Fiction You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

A Discussion with Ginjer Buchanan, editor of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels – August 26th, Random House

Cincopa video hosting solution for your website. Another great product from Cincopa Send Files.
True Blood, the hit HBO series, is based on Charlaine Harris's books.
True Blood, the hit HBO series, is based on Charlaine Harris’s books.

Ginjer Buchanan came to the August YPG Brown Bag Lunch to discuss paranormal fiction.  Ginjer Buchanan is Editor-in-Chief of Ace/Roc Books, a division of Penguin Group USA. Her published work includes three short stories in the anthologies Alternate Kennedys, Whatdunnits II, and By Any Other Fame; and also the novel White Silence (1999), a Highlander tie-in. However, she is better known and more influential as an editor, having worked at Ace Books since 1984 on various titles including Charlaine Harris’s The Southern Vampire Mysteries, which inspired the HBO series True Blood. Prior to that time she worked as a freelance editor for Pocket Books, among other publishers, and also worked as a social worker in Pittsburgh, PA.

Ginjer opened the lunch by discussing changes in the market that caused a shift to urban fantasy.  She mentioned the changes over the past several years, varying from interest in Ann Rice to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Charlaine Harris.  She noted that writers and readers of traditional romance were looking for a change, and she feels that this popularity wave will continue for some time, noting other trends (such as the techno thriller (Tom Clancy) and nurse novels) in the past.  Ginjer then discussed a few other coming trends in fantasy, including zombies (in which zombies are hunted more than playing a role as objects of romance).

Ginjer noted some challenges in publishing this genre.  She said that romance is not always taken seriously, and that earlier on, editors had to do a great deal of selling in-house to convince publishers that there is a big audience for this genre of fiction.  Ginjer also noted that the vocabulary for this genre has developed greatly over the past few years, making it much easier to sell these types of books today.

The discussion then shifted to the topic of marking and publicity.  Ginjer explained that paranormal fiction is often easier to market than traditional romance, as official fan magazines for TV shows can be used, as well as editorial samplers, and giveaways at shows such as ComicCon.  She also said that there are a great amount of promotional opportunities for marketing this genre, as ads are not always as expensive as more traditional genres and there are very often online communities and fan groups that support related TV shows.

Ginjer then spoke about her experience working on the Sookie Stackhouse books, and the corresponding True Blood TV show on HBO.  She explained that the author, Charlaine Harris, has no input into the series, but that show creator Alan Ball has included her anyway, sending her scripts and keeping her in the loop about casting decisions.  Ginjer also explained that the show has changed from the book’s plot in a major way.  Similarly, the TV show can include things in the show’s plot that aren’t mentioned until future books in the series, though each season is based on a book, which Ginjer noted is unprecedented for a book-to-TV show adaptation.

The lunch was then opened up to a Q&A portion:

Is there a future for the less romantic side of urban fantasy?

The audience is not as big for the less romantic side of urban fantasy, and at this point, no author has broken out yet.

What does Charlaine Harris read?

She reads everything, including a lot of mysteries.

What is urban fantasy?

Urban fantasy is fantasy set in the here and now (usually in an urban area).  It is not set in the past or any other world. 

Is Charlaine still writing?

Yes, she has a deal for three more books.

What is it like to work with an author who has grown so much?

Ginjer’s editorial relationship with Charlaine has not changed, and no one really expected True Blood to be the hit that it has become.

Post to Twitter

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.