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October 2011

Reporter: Deb Kinnard

Deb KinnardDeb Kinnard writes romance, simple as that. She has four full-length novels published plus one novella. Her time-travel story, Seasons In The Mist, was released from Sheaf House in 2010. She also serves as Midwest Zone Director for the ACFW. Connect with Deb at her website or her blog.

Editor: Vicki Talley McCollum

Vicki Talley McCollumVicki Talley McCollum, freelance editor and writer, is the book review editor for ACFW’s Afictionado ezine, an associate copyeditor for MBT Voices, and a fiction columnist for FCW Ready Writer e-zine. She is a member of ACFW, MBT, FCW, and the Christian Editor’s Network. Visit her website and her blog.

Spotlight On: Zondervan

Zondervan logo

Adult fiction

Sue Brower (right), executive editor at Zondervan, said she’s looking for established authors to fill current slots, and it will be 6–12 months before she’ll consider new authors. Sue BrowerPrimarily, Zondervan is looking for contemporary romance, historical and historical romance, and suspense, but not science fiction at this time, since they’re not familiar enough with the genre to evaluate it.

YA fiction

Jacque Alberta (right), acquisitions editor for Zonderkidz, discussed how their YA program, begun in 2005, originally targeted Christian bookstores. They discovered teens don’t shop these stores, so they plan to integrate fiction with Christian content, aimed where kids shop.

Jacque AlbertaTeens look for story, and Zondervan envisions New York Times bestseller-readability with a Christian worldview. Alberta is open to new writers and has found several through ACFW. She wants dystopian fiction, speculative pieces sans vampires, and fantasy, but prefers “world-building” to be less complicated, and accessible. She also wants literary fiction. Either series projects or stand-alone books are fine.


Big trends include Amish, which is becoming a genre within itself, like Regency romance. Individual authors may not see super sales figures because there’s so much of it. Suspense is doing well. Brower recommends reading the bestseller list to pick up what’s working. She’s waiting for the Regency romance she’ll love. It’ll be well researched, since she’s a fan of Georgette Heyer, who set the bar high.

Discussion points

Sue Brower is waiting for a well-researched Regency romance to love: Think Georgette Heyer.

  • Openness to missionary fiction: Brower answered that they’d hesitate on a missionary-fiction book.
  • Openness to edginess in YA: Characters struggling with teen temptations, where is the line? Brower answered they have a parent advisory group that advises them on acceptability. Teens have a good eye for watering down, and they prefer realistic themes. The secret is the book should have hope and still read real.
  • Openness to suspense: Does it compare with romantic suspense in sales? Brower answered they acquire all sorts of suspense manuscripts, from romantic suspense to the procedural thriller, and so forth. None does much better than other subgenres.
  • Involvement with ebooks: Brower said they are releasing digital books as far back as they have rights to publish them.


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