Simon & Schuster to Publish THE BLESSED by Tonya Hurley

Tonya Hurley

Fans of Tonya Hurley will be happy to hear that there is a new trilogy coming from the author. According to Publishers Weekly, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has acquired U.S. and audio rights to THE BLESSED.

The new series from Hurley (who also wrote ghostgirl and its two sequels) is described as a contemporary, supernatural romance that is a reimagining of the martyrdom legends of three saints.

Hurley says that her inspiration for the trilogy grew out of her fascination with martyr stories and that she drew from the legends of St. Lucy, St. Cecelia, and St. Agnes (who were martyred at a relatively young age) to create The Blessed.

Hurley says:

“The legends of these martyrs are among the first real YA stories that we have, and I thought it would be interesting to reimagine them in a modern, romantic context. These are infamous tales that are so gruesome and so profoundly beautiful at the same time-and so empowering.”

The author views the story, which centers on three teenage girls in Brooklyn who must determine who is good and who is evil in the battle for love and for their own souls, as a “natural next step” for her as a writer.

Hurley says:

“The story deals with some of the themes in ghostgirl, but it is grittier, more grown up, and probably more Quentin Tarantino-esque-which I’m very excited about.”

In addition to her books, the author also has some impressive credits in non-print media, including creating, writing and producing two TV series. She also wrote and directed several independent films, and developed video and board games. Hurley was pleased when she got the news that ghostgirl had been optioned by Chernin Entertainment/20th Century Fox. Interestingly enough, Hurley reportedly initially wrote the first ghostgirlnovel as a filmscript before she decided to reshape it into a novel.

Hurley says:

“It certainly is gratifying,” she says. “We’ll see what happens, but I’m hoping to be able to work on it and continue the story in a different medium. For me, it’s all about storytelling and any way you can tell a story interests me.”

Justin Chanda, v-p and publisher of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, was struck by the inventiveness of Hurley’s vision for The Blessed.

Chanda says:

“From the first sentence of Tonya’s proposal, this felt different and exciting. The story has a religious bent, and these are figures readers may have heard about, but it is told in a very different way. We publish a lot of high-end commercial fiction, but this trilogy doesn’t compete with anything else on our list. It’s very exciting to find something so entirely new.”

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