I’ve been sitting on this for a little while, but with the announcement out in Publishers Weekly and PubLunch, I can finally let it spill. Here is the news, copied from the Publishers Marketplace Deals page:
“Jeaniene Frost’s REALMWALKER, in which a young woman discovers she’s the last member of an ancient line with an unwanted destiny; and that her only ally, a mysterious young man is destined to betray her… and doom the world, to Tara Parsons at Harlequin, with Margo Lipschultz editing, in a major deal, in a three-book deal, by Nancy Yost at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.”
Please excuse me while I let out a loud Squee!!!!!!! Aren’t you glad I wrote this in a post instead of doing a video blog? ;-).
Now, some backstory. In 2007, I was ahead of my deadlines so I started writing a story I considered an older YA because neither the hero nor the heroine were in high school, yet they weren’t full adults, either. The idea came to me after a very vivid dream that gave me pieces of characters/a world I wanted to know more about (as regular blog readers know, that’s how the Night Huntress series was born). After I’d written about 15K words, I had to put it aside to work on more Cat and Bones books, but I never forgot about it. About a year later, I had my agent shop the partial manuscript to see if we had any takers. Here is a paraphrase of the rejections we received: “It’s great, but it reads older than most YA’s, plus the world is darker and more complex than what’s currently popular. If Jeaniene wants to rewrite it to make the characters still in high school and lighten the worldbuilding, we’d love to take another look at it.”
In other words, redo everything or shelve it. I shelved it because if I’m not emotionally attached to a story, then I’m not going to spend the time and effort to turn it into a book. Yet even knowing that it may never be published, I kept thinking about it.
Fast forward over four years. I wrote several more Night Huntress books, the two Night Huntress World spinoffs, the new Night Prince series, and a handful of short stories and novellas, yet I still kept thinking about Realmwalker. In fact, in my mind I expanded the world, added new subplots, and layered the characters to give them more depth. Something else happened, too. The Hunger Games hit it big, as did other YA’s that skewed older and featured protagonists outside of a high school setting, and some self-published authors gained popularity writing in a subgenre people started calling New Adult. A few weeks ago, my agent received a call from Harlequin (HQN) asking if I had any ideas for an upper YA/New Adult series because they were interested in expanding their line in that direction.
*grin* Why yes, I did.
A few days later, I spent over an hour on the phone with Tara and Margo telling them everything about Realmwalker’s plot, the world, and most importantly, the characters since characters are always the driving force behind a story for me. Since I’d had this simmering in my mind for almost five years, all of the details probably came out as a gushing, semi-coherent babble, but to my delight, they said they loved the idea. After my agent worked out the details on deadlines and other business-related issues, I formally accepted HQN’s offer. Now I finally get to write the story that I first dreamed up back in 2007. To say that I’m thrilled is an understatement.
I’m going to assume some of you have questions, so let me attempt to answer them.
Does this mean I’ll have to wait longer for the next Cat and Bones/Vlad and Leila book?
No. My deadlines with Avon remain the same, so all it means is that I’ll have less time to relax on my couch :).
Why are you starting a new series when you haven’t even finished the other two yet?
By the time the first Realmwalker (title subject to change, of course) novel comes out, the second-to-last Cat and Bones book will already be on the shelves and their last novel will be written and turned in. Likewise, the last Vlad and Leila book will probably be out or soon-to-be released. So although I agreed to this new contract now, HQN is well aware of my current commitments and they have scheduled my deadlines accordingly.
But I don’t want to read a story set in a new world. I want more Cat and Bones/Vlad and Leila/another vampire character’s book next!
I take this as a compliment, but each book has brought Cat and Bones closer to their well-earned conclusion and their series will end as planned. Vlad and Leila’s story will be finished at book three, and as far as another vampire character, I write the stories that are the “loudest” in my head, so we’ll see which vampire comes out on top *wink*. Because I’ve had Realmwalker in my head for a long, long time, I’m so excited by the chance to finally share it with others and to delve into it deeper myself. This doesn’t mean that I’m finished writing vampire novels, but in the meantime, I’ll be exploring this new world and I hope readers will take the journey with me.
So if there are no vampires in Realmalker, is it still a paranormal?
Other supernatural beings exist alongside humans in Realmwalker, so it’s still a paranormal. Much like with my vampire novels, however, most humans don’t know about the other species until things start to go haywire.
Okay, so what are these other supernatural beings?
I’m not saying yet :).
Is it going to be a romance?
There will be a romance, but there won’t be a HEA (happily ever after) in the first book. As with Cat and Bones and Vlad and Leila, my characters will have a lot of obstacles to overcome first.
When will the first Realmwalker novel come out?
We don’t have a firm date yet, but we’re planning for fall 2014.
How often will you publish them?
This is also still in the planning stages, but we’re hoping for at least one book a year.
I hope that answers some general questions. I’m out of town for my 20th anniversary (Happy Anniversary, honey!), so if you have more questions, please ask them here and I’ll get to them when I come back. Of course I can’t answer spoiler questions or questions that I’ve already said I’m not telling yet, but I’ll do my best.
And now, please excuse me while I pop the cyber-champagne :).