Monday, January 27, 2014

7 The Serialized Novel: An Interview with Harlequin TEEN Executive Editor Natashya Wilson

Clara Kensie is the author of RUN TO YOU, the first serialized novel from Harlequin TEEN. She is also a regular contributor to this blog! Today Clara interviews her editor, Natashya Wilson, about why serials are becoming popular with both readers and writers.

CK: Hi Natashya, thank you for joining me today! Can you tell me what led Harlequin Teen to pursue serialization?

NW: The publishing marketplace is constantly changing. One style of storytelling that has become popular in the digital space is the story serial. Harlequin has a long history of success with releasing books in connected series both as full-length novels and as online daily and weekly serials, and it makes sense for us to release the right book as an ebook serial for Harlequin TEEN.

CK: Why did you choose RUN TO YOU for Harlequin Teen’s first serial?

NW: From the moment I entered Clara Kensie’s thrilling and romantic world, I was hooked by the Carson family and their mix of unique abilities, vulnerabilities and strengths. Clara has a gift for creating a strong family dynamic and unique character voices and combining that with intriguing twists to create arcs within the story that worked well for natural serial breaks. She has a strong sense of timing and how to develop the highs and lows that bring characters and plot to a new level, but still leave more to do and learn, giving the reader a breathing point yet leaving them wanting to see what happens next. RUN TO YOU’s layered romance also works quite well—romance is very popular in the digital space. Clara’s story was the perfect choice for our first serial.

CK: Serials are a relatively new format for the YA audience. Why will readers of young adult fiction enjoy serialized novels?

NW: Serials may be a resurging format for written stories and still relatively new to young adult fiction, but millions of readers are TV watchers and are used to returning weekly for new episodes of their favorite shows. A book serial offers the same experience—a shorter, limited “episode” of reading that brings characters and situations to a new place, and a chance to continue reading about those characters in a new episode week over week. Readers can enjoy the story as each new part releases, or, with our short 3-week release timeframe, stockpile the parts until all are available and read them all at once. If you don’t like the first “episode”, you aren’t committed to buying the whole thing. If you enjoy it, the rest will soon be available. It gives readers a choice and, in our very busy lifestyles, places to take a break that make sense and invite readers to continue later at their convenience.

CK: Charles Dickens. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Leo Tolstoy. Many respected authors of the past published their works as serials. Why should today’s authors consider serializing their novels?

NW: One of the challenges in today’s crowded marketplace is building a new author’s profile and audience. In the digital space, multiple releases in a short timeframe can help to get an author’s name out faster with consistent exposure week over week (or month over month, or whatever timeframe works for the author). The serials of yesteryear came out in a different age, when things moved slowly and print was the option for publication. Today readers have many choices and find reading material in so many different ways. A serial novel offers an author and publisher multiple opportunities to communicate with a growing and potential audience in a short timeframe. It offers more opportunities for reviews. As a rather lovely bonus, you get multiple covers to post, which can be extra eye-catching. There are drawbacks and challenges, and there are also many potential benefits.

CK: What are you doing differently to promote and market RUN TO YOU?

NW: We are working with three parts instead of just one, and we will use that to the serial’s advantage. We were careful to create covers that stand alone but also work together, to communicate both the separate parts and the connected story. All communications about the story—cover copy, online connections, reviews—will carry the messaging that it is a serial. We are releasing the parts one week apart, allowing more opportunities to highlight and reintroduce Clara Kensie and Run to You, but also satisfying the digital reader’s desire to read more of what they are enjoying quickly. We’ll be posting about the serial on our social media on or near the on-sale day for each part of the serial, and contacting bloggers we believe would enjoy the story to share the book with them and encourage unique reviews of each part as it releases. Our digital commerce team is always seeking opportunities to highlight our digital releases, and we’ll be quick to respond to any promotional opportunity. We will be doing all we can to create that crucial world-of-mouth buzz, and will support the author’s own promotional efforts through our properties.

CK: Thanks, Natashya! I’d like to add that a nice thing about serials is that is appeals to all kinds of readers. Voracious readers will be satisfied with the novella-sized length of each episode, and reluctant or occasional readers who are intimidated by longer tomes will find the shorter length to be less daunting.

For me, one of the best things about serials is that it adds a social aspect to the reading experience. Similar to the way we discuss our favorite TV series each week with our friends, we can discuss the latest installment of the serialized novel with other readers, and have fun anticipating the next installment together. With RUN TO YOU’s weekly releases, we won’t have long to wait!

I’m honored that Harlequin Teen has enough faith in RUN TO YOU to make it their first serial, and I’m thrilled to be a trail-blazer in the format.

About the author

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

About the book

Part One: First Sight
RUN TO YOU PART ONE: FIRST SIGHT (available February 1, 2014)
Part One in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from. As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can’t even tell him her real name. But Tristan won’t be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…

Part Two: Second Glance
RUN TO YOU PART TWO: SECOND GLANCE (available February 8, 2014)
Part Two in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Tessa Carson has unlocked her heart and her secrets to Tristan Walker—but Tristan has secrets of his own, and his might just mean the end of Tessa’s family. Unaware, Tessa embraces falling in love and being herself for the first time since she was attacked when she was only eight years old. But secrets can’t be run from forever, and sometimes love is too good to be true…

Part Three: Third Charm
RUN TO YOU PART THREE: THIRD CHARM (available February 15, 2014)
Part Three in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Betrayed, heartbroken, and determined to save her family, Tessa Carson refuses to give in to Tristan Walker’s pleas for forgiveness. But her own awakening psychic gift won’t let her rest until she uncovers the truth about her family and her past. And Tristan is the only one who can help her sift through the secrets to find the truth hidden in all the lies…

Watch for the exciting sequel to RUN TO YOU, also a three-part serial, in June 2014!

Find RUN TO YOU at your favorite e-tailers, including:

Find Clara online:



  1. Story serials, both publication and creation of them, is quite interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Congrats to Clara! And so interesting to hear why publishers are starting to offer serials.

  3. I like the idea of YA serials, but I must admit I keep waiting until all the parts are out. (I don't like being left hanging!)

  4. This is interesting, thanks for the explanation and the interview! Love the covers, too!

  5. Congrats, Clara and thanks for this interesting interview.

  6. I've heard of indie publishers doing this. For instance, WOOL was first released this way. The author hooked readers with his first book. The rest is history. Thanks for the great interview!

  7. Thanks, everyone! Your support means the world to me. It's scary doing something new and different. I'm afraid some people won't give RUN TO YOU a chance simply because it's in a format they're not used to. But I'm also honored that Harlequin Teen believes my book is strong enough to make it their first serial. I hope you all give it a chance- and most of all, I hope you love it!


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