Angela James Carina Interview

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Angela_James_headshot_high_resAngela James is joining us today as the new Executive Editor of Carina, a subsidiary of Harlequin Enterprises Limited. As most romance readers are aware, Harlequin, based in Toronto, has been in the romance business for 60 years. Angela was kind enough to answer questions from readers and authors  who saw the announcement of her appointment and wanted to get  more information about Carina’s M/M romance policies.

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Hi Angela

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on the site. This must be a very exciting time for you and I would like to first of all congratulate you on your new appointment.

Thank you! I am so excited about our new venture at Carina Press, and for the opportunity to work with the Harlequin Digital program.

Let’s start from the top. In your new capacity as Executive Editor with Carina what will be your role? Is it similar to your previous position with Samhain? If not, what are the differences?

My role will be somewhat similar to what I did previously. I’m in charge of editorial for Carina, including finding and managing freelance editors and copyeditors, tracking acquisitions, setting up style guides, reaching out to and communicating with authors, traveling to conferences and just generally spreading the word of Carina_Press_coverCarina ;) But I’ll also be doing even more admin things at Carina (such as managing the schedule) than I was previously doing, and much less editing.

Harlequin, the parent company for Carina, is not known for its explicitness. How will this play into the content of the books that are accepted for publishing by Carina?

Carina Press is a separate company, which gives us the ability to build our own brand and readership, so we have no restrictions on the level of explicit sex or language.

I hate to come back to your parent company but Harlequin is known for having its books follow a certain formula. will this spill over to Carina so that there is no room for new ideas? How does Carina intend to combat the image that readers have of Harlequin as a tame formulaic romance publisher with no explicit sex in their romances? This may be one of the biggest hurdles Carina will have to get over with readers.

I’m going to start to sound like a broken record, but Carina is a separate company, which gives us the ability to build our own brand and readership (repetition on purpose for emphasis since you asked twice :P ), so any comparisons to Harlequin, or the way Harlequin does things, or any of their story structures in specific lines don’t apply to us.

With so many established M/M publishers such as Amber Allure and Torquere and newer publishers of M/M romances e.g. Dreamspinner, as well as fly by night publishing companies popping up regularly to fill the increasing demand, how can you assure readers that your product is a quality product in terms of both content and editorial quality?

Any publisher has the ability to assure quality product by only contracting submissions that meet their criteria, not just publishing something to fill a hole in the schedule. Someone said to me that I have a rather freaky reputation for being tough about quality. That won’t change now.

In terms of content, for example would graphic BDSM, twincest etc. be acceptable or is there a certain standard to which you subscribe when it comes to sex in books and you prefer not to accept certain types of stories?

We won’t be publishing incest. But I would look at books with siblings who are in a menage or more, as long as the sexual interaction isn’t with each other (for instance, I’m a big fan of Lora Leigh’s August Brother books). I have no set lines for BDSM, I’m a pretty liberal reader and that will be reflected in what we’ll publish, I hope, but I’m sure there will be something, at some time, that comes in and we say “nope, that’s just over our line.” I just can’t say what that might be.

There is only a limited pool of writers from which Carina can draw and it’s already thin with the established publishers and a number of newbies in the market. I would  hate to see the pool of talent watered down even further. Do you intend to invite specific popular m/m authors to submit manuscripts in order to capitalize on a built-in audience?

Really? Why do you think the pool of writers is limited? I don’t believe that’s the case at all. There are new authors joining the writing world often (just look at the number of people who participate in NaNoWriMo, many of whom have never written a book before). I guess I’m not sure I understand your concern in this area, maybe I’m missing the point of the question?

There seems to be conflicting information between Carina’s Marketing Bulletin which states that you’re looking at a Spring 2010 launch and the Press Release from Harlequin that says you’re looking at a summer 2010 launch. Which is correct? If you’re really looking at a Spring 2010 launch that does not give you a lot of lead time in terms of sending out calls for submissions.

We’ve said late spring or early summer, which I think is the difference of either May or June. The call for submissions has already gone out and we’ve gotten over 300 submissions in two weeks!

I notice from your press information that you’re planning on weekly releases. Do you believe that there is enough quality new material in the marketplace to provide you with the number of manuscripts you will need to meet this requirement?

Keep in mind, we’re not doing just romance. We’re doing all genres of fiction. So yes, I definitely do think there’s enough quality new material to sustain weekly releases.

Carina is a digital only publisher. Many current publishers offer their authors the ability to publish their books in print. Do you think you will be able to attract quality writers who love to see their books in print?

Yes, I do.

Thank you very much Angela. I do appreciate your time

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Angela James, who I’m sure is snowed under with work right now, but she took the time to answer questions from authors and readers who logged on to this site, about Carina’s entry into the digital market. I wish Angela and Carina much success since their success would mean even more books released for M/M readers who just can’t get enough. :-D

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. I’m sure that Angela is looking forward to your comments on her interview.

Angela James Contact Information

angela_james@carinapress.com
www.carinapress.com
www.twitter.com/angelajames

11 thoughts on “Angela James Carina Interview

  1. Tam

    I suppose like all new companies we’ll have to wait and see if the reality lives up to the companies hopes when they start publishing. The proof is in the pudding (or the book) as they say … somewhere … England I think.
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    Personally (and this is totally unfair and unfounded I admit that, but being human …) when I know that a company is associated with Harlequin, I remember the Harlequin of the 70′s and 80′s. I know Carina is a separate company but there doesn’t seem to be much effort to “hide” the Harlequin brand behind it. Which I suppose has the effect of attracting Harlequin fans who might be looking for something different but for me personally it also makes me shy away a bit whereas if I didn’t know it was related I would just see it as another “new” company out there. But I’m not going to be prejudiced. :-) I will wait and see what the results are and a good book is a good book no matter who publishes. Good luck and I do hope that Carina is a success and helps to push the bar higher for m/m romance.
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    By the way, I hope you’ve scheduled in an hour or two a night for sleep Angela. Sounds like a crazy wacky lot of responsiblities you have.

  2. Val Kovalin

    Thanks for dropping by, Angela. I was so pleased to learn about your new position at Carina, and I wish you the very best! And, Wave, excellent interview with some really good questions! Even though I’m guessing that these interviews are major hard work to line up and put together, you do it better than any other blogger that I know of. I’m always picking up good info here. :)

    1. Wave Post author

      Thank you for the kind words Val. I do appreciate them, but in this case most of the questions came from the authors and readers when they heard about Angie’s new appointment.

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      I wish Angie well on a personal level and I hope Carina is successful since, as I said in the interview, its success means more M/M books for us. :-D

  3. Ally Blue

    Wave, as always you give great interview hon :)
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    Angie, hello and thank you so much for stopping by Wave’s blog to tell us about Carina! Major congrats on the new job, I’m really happy for you. Carina got a real jewel in this deal :D
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    If I’m reading Wave’s question right, I think she was talking about strictly gay (or m/m rather, a lot of folks prefer that term I guess) romance when she mentioned the limited pool of talent. [Wave, I know you'll smack me if I'm wrong *g*] In that light, do you think that’s correct? Or are you finding some brilliant new gay romance voices in your submissions pile? Personally, I love seeing new stars rise in the genre, new voices to read, and I know the folks here feel the same.
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    On a note that may or may not be strictly personal, how edgy are you willing to get in the submissions you accept? I’m not talking about sex here, just subject matter that may be controversial or uncomfortable.
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    Thanks again Angie! Hope you’re having a lovely holiday season :D

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Ally
      Thank you for coming by when there’s not a single hot guy around. :-D
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      You are correct. I meant M/M or gay authors since this site only reviews M/M. I thought that was understood, but maybe I wasn’t clear.

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      I’ll be very interested in Angie’s response to your last question which has some bearing on the one I asked about BDSM and twincest (not incest, since I don’t read books about incest).

  4. Erotic Horizon

    Good luck on your new venture Angela…

    Another winning interview Wave…

    I also would like to know your thought on subject matter that may be controversial or uncomfortable.

    E.H>

  5. Angela James

    Thank you, Wave! I’m so sorry I’m only now stopping by. I had phone calls and appointments scheduled from 9:15 to 4pm today! And I’m traveling to Toronto to the Harlequin offices. On top of it all, I have a cold. Injustice!

    So it looks like the two main questions lingering are about how edgy and pool of talent. Edgy first. I don’t really know where my boundaries are. Incest (and I do consider twins having sex or touching sexually incest) is definitely a boundary. Most bestiality. I say most because I think the lines are somewhat blurred there with shapeshifting. Most of the time, if it’s used within the confines of the story, and not just for the sake of shock value or to garner sales, I try to keep an open mind. Generally, this is one of those things where I don’t have too many hard and fast “no’s” but more “I know it when I see it”.

    As to saying there’s a limited pool of talent (in any genre) I feel as though you’re saying no one but the people who are currently popular and write it now can write it, that the pool of authors is played out. On the other hand, I think there’s always going to be another author coming along behind, discovering they can write or that they want to write!

    Unfortunately, no brilliant new m/m or GBLT authors have appeared in my inbox yet, but I have faith ;)

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Angela
      thanks for stopping by and clarifying a couple of areas, especially twincest and shifted sex.
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      I hope you find those new M/M authors. :-D

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      I understand that your schedule is impossible right now and I hope, after you have had a few months in the job, that you’ll be back to update us on Carina.

  6. Bob Vankammen

    What a motivating article it was. Good share. But I am having difficulty with this rss. I didn’t succeed to subscribe. Is there anybody else experiencing similar issue with your feed?

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