Interview with Harmony Ink – Publisher of Positive LGBT YA Fiction
In the discussion of LGBT topics and entertainment, much of it tends to be focused on adults. It’s not that surprising, seeing as adults tend to take a bigger place in entertainment. But as of late, the discussion regarding LGBT youth that commit suicide has increased. Many are now seeing the bullying that occurs and how hard it is for a youth be accepted for whom they chose to love. The campaign It Gets Better aims to show LGBT youths that they are not alone and that things do get better. But sometimes words aren’t enough, sometimes you need to draw that inspiration/strength from something else. Some watch movies, others engross themselves in television, and then there are those of us that look for strenght in books.
That is why I was so extremely happy to discover Harmony Ink Press, and, of course, I had to interview them for this year’s LGBT blogathon. I got a hold of Nessa Warin, Harmony Ink’s delightful Media Coordinator, and I asked her to tell us more about this new LGBT Young Adult fiction publisher.
Hello, Nessa. Tell us, what is Harmony Ink?
Harmony Ink Press is a publisher of positive LGBT Young Adult fiction. We are an imprint of Dreamspinner Press and we produce books in all subgenres featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender main characters between the ages of 14 and 18. Our stories focus on positive character growth and explore all the facets of young adult life.
Why was there a need to create a publishing company such as Harmony Ink?
Everyone needs to read books (or watch movies or television shows) that they not only enjoy, but that feature characters they can relate to, characters that are like them. For LGBT youth, those books (or movies or television shows) are really hard to find. There has been an influx of gay and lesbian fiction for adults in recent years, but the young adult market has been underrepresented.
It’s difficult to find LGBT books for teenagers, and even harder to find positive ones. These teenagers are trying to figure out who they are. Fiction can help with that, but for those who are LGBT or think they might be, they either can’t find it or the books they find tell them there is something wrong with them. These kids need books (or movies or television shows) with characters they can use as role models, because often they don’t have an LGBT role model in real life.
That’s the gap Harmony Ink is looking to fill. We want to get these books out there and make them accessible to the kids who need them.
You guys are fairly new, but looking at the titles you’ve released so far, all the main characters have been boys. Will Harmony Ink only accept m/m YA stories?
No. We’re interested in stories with both boys and girls as main characters. We will accept stories that feature gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teenagers. We’re also interested in stories about teenagers figuring out they’re LGBT. So far everything has been m/m because that’s what we’ve had submitted, but we absolutely want to put out stories about lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender teens as well as continue to publish the m/m stories.