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:
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!
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.