Beyond ‘Ralph’ – on publishing The Vincent Boys

So tomorrow a Hot Key first happens – we publish an ebook for the first time ahead of a paperback (which comes in Jan). And not just any ebook – it’s fair to say that this is something a bit different for us Hot Keyers. It’s already been self-published and read by thousands around the world. And…it is – cover your eyes more sensitive readers – a bit RACY.

Shock horror. What? A Children’s/YA publisher publishing a book with S-E-X in it? We know what you’re thinking – you thought we only published books with tiny animals and pirates in them, right? But, you know what – we like to be different and throw ourselves into new territory, so here goes.

I hate to be the one to break to you, but some teenagers out there are either having sex, thinking about sex, or trying to read about sex in magazines (who here didn’t steal a peek at ‘position of the month’ in More magazine in the newsagents when your mum wasn’t looking eh?). And while we don’t age range here at Hot Key – let’s just say if we did, we definitely wouldn’t be recommending it to young readers – the characters are practically adults (17 and 18), so their exploits are definitely for older teens, their mums (and then to be honest any and all of us!)…

When The Vincent Boys first landed on my desk I’m the first to admit I was dubious. I’m not normally a fan of reading romance, and when a friend of mine who was working on Sylvia Day’s Bared to You, sent me a copy – I laughed, and then put it aside – I wasn’t going to read that! But, on a long train ride to Edinburgh I opened my iPad and started The Vincent Boys. And that was it – I was hooked. I was catapulted to hot and steamy Alabama, where teenagers are on the verge of adulthood, decisions, mistakes and discoveries are being made, and the guys, oh the guys are hot, hot, hot…(and mostly without a shirt on. It’s too warm for shirts, obvs.)

There has been much chuckling in the office about our teen years of reading Forever to find out about sex. The illicit copies that went round at school, the debating over Ralph. It’s just what you did.  It’s what we still do. (Hilariously many of the boys in the office have been surreptitiously nicking copies of The Vincent Boys from our quickly diminishing advance pile…) In fact, this has been the hardest book to keep on our shelves, as so many people in the company want to borrow our copies.

I don’t know why I’ve been snobby about reading romance in the past. I’m certainly not when it comes to watching it on TV.  Reading The Vincent Boys actually reminded me of those great US dramas I watched while at Uni, or on E4 on Friday nights (or still now…) – The. O.C, Dawson’s Creek, Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives… My god – how many hours did I spend debating with colleagues at work when Seth and Summer would finally get together, and Marissa and Ryan would finally DO. IT. Let’s be honest here. We all LOVE the drama.

So, I hope you will join us in reveling in the drama of Ash and Beau and Sawyer this week, and onwards. There’s a special site and everything!  And in the meantime we’d sure love to hear your stories about which books got passed around your classrooms or friendship groups to giggle at the “rude bits”.


2 responses to “Beyond ‘Ralph’ – on publishing The Vincent Boys

  1. It’s not just unputdownable reading, these books are really important! One copy of Forever served my whole class for sex ed when we were 11. School hadn’t quite got to us with its dry rendition of what sex was yet, some of us had had the dreaded parental talk and some hadn’t, so Forever was key in getting 25 eleven year olds ‘on the same page’ for what really goes on.
    The Vincent Boys/Brothers isn’t exactly for eleven year olds, but provides a next vital instalment in what the whole boy/girl thing is about, physically and emotionally.

    • It’s so TRUE. I worked on the relaunch of Forever and I remember Judy Blume talking about how she just wanted to write a book that showed sex in a normal, natural way – without anyone dieing, getting pregnant or being banished for being ‘bad’. It was just two people choosing to do the thing they want to do. The Vincent Boys is pretty similar isn’t it? It’s Ashton realizing it’s okay to have sexual feelings and be herself with Beau…

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