Mar18MonsterHighCoverJUMPUnder license from Mattel, Little, Brown Booksfor Young Readers will be publishing a new YA series, Monster High, written byLisi Harrison, best known for the Clique and Alphas series. In the books, thesons and daughters of Frankenstein, The Mummy, and other famous moviemonsters, disguised as humans, interact with themodern teenagers who are their fellow students.

The concept was created in-house by Mattel,which sought out a publisher to help establish the brand and its storylines andcharacters. "This is an original intellectual property that we're launching asa franchise," says Mattel spokesperson Sara Rosales. In addition to books,there will be toys, including dolls, accessories, and games; online content;future entertainment vehicles; consumer products such as apparel; and anextensive marketing campaign.

Mattel created the premise, initial charactersand look-and-feel, but wanted the author to have broad freedom when writing thebooks. "It's to Mattel's credit that they wanted a well-known author who canbring so much to it creatively," says Little, Brown senior executive editorErin Stein, who is editing the series. "They wanted a great book that stands alone and has a great storyand characters."

Mar18LisiHarrisonThis freedom resulted in an unusallycollaborative relationship among Harrison, Stein, and Mattel brand executives."With licensed publishing, you always are feeling creatively stifled, a littlebit, since you're working under the constraints of the property," Stein says."In this case, they're really open to anything and can't wait to see what Lisicomes up with. And she responded to the concept immediately."

Some of the characters in Mattel's toy line willmake their way into the books, to be published under the Poppy imprint, andbook characters may migrate into toys. Books will be cross-promoted with toysand other products on Mattel's Monster High Web site, on hangtags andpackaging, and in non-book retail environments.

With an initial printing of 150,000 copies, thefirst of four intial Monster High titles will be released this fall, along withthe first toys from Mattel, followed by one title per season through spring2012.