To celebrate the fifth anniversary of its teen imprint, Harlequin brought several of its authors together for its first young adult group tour. The YeahYA! Harlequin Teen Author Fest kicked off in Brampton, Ontario, on July 7 and visited New York City and Texas before wrapping up with two stops in Tennessee.
Group tours are something of a rarity for the publisher. “Harlequin has toured adult authors before. The last group tour was Authors in Motion in June 2010,” said Michelle Renaud, senior manager of public relations at Harlequin Teen imprint. “Our Teen tour was an extension of our summer YA campaign.”
Ten authors – Julie Kagawa, Aimée Carter, Katie McGarry, Amanda Sun, Michelle Rowen, Cara Lynn Shultz, Kady Cross, Gena Showalter, Rachel Vincent, and Karen Ann Hopkins – toured seven cities. Kagawa (The Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series), Carter (The Goddess Test series), and McGarry (Pushing the Limits series) were featured at most stops and joined by local authors in each city. For the July 15 appearance at Books-A-Million in Nashville, Kagawa, Carter, and Hopkins (author of the Temptation series) greeted some three dozen teens, tweens, teachers, parents, and adult fans gathered in the bookstore’s coffee shop. The authors answered questions, offered advice to aspiring authors, and signed books. “I’m eternally grateful for my readers because they are the reason I’m where I am right now,” said Kagawa. From the wide smiles and sea of raised hands, it was clear that the admiration was mutual.
Third grade teacher Dallas Starke said after the event, “I appreciate the sound advice given to young up-and-coming authors. The panel was realistic, generous, and encouraging. It’s advice I’ll pass on to my students.”
By all accounts, other stops on the tour were equally successful. “Meeting readers is definitely one of my favorite experiences of being published, and I’m excited Harlequin Teen gave us the opportunity to travel so we can reach readers in different areas and states,” McGarry told PW. And Carter noted, “The YeahYA! tour was a one of a kind experience, and we had an amazing time meeting readers – and had a blast together, too.”