Book Notes: 2 regional publishing companies announce new imprints

Courtesy of Peachtree Publishing

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Courtesy of Peachtree Publishing

And 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for Atlanta romance novelist Susan Sands.

This week’s Book Notes features big announcements from two local publishing firms and a publication day celebration for a prolific Atlanta author.

Welcome to middle age: Last month Peachtree Publishing celebrated 45 years in business by announcing the debut of two new imprints: Peachtree Teens and Margaret Quinlin Books.

For readers 14 and up, Peachtree Teens debuted with R.M. Romero’s “The Ghosts of Rose Hill” (out now, $18.99), a modern-day folk tale written in verse about Ilana, a biracial Jewish teen whose dream to be a professional violin player is at odds with her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue something more practical.

Sent to visit her aunt in Prague, Ilana discovers an old cemetery behind the house and befriends the ghost of a kind boy named Benjamin, who’s been dead for a century. When a mysterious man who claims to have magical powers promises to fix things so Ilana can be with Benjamin forever and achieve her violin dreams, she is forced to make some difficult decisions.

Coming up later in the summer is “Hell Followed With Us” (June 7, $18.99), a dystopian LGBTQ horror novel by Andrew Joseph White, and “Boys I Know” (July 5, $17.99), by Anna Gracia, about an 18-year-old Taiwanese woman’s search for identity while navigating her mother’s impossible expectations and a messy new relationship with a boy.

Margaret Quinlin Books will focus on illustrated books for children 4 and up. It will publish one book this season, “Wombat Said Come In” (Oct. 4, $18.99) by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Brian Lies. It’s about a hospitable wombat who welcomes into his burrow a steady stream of Australian animals seeking refuge from the bush fires raging above ground.

Founded in 1977 by Helen Elliot, Peachtree Publishing established itself as a well-regarded publisher of Southern writers. Its backlist still includes books by Terry Kay, Philip Lee Williams and Erskine Caldwell. But in 1990, when Margaret Quinlin bought controlling interest and became president and publisher, the focus turned toward children’s books.

In 2018, Peachtree Publishers was acquired by Trustbridge Global Media, which owns other children’s publishing houses. The move helped strengthen Peachtree Publisher’s catalog thanks to a shared sales and distribution relationship with publishing behemoth Penguin Random House.

Peachtree Publishers currently releases more than 70 new books a year and maintains a backlist of more than 600 titles. Among the prizes its books have won are a Caldecott Award and two Geisel Honors.

A Perfect Pairing: Founded by Randall Williams and Suzanne La Rosa in 2000, NewSouth Books in Montgomery, Alabama, has carved a niche in the publishing world as a champion of regional books of national interest. The company publishes around 25 books a year and has 400 active titles on its backlist.

Recent releases include “The Many Lives of Andrew Young” by AJC reporter Ernie Suggs and “The Southernization of America” by Cynthia Tucker and Frye Gaillard. Upcoming is “Drifting Into Darkness” (May 24, $23.95) by journalist Mark I. Pinsky. It’s a sprawling, sordid saga of murder, mental illness and suicide that begins with the brutal 2004 beating death of a wealthy, socially prominent couple in Montgomery, Alabama.

Beginning July 1, NewSouth Books enters a new era. UGA Press announced last month that it has acquired the publishing company. It plans to support NewSouth’s existing catalog of books, and will continue to release new titles under the NewSouth imprint.

La Rosa will join the UGA Press staff and publish eight to 12 titles a year, while Williams will continue to edit select titles.

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"Home to Cypress Bayou" by Susan Sands Courtesy of Tule Publishing

Credit: Tule Publishing

"Home to Cypress Bayou" by Susan Sands
Courtesy of Tule Publishing

Credit: Tule Publishing

Combined ShapeCaption
"Home to Cypress Bayou" by Susan Sands Courtesy of Tule Publishing

Credit: Tule Publishing

Credit: Tule Publishing

Happy Pub Day: Just in time for beach-reading season, Atlanta author Susan Sands publishes her latest Southern romance novel, “Home to Cypress Bayou” (Tule Publishing, $17.99), on May 31. Long-held family secrets simmer below the surface when a gallery owner in Paris returns to her hometown in Louisiana to fulfill a promise to a friend by donating bone marrow to a stranger. But when their DNA turns out to be strangely similar, suspicions arise they may be related. Further complications ensue when her ex returns to town.

Sands has apparently put her pandemic downtime to good use because she has three more books coming out this year: “The Island of Summer Sunsets” June 8, “Secrets in Cypress Bayou” Aug. 16 and “A Bayou Christmas” Nov. 1.

Sands celebrates “Home to Cypress Bayou” with a book launch event at 6:30 p.m. May 31 at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock (770-516-9989, foxtalebookshoppe.com).

Suzanne Van Atten is a book critic and contributing editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Contact her at svanatten@ajc.com, and follow her on Twitter at @svanatten.