What the Harlequin Historical Team Want

Are you planning to submit to the Warriors Wanted Blitz? Our team posted recently about what we’re looking for in Harlequin Historical, and we’d like to remind you of what Medieval, Viking and Highlander stories we’d like to see. We can’t wait to read your submissions!

When you put the words ‘historical’ and ‘romance’ together, the first thing that usually springs to mind is Regency. Here at Harlequin Historical, we’re open and eager to publish an array of different historical periods, with an eclectic cast of characters. That’s not to say we’re not interested in reading Regency novels, but we’re also interested in historical romances that aren’t set in the years between 1811 and 1820.

So, what do we want to see in submissions from aspiring authors?

Viking

The Vikings have a rich history in trading, sailing, exploring, and even pillaging and generally being hardcore adventurous heroes and heroines. Whether it’s about warriors or shield maidens, they usually feature very strong characters and they’re always popular!

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Medieval

Medieval Chivalric Romances of gallant knights embarking on a quest have been around for centuries, always with a beautiful, tempting damsel thrown into the mix. Placing heroism in the very centre, these stories raised the question: can you be a hero without someone to save?

But ask yourself this: what if the damsel doesn’t want to be saved…? Enter Harlequin Historicals.

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Highlander

Another popular hook is the Highlander hero! A strong, brooding hero living in the rugged, yet beautiful, landscape of Scotland lends itself perfectly to an unforgettable, romantic setting.

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We’re currently looking for Warriors!

Keep an eye out for the Warriors Wanted! Blitz launching June 5th! We’re looking for new authors with fresh, emotional voices who can write strong, alpha heroes against a backdrop of Viking, Medieval or Highlander settings.

More information to follow on the SYTYCW blog and Twitter!

Outside of the upcoming blitz, we’re also looking for…

Underrepresented/Own voices:

Historical romances set in any time period by underrepresented authors; perhaps featuring diverse characters and/or different perspectives on history. This could include characters of color, different religious experiences and cultures but also including all aspects of a diverse society.

Regency (but with a twist)!

Authors can be incredibly creative, writing fresh takes on classic tropes, and we want to see more of those! Our Regencies don’t often have a damsel in distress who doesn’t have an independent thought in her head, desperate to be saved by a rich, powerful man. Sometimes she saves him! Sometimes they save each other.

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. Take, for example, the film Belle with Gugu Mbatha-Raw. It is the story of Dido Belle, the mixed-race daughter of a Navy Captain and an enslaved African woman from the West Indies who has been brought to England and thrust into Georgian Society.

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, the Suffragettes changed women’s rights forever. In this post-Me-Too world, who better to take inspiration from than the original instigators who demanded equality for the sexes. After all, isn’t this what our Harlequin books have been saying all along?

Whilst we no longer publish Westerns, 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!

Start thinking, are there events that took place that we don’t traditionally read about?

Renaissance/Tudor

The period of rebirth had its foundations in 14th century Florence, spreading global exploration and artistic revolution throughout Europe.

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!

More recent historical periods we’re willing to try

Now that we’re in 2020, 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.

There are dozens of potential avenues your writing could take if you decide to write historical romance, 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!

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 – and we’ll look forward to reading your submissions! Remember, you can submit your story to Harlequin Historical anytime via Submittable, so if you have a non-Warrior story you’d like us to see, please send it in!

Don’t forget to look out for information on the upcoming Harlequin Historical Warriors Wanted! Blitz!

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  1. Ruth Kaufman

    What’s the latest year you consider Medieval vs. Renaissance/Tudor? According to the above post, 1455 and 1465 (when two of my manuscripts are set) would be Renaissance, not Medieval, for purposes of Warriors Wanted. Thank you.