Byrne, Awo Ibriham, and Victoria Britton have come up with a new and improved wish list of things they’ll be looking for at the Harlequin Historical Pitch on August 22nd.

If you are planning on pitching, take some time to see what the participating editors are most interested in seeing below:

Underrepresented Voices

Historical romances set in any time period by underrepresented voices, perhaps featuring diverse characters and/or different perspectives on history. Underrepresented voices includes, but is not limited to, authors who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC), members of LGBTQ+ communities, marginalized ethnic and religious cultures, and people with disabilities and neurodiversity. Harlequin is committed to bringing readers a wide range of stories that reflect our diverse society.

Regency (but with a twist!)

We’re always looking for creative, fresh takes on classic tropes! Sexy Regency stories are also popular and we would love to see a higher level of sensuality, alongside the high level of emotion, in the Regency novels submitted to us.

Victorian and Edwardian

The era of advancement, during the years 1820 to 1914, is a great setting for characters involved with industrialisation (the railways, the factories, the mills), and development (the Great Exhibition took place in 1851). Also, think about the influx of new money from abroad (e.g. the gold rush) into certain parts of society and how this disrupted centuries-old hierarchies! We’d be interested to see romances set in the Gilded Age era of New York City, where new money and old money collide, and anticipation and glamour abounds!

Renaissance/Tudor

Think of the royal courts and households of Europe as the basis for your romance. Lords and ladies battling for position and favour (War of the Roses, anyone…?), lady’s maids and squires creeping through corridors, meddling in scandal. Oh, the possibilities!

Viking, Medieval and Medieval Highlanders

Whether Vikings, Medieval knights or warriors, these are the toughest of heroes and need to be equally matched by strong heroines. We feature Viking or Medieval romances every month in Harlequin Historical and we’d love to see your story. Another popular hook is the Highlander hero living in the rugged yet beautiful landscape of Scotland, which lends itself perfectly to an unforgettable romantic setting.

More recent historical periods we’re willing to try

Now that we’re into the 2020s, we’re considering extending the parameters of the series into the 1950s. The Cold War, Civil Rights, and the start of the Space Age could all inspire the next generation of Historical Romances, even if it’s a time within living memory for many! Over the years the series has featured a wide variety of other periods, from Conquistadors in South America to Ancient Rome to flappers in the 1920s. These may not have as broad appeal as some of those mentioned above, but there is a bit of room for great stories from less familiar time periods.

What we’re looking for in Harlequin Historicals

There are dozens of potential avenues your writing could take, but if we have one piece of advice for you it’s this: bring something fresh and different to the series, whether that is voice, characters, and/or time period! Start thinking, are there events that took place that we don’t traditionally read about? We would be keen to see a wider range of diverse or underrepresented characters in our Georgian, Regency and Victorian romances, to better reflect the UK as it actually was in the 1800s.

Keep the story highly focused on the central relationship. Tell us a gripping story with relatable and intriguing characters which deliver on the emotional and romantic intensity. Historical research and accuracy are essential to bring the world to life! Our stories are richly textured and filled with details to transport our readers to the period.

2 replies on “Harlequin Historical Pitch is Coming! Here’s What Editors Are Looking For”

Dear Historical team, I am a former hobby screenwriter and worked in the film business. I used to hang out at Redfords learning to write screenplays from his students. I have 4 Harlequin Historicals to ready dig into. One from Queen Victoria’s IIs reign… I have read the history over and over because a great great aunt and great grandfather who worked there with her in the castle. I have heard some of the story from the real characters for years. When I reached the Archives after I rang up Windsor, I was floored to discover My great aunt”s stories were true! She was a college grad during the time, few born in the late 1800s had the privilege of doing such a thing; so she studied ….. That’s. where a bit of our college heritage for the Victorian ladies came from; and why she invited me to London to find out. My great aunt asked me to accompany her there to study more closely. Unfortunately, I had to start my college immediately. I had most of the three chapters and synopsis outlined, but not quite ready to pitch on the 22nd.

My next one is inspired by my wonderful grandmother, ten years younger than my great aunt. She inspired a true romance story (with added fiction) about her wedding and what a community problem, UPHEAVAL” LOL her little and big secrets caused; but “all’s well that ends well” they said in her day. That is set at the end of the Victorian era and the wedding was just before the girls started flapping and cut off their long hair in town square….the first bobbed, as they called it, in town. Ladies could not do that yet! But thanks to a Coco Chanel, the shears got a work out and the hair and skirts moved shorter! That’s another scandal!

Next I have the innocence of the 1950 teacher whose was set up with the town bachelor. She was set up to stay home and cook and be a good wife for the bachelor and his son …..by his best buddy. Problem: She was not going to quit her job after becoming a wife! and she wasn’t going to cook. No way! But the bachelor fell for her. His buddy spent time and tricks trying to break them up, but it wasn’t working….they were hooked on love!☎

Next, I have the ” letter to romance” “to quick marriage” of the WWII era. All romance, not too much war. This was inspired by my mom and dad. My mom and her friends were to write romance to the lonely soldiers to give them hope and love. One soldier she was writing seemed familiar. Could it be because his sister was living with the family…..unknowingly being set up. Were wedding bells going to ring for them or would she chose the navy man on her writing list too. We will find out when they BOTH make a visit to her! ❤❤Don’t worry, everyone is happy eventually.

I’ve worked so hard thus far, I hope you will still want to look at my ideas. I have a fountain of romance in my heart. At least 4 more have been on screenplay paper and need to be made happily ever after and sweet.

Many thanks,
Pamela Gibb
Former screenplay writer
Pamelagibb679@gmail.com
USA 321-318-0714

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