Risky Regencies

The Riskies Welcome Grand Central Publishing!

(Today’s interview questions were graciously answered by Amy Pierpont, Editorial Director of the Forever line at Grand Central Publishing! She has also donated 10 copies of Elizabeth Hoyt’s To Taste Temptation, to be given away to 10 lucky commenters)

Risky Regencies: Welcome to Risky Regencies! First, tell us a bit about the Grand Central program in general. How many romances are released each month? Where do historicals fit in? What settings and time periods are you looking for? What is your submission process? And are there any exceptions to the “agented-only” rule? (We like to start out with lots of questions here!)

Amy Pierpont: It’s great to be here! We release 3 titles per month, with one being a “super release” lead title. There are no hard and fast rules about the number of historicals we publish, but we are also publishing romantic suspense, paranormal romances, and contemporary romances, so we have to be selective!

We don’t definitely rule out any time period, but we do tend to focus on England and Scotland, as we know readers love those settings best.

Our submission process starts when an agent pitches one of our editors who expresses interest and asks that the manuscript be sent. We ask for all our submissions by email because we have Sony eReaders as part of our company’s “green” initiative, which makes things easier for everyone. The editor will read the submission–we try to do so within a month–and if they like it they will negotiate with the agent for the rights.

We try to stick to our requirement for agented manuscripts as much as possible. It really is best for both parties when it comes time to negotiate a contract. However, a couple of informal exceptions come to mind: when we judge contests we may discover a new unagented writer, and when we get a recommendation from one of our own authors about a manuscript by a friend, we do read them. And it’s always exciting when we are able to publish a first book from an author!

RR: What is your own background? What brought you to editing, and to GCP? What’s a typical day like for you? And what’s your favorite/least favorite part of the job??

AP: I’m a bookworm at heart. As a teenager I worked at the local library, where I read every single romance I could get my hands on! My background as a reader of romance (and of horror and gritty suspense!) helped me land my job at Pocket Books, where I happily edited women’s fiction for 12 years. The thrill of working with authors I grew up reading, like Jackie Collins and VC Andrews, was a real dream come true! I also have a healthy appetite for non-fiction, and my first job in publishing and my most recent stint as garden/lifestyle editor at Clarkson Potter allowed me to explore those interests as well. The opportunity to blend my experience as a romance editor and my passion for the genre as Editorial Director of Forever at GCP was an offer I just couldn’t pass up! Forever has a wonderful group of editors and authors, and it’s an honor to work with such dedicated and talented people.

A typical day for me includes a long train ride to and from NYC from Connecticut–I don’t have time to read in the office between meetings for cover art, cover copy, marketing and publicity, production and sales, so it’s a great opportunity to get some reading and editing done. The least favorite part of my job is writing rejection letters. I know how much heart and soul–not to mention blood, sweat, and tears!–goes into writing every word on the page, and when I have to reject a project because it’s not right for our list or the genre, I’m aware that I’m stomping on someone’s dream. I hold out hope, though, that they will find a perfect match at another house. And by far the favorite part of my job is calling an author with good news–whether it’s about acquiring another book, winning an award, or reporting great sales. It’s so rewarding when you’ve had a small part in creating a career for an author.

RR: What are you personally looking for in submissions, particularly historicals?

AP: I encourage all the Forever editors to look first for great storytellers. We’re here to help with subject matter, plotting, and other technical aspects of writing, but the natural talent of knowing how to tell a story is something we can’t teach.

In historicals, there is the added skill of getting the setting and tone correct for the period. It’s a talent I admire, and I can provide some suggestions, but ultimately the ability to immerse the reader in the past is what we depend on the writer for, and why we end up choosing their submission over others.

RR: Is there any kind of book you would love to see but haven’t? What “trends” do you see in romance?

AP: That’s the most difficult question of all! I am always looking for an engaging story that’s told in a fresh and innovative way, and I’m a real sucker for voice. I’ve been known to fall in love with a story that doesn’t have much of a plot simply because the writer is a superb storyteller with a strong voice. Of course, then I work long and hard with the author to make sure there’s a plot to go along with the incredible voice!

Bookstores tell us paranormals are continuing to be strong, and that historicals are on the rise. And the sexier the better; we are looking for super-erotically charged romances. But, like any other business, the popularity of genres seem to be cyclical in nature, so I don’t encourage an historical writer to switch to paranormal just because that seems to be working. There is a real power to sticking to what you know and love to write.

RR: Tell us about GCP’s new covers!

AP: Since coming on board as editorial director, I’ve been working with the art and design team to make the Forever covers sexier than they ever have been! This is the super-sexy paranormal romance Pleasure Unbound by a new author for us, Larissa Ione. And for some books, we have spiced it up by adding our first-ever stepbacks, like the one for To Taste Temptation by historical author Elizabeth Hoyt.

RR: What are some upcoming GCP books we should look for?

AP: This June, look for Pitch Black, romantic suspense from our returning author Susan Crandall, and contemporary romance by Jane Graves in Tall Tales & Wedding Veils.

In July, I’ve already mentioned debut novel Pleasure Unbound, and we’re also excited to be publishing Wendy Markham’s new contemporary romance, That’s Amore, as well as Shari Anton’s wonderful medieval historical Magic in the Night.

In August, we’re publishing the superbly sexy My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel, the chilling paranormal/romantic suspense Out of Time by Samantha Graves, and the enchantingly romantic A Highlander Never Surrenders by Paula Quinn.

It’s going to be a hot summer! Enjoy!

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14 years ago

Great interview, Amy! I write Regency set historicals, so your answers provided much needed answers to several of my questions. I am curious. What is it about “voice” that speaks to you? What does it tell you about an author and the possibilities? And what sort of voice gets your attention?

It sounds as if you are one of those fortunate people who managed to find their dream job. Does it ever get tiresome or disenchanting? What do you do to recharge yourself when and if that happens?

I know I am asking way too many questions, but I am so excited that you are here!

Where do you think the trends in historicals might go? Spy adventure novels? Comedy of errors novels? Historical with a touch of paranormal? I read voraciously to keep up with what is out there. I have noticed a number of novels where the hero and heroine leap into bed in the first chapter. “Hello, how are you? Shall we leap into bed? Oh yes, please. Jolly good show!” What is your take on that?

Thanks to the Riskies for inviting you, Amy and to you for such a great, informative interview.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Hi, Amy, welcome to Risky Regencies and thank you so much for answering our questions. GCP folks probably know me better as Diane Perkins.

GCP has such a great group of editors and authors. I love the new covers, too. And the Sony Readers! What a smart decision that was.

We have a wonderful group of blog commenters here; it is becoming like a family. Doglady, for example, is Pam Bolton-Holifield, a Golden Heart finalist for her Regency Historical, Lost in Love.

Thanks so much for the book givaways, too. Our Risky readers are in for a treat.

Megan Frampton
14 years ago

Thanks for visiting, Amy. I love the new covers you’re doing, and I love the variety of authors you’re releasing. I’m looking forward to diving into Elizabeth Hoyt’s latest (which I bought already–just no time to read!).

And I preordered Carolyn Jewel’s book, since she and I critique for each other. It is awesome, can’t wait for everyone else to read it, too.

14 years ago

Hi and welcome Amy; I used to want to be a Librarian when young but not sure why I never pursued that vocation.
I like what you said about your having to give a rejection to someone hoping to hear acceptance:
“I’m aware that I’m stomping on someone’s dream. I hold out hope, though, that they will find a perfect match at another house.”
You sound very passionate and caring. I’m sure that comes across.

14 years ago

I do love the covers. They are fantastic.

14 years ago

Hi Amy!

Great interview! It was veu interesting and I leaned a lot. I’m a bookworm too, but I’ve never worked at the library. But I have spend a lot of time there (when I was younger, now I buy all of my books. I love to see them standing on my bookshelf)

The upcoming releases sound awsome! *drools all over the computer*

Debora Dennis
14 years ago

Great interview Amy, thanks for taking the time to give us some insight into your world.

I’m very impressed that GCP has gone green with the addition of the Sony E-Reader – it’s probably easier on your backs as well!

The new titles sound terrific and with great covers to go along with those titles, I’m sure I’ll have a hard time choosing at the bookstore when they hit the shelves.

Thanks for taking the time here – I wish I had a question for you, but I think you did a great job covering everything I had on my mind.

14 years ago

Great interview Amy. Very informative. Thanks for sharing with us.

Katie Reus
14 years ago

Great interview! I’m loving the new covers! It’s so great that you guys are going ‘green’. I just got a new Sony Reader and I LOVE it 🙂

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

I just hope I get an equally pretty cover when it’s my book’s turn (cough, cough)! 🙂

That is great to know about the e-readers! If only ever publisher would go that way…

14 years ago

Hi Amy,
Is Grand Central Publishing a new line or was it under a different name? I really enjoy paranormals and I hope this trend continues. I’m seeing a lot more historicals, too. Are there any subgenres that aren’t selling right now? I can’t wait for “Out of Time” to be released. “Sight Unseen” is one of my favorites.

Cara King
14 years ago

Is Grand Central Publishing a new line or was it under a different name?

Jane, I’m not Amy, but I can answer this — they’re Warner Books. Or, rather, they’re what used to be called Warner Books…but I guess they’re grander now. And more centralized. Or something. 😉

Amy, thank you so much for the very informative interview! It’s our first editor interview here at Risky Regencies, and we’re honored to have you!


Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Jane, I’m not Amy, but I can answer this — they’re Warner Books. Or, rather, they’re what used to be called Warner Books…but I guess they’re grander now. And more centralized. Or something. 😉

And I know the rest of the story. Warner Books was sold to Hachette, a French company, and Grand Central Publishing is the new name chosen for the American branch of the company. They named it “Grand Central” because their new offices were right across the street from Grand Central Station in NYC.

The romance line is still called “Forever” I think.

Cara King
14 years ago

Diane wrote:

They named it “Grand Central” because their new offices were right across the street from Grand Central Station

Hey, I had no idea! That makes so much more sense, Diane. I feel so in-the-know now.

Though I think they’re also grand. 🙂


14 years ago

Hi Amy! Great interview. Lots of good information here. It’s always good to get a behind the scenes look at publishing. And yay for the e-readers!And I love those covers. Especially the Elizabeth Hoyt one. That blue just really pops!

Thanks, Riskies! You guys are the best!

PS: Don’t enter me in the drawing. I’ve already read and loved TTT…

14 years ago

Thanks for clearing that up. I know the Warner line, but I had no idea it was sold. I know that Julie Anne Long and Marliss Melton were published under Warner.

Lisa Marie Wilkinson
14 years ago

Fascinating interview! Thanks for sharing, Amy. I also write historicals and I happen to be working on a regency-set historical at the moment.

I’d also like to shout out to Diane Gaston…I LOVED “The Mysterious Miss M.” You’re a fabulous writer.

14 years ago

Great interview, Amy!

I write historicals and am excited to see more and more hard sell historical novels getting published. It just goes to show a good story, no matter where it’s set, can be gold.

What does Grand Publishing not want to see in a historical?


Robena Grant
14 years ago

I came over earlier and read and enjoyed your interview, Amy.

I forgot to leave a comment so now, because I got my knuckles rapped by Ms. Cara King, I’d just like to say you gave some great and very helpful information.

I’m also enjoying the covers and the diversity of the books published. Happy to learn paranormal is still alive and kicking. Or is that biting? Grin.
Thanks again.

14 years ago

Hi Amy,

Larissa sent me over your way. I can not wait for her book Unbound Pleasure to come out next month. Seems like I’ve been waiting for a year now. I absolutely love the cover.

What are some of the Romantic Suspense books that you have coming out soon? I really lean towards that genre in reading.


14 years ago

Great interview. Loved getting the view into how things are done. Very interesting.


14 years ago

It is good to see some evocative eye-pleasing covers!

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

I’d also like to shout out to Diane Gaston…I LOVED “The Mysterious Miss M.” You’re a fabulous writer.

Why thank you, Lisa Marie! How nice of you to say this about Miss M, a real “book of my heart.”

You may not realize I wrote two Regency Historicals for Warner, now GCP, under the name Diane Perkins- check my website for the titles: http://dianegaston.com

14 years ago

Welcome, Amy! I enjoyed reading your interview and some of the “behind the scenes” of romance novels. I would love to work for a publishing company and be able to read romance stories all day long and even into the night if I had to. lol I’m adding some of those upcoming books you mentioned to my wish list and will watch for the releases.

14 years ago

I agree with the comments about the fantastic covers for the Forever line. The cover for My Wicked Enemy is stunning. I love it! And thanks, Megan, for the kind comments.

Carolyn Jewel

14 years ago

Sorry to be so late to the interview but what an interview. Thanks for giving us an inside look at how GCP works. I am also excited to see what great books you having coming out including Elizabeth Hoyt’s fantastic books!

I am a rabid reader of historical romances but am equally excited to read about your contemporaries and what you look for in one.

14 years ago

Diane wrote:

Warner Books was sold to Hachette, a French company, and Grand Central Publishing is the new name chosen for the American branch of the company.

Hmm. So it is an American publisher owned by a French company that publishes historicals set in England and Scotland. Well, that all makes sense! Because if it were a Scottish publisher owned by an American company that published historicals set in France, then it would be the wrong Regency! (That is, the French one that was 100 years earlier…)

Of course, that might be even more risky…


14 years ago

Interesting and informative interview which I enjoyed greatly. I always wanted to pursue the dream of being a librarian as books were my passion. Thanks for this opportunity to learn more.

Esri Rose
14 years ago

Amy, thanks for all the good info! I love Hoyt’s books (and Diane G’s). I read historical romances for two reasons — because I love history, and because I enjoy the more restrictive sexual mores of the time, which allow the H and H to sizzle right up until the end. Hoyt is such a good writer that she manages to keep the sizzle even through the consummation.
I’d like to see some new/different locations, like France and Italy. Diane did that with her book, and it was really refreshing to be in uncharted territory.

Esri Rose
14 years ago

Eek! I forgot to say how much I loved Janet Mullany’s “Rules of Gentility”! I’ve read it, like, four times now.

Dana Belfry
14 years ago

What a fantastic interview!
I’m so glad I dropped by!

14 years ago

I find extremely interesting working with an author at very close range. It was a very informative interview.
All the best 🙂

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