By Dennis Abrams
USA Today reports that Philippa Gregory, the British queen of historical fiction best known for The Other Boleyn Girl, has signed a world rights agreement with Simon and Schuster to publish four young adult historical romance titles. Publisher Jon Anderson, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, said in a press release, “Gregory is the gold standard for historical fiction. These books are an irresistible combination that will introduce a whole new group of readers to Philippa Gregory, and we look forward to working closely with Philippa to make this new venture a great success.”
Gregory told Deidra Donahue that her decision to write YA was a simple one. “I had an idea for a story which was not so heavily bounded by research, not based on a real person but a created one, and entering into the medieval world by way of two very young protagonists and it seemed to me ideal as a story for young adults.”
She adds that writing for a YA audience will not be that different from writing for her usual adult audience in terms of style and vocabulary. The difference will be in her responsibility to that audience, “I think accuracy — in emotion, in history and in a view of behavior and its consequences is even more important.”
But when asked if the chances of authors who specialize in YA fiction are hurt when best-selling adult market writers such as herself and Jodi Picoult move into that arena, Gregory responded in no uncertain terms. “This is a question about market, and about how a market might work. I am not a publisher. I am an author so I am more interested in how I work as a writer than how my books are market and sold. I have to be free to write what I am inspired to write, and the readers have to be free to buy and enjoy it. I really doubt that there is any author who thinks that their work is so poor that they will be knocked out of the bookshelves by the arrival of a better author — and if they do think that, then perhaps it is no bad thing that they stop publishing until they learn to do it better.”
The first book is scheduled for an international hardcover release in summer 2012, timed to be released alongside Gregory’s forthcoming adult trilogy.