Publishing Georgette Heyer

How did publisher Sourcebooks acquire the rights to many of influential novelist Georgette Heyer’s historical romances and mysteries? With good luck and determination! Sourcebooks founder and president Dominique Raccah and editorial manager Deb Werksman tell the story.

Transcript

Sourcebooks and Georgette Heyer

Deb Werksman: Then Dominique calls me and says Georgette Heyer is out of print.

Dominique Raccah: I couldn’t believe it. [. . . ] you know, all the time I would go into bookstores and look, seriously, I would look, like, under H. Like, is there a new Heyer? Can I buy another Heyer? And I look, and Frederica is out of print. And I said—I called Deb. It was a weekend.

Deb Werksman:Again on a weekend.

Dominique Raccah:On a weekend. I have, like, no boundaries. So, I called Deb.

Deb Werksman: Me, neither.

Dominique Raccah: It works okay. So, I called Deb, and I said, “This is not possible. This is a crime against, you know, book publishing. It is not possible that a publisher would allow this to be out of print. Figure out who the agent is and, at any price, go get this.”

Deb Werksman: Okay. So, I go to London. Because I called the agent, and he’s not impressed. Okay. So, I go to London, and I sit down with him and a big bottle of wine, and I come back with a contract for Heyer’s historical novels and about half a dozen of the romances that are available.

Dominique Raccah: One of the things that’s miraculous about Heyer is how much she didn’t repeat herself. You would think 52 books, you know, that this woman—how many ways are there to fall in love? But, Deb and I were counting last night, and I think in all of her books, there’s only one time, for example, that there’s love at first sight.

It is such a rich world. So, when Deb talks about, you know, the world is created, it’s not a world of just two people. Right? A world is about, you know, it’s so much richer than that. Heyer is, you know, at one point I counted that there was, one of my favorite books, had something like eight story lines that were about other people going off in eight different directions. And what was really carrying you was not just the love that was growing between these two people but all the ways that they were impacting the world around them and the people around them. And you grow to love those people a lot. I think that’s really the vision of romance fiction. I think that’s what made it—in some ways, it really touches into the heart of what our families, our communities, our lives actually look like.

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