Interlude Press, founded in 2014 as a boutique publisher of LGBTQ romantic fiction, is launching Duet, a young adult fiction imprint representing LGBTQ characters. The imprint’s inaugural titles, both due in June, are The Rules of Ever After, a modern fantasy/fairy tale by Killian B. Brewer, and Summer Love, a collection of short stories by various authors examining LGBTQ characters’ discovery of both platonic and romantic love.

“Since the day we started building a business plan for Interlude Press, we wanted to develop an imprint appropriate for teenage readers featuring new voices and fresh perspectives on LGBTQ characters,” said Annie Harper, Interlude Press and Duet managing editor. “Our goal is to publish compelling stories by various authors featuring diverse characters any reader can identify with.”

Harper, one of the founders of Interlude Press, said she has for years recognized the need for fiction that the teen LGBTQ audience can relate to, yet emphasized the universal appeal of Duet titles. “Like all young adults, characters in YA books are discovering who they are and trying to find the courage to show themselves to the world,” she said. “I remember how I, as a lesbian in prep school, would secretly pass around with friends a copy of E.M. Forster’s Maurice. We were in so many ways desperate to see ourselves as protagonist – and not one in a desperate state. We needed then, and teens need now, diverse books that are not tragedies – but books in which being gay is not the primary source of conflict.”

Duet’s name is a play on Interlude Press’s musical connotation and, Harper explained, “also implies a little bit of innocence, as well as the love story theme. But that said,” she added, “we are putting out love stories that have an additional dimension to them. We are focusing on stories where romance serves as a catalyst for characters to discover who they are and show their authentic selves. For instance, in The Rules of Ever After, two princes fall in love, but that is not the whole story. The novel has a great ensemble cast, and its main focus is not necessarily falling in love, but breaking free from the expectations and rules of society.”

Duet, which like Interlude Press is distributed by Ingram, will add a third title next fall, Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee, a fantasy love story about a selkie who answers a young man’s request to experience real love. Three additional books will be published in spring 2016.

In addition to Harper, Duet is managed by Interlude’s other core staff members (C.L. Miller, director of marketing and communications; Lex Huffman, director of technology; and art director Becky J. Shepherd), and its roster of authors will include those who have published with Interlude as well as other writers.

According to Harper, the imprint’s annual output is open-ended. “We are not trying to meet an annual quota – our goal is to publish great books,” she said. “We are interested in expanding Duet beyond romance into other types of LGBTQ books in the future, but right now we’re focusing on what we do best.”

The Rules of Ever After by Killian B. Brewer. Duet, $16.99 June 978-1-941530-35-1

Summer Love, edited by Annie Harper. Duet, $15.99 June 978-1-941530-36-8

Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee. Duet, $15.99 Sept. 978-1-941530-37-5