Democratic organizer Stacey Abrams, often credited with helping topple two Senate seats in Georgia and seen as a likely gubernatorial candidate, will return to bookstores next year under a name she hasn’t used For years.
Publisher Berkley is republishing her first three romance novels, written under the pseudonym Selena Montgomery and long out of print.
“As my first novels, they remain incredibly special to me,” Ms. Abrams said in a statement. “The characters and their adventures are what I wanted to read as a young black woman – stories that present women of color as nuanced, determined and exciting.”
She added that “as Selena and as Stacey” she was excited about the reissue and “proud to be a part of the romantic writers community.”
Dedicated fans could have found the books, “Rules of Engagement”, “The Art of Desire” and “Power of Persuasion”, published in the early 2000s. But they would have come at a high cost. Around noon Tuesday, a used copy of “The Art of Desire” was listed on Amazon at $ 604.99, and “Rules of Engagement” was listed at $ 92.84.
Ms Abrams chose the pseudonym Selena Montgomery, she told Stephen Colbert in 2019, because her editors feared romance readers who searched for her name online would be put off by her other, arguably less sexy, published work: a master’s thesis on a business. tax exemption and a high school article on Mesopotamian astronomy.
The three republishing books form a trilogy about a fictional government organization that recruits civilians to do undercover work, according to Cindy Hwang, vice president and editorial director of Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“It’s a bit of a romantic suspense with international espionage,” Ms. Hwang said.
The books were originally published by Harlequin Books, one of the largest publishers of novels. Ms Abrams recently secured the rights, which Berkley bought from Ms Abrams a few months ago, Ms Hwang said.
The reissue comes as more diverse writers embark on novel writing, a genre whose major publishers have long tended to focus on white characters and heterosexual relationships. A study by Ripped Bodice, a bookstore in Culver City, Calif., Found that of the 3,752 romance novels published by 20 major printings in 2017, only about 6% were written by non-white authors. Many black writers have described racism in the romance industry.
“The Art of Desire,” released in January 2002, seems to have been well received by romance critics.
Selena Montgomery “has solidified her principled position in this genre among those who strive to create romantic suspense,” Romance in Color wrote in an early review, according to The Ripped Bodice.
The inner part of “The Art of Desire,” according to Amazon, offers this summary: “A plan formed as Adam recalled Raleigh’s reaction to their embrace. In their kiss, he tasted the passion, the forgotten chemistry and her worry about losing control. He felt her shake as he kissed his hand in the moonlight. And today, when he got too close, he witnessed the mixture of fascination and worry. If the insults didn’t drive her away, maybe the fear of her touch would.
After releasing the trilogy, Ms Abrams released five more romance novels under the name Selena Montgomery.
Ms Abrams said in 2019 that writing another novel, no matter how tempting, was not her priority, telling The New York Times Magazine that she was focusing on politics.
“I would love to, but right now what calls me – and what this moment demands – is that I find how I can be most effective in preserving and advancing our democracy and questioning policies and policies that continue to exacerbate poverty, ”she told the magazine.
But she mentioned that she worked on books in progress. Last year, she released a non-fiction work, “Our Time Is Now,” and she is set to release a legal thriller, “While Justice Sleeps,” this month.
The worlds of romance and politics have, at least once, aligned for Ms. Abrams. Last year, a group of romantic novelists organized a fundraiser, “Romancing the Runoff,” to mobilize Democratic voters in Georgia, raising more than $ 460,000.