For the first time since its founding three decades ago, Charlesbridge Publishing in Watertown, Mass., is expanding into YA. This fall, the company will launch Charlesbridge Teen. Originally started to publish picture books, the press added middle grade titles a decade ago. In 2010, Charlesbridge began publishing adult books following its acquisition of Imagine Publishing.
“As we’ve expanded in other areas, the question was when, not if, we would expand into YA,” says Yolanda Scott, associate publisher and editorial director. “It’s a natural outgrowth of our publishing program.” Charlesbridge’s plans to move into young adult titles began two years ago with the hiring of Monica Perez, who had been executive editor of HMH Books for Young Readers.
Galleys for Charlesbridge’s inaugural list of three YA titles will be available during BookExpo at its booth (2905), where author Marit Weisenberg will sign copies of her debut novel, Select (Oct.). This is the first book in a paranormal series, the Select, about a girl who accidentally jeopardizes her family’s anonymity by demonstrating her superhuman powers.
Weisenberg, who has worked in film and television development, started the novel after she moved to Austin, Tex., several years ago. Through her children, she met writer Amanda Eyre Ward, and ended up taking a class with her on writing a novel in a year. Although it took Weisenberg a little longer, closer to 18 months, the extra time paid off: the author received a positive response from agent Kerri Sparks in one week. Weisenberg also credits her work in television with helping her make a smooth transition to novel writing. “Reading so many scripts helped me with pacing,” she notes.
As for trying her hand at romance, Weisenberg says, “I knew I wanted to write about star-crossed lovers.” She thought about writing a romance with a supernatural twist after reading books like Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.
This fall, in addition to Select, Charlesbridge will also publish Stephen Davies’s YA thriller/love story, Blood and Ink (Sept.). Set against the backdrop of the 2012 military coup in Mali, the novel has already been published in the U.K. and Germany.
It’s no accident that the initial Charlesbridge Teen list features so many debuts, since part of Charlesbridge’s mission is to find new voices, Scott says. Michael Currinder’s Running Full Tilt (Sept.), which deals with the bond between a cross-country runner and his autistic brother, is also a first novel. Coming in spring 2018 is Tracy Barrett’s My Free Fall Summer, a semiautobiographical novel about a girl whose mother dies skydiving. Another debut novel, Caitlin Seal’s Twice Dead, as well as a fantasy series, will launch in summer 2018.
With the new imprint, Charlesbridge’s list will inch up from 50 books a year in 2014 to 60 in 2017, including six to eight adult titles published under its Imagine imprint. Charlesbridge Teen will not, however, change the composition of Charlesbridge’s list, which continues to be predominantly picture books.
Today, 3–4 p.m. Marit Weisenberg will be signing at the Charlesbridge booth (2905).