By Sean Tuohy
Riverdale Avenue Books, the award-winning hybrid publisher, recently announced the relaunch of its Dagger imprint.
Chantelle Aimée Osman will be heading up the imprint, which aims to bring strong new voices in mystery, thriller, and suspense that represent the modern world. Osman took a few minutes to discuss her backstory and what she’s looking for in a manuscript.
Sean Tuohy: What led you into publishing?
Chantelle Aimée Osman: I’ve been an editor for over ten years. I got to know Lori Perkins when I was editor-in-chief of RT Book Reviews magazine. When she decided to relaunch Dagger, she knew that I had a background specializing in crime fiction, and we’d been looking for a way to work together for some time. I’m lucky to have been given this great opportunity to steer a new line.
ST: How was the Dagger imprint born?
CAO: The Dagger imprint was started in 2016 publishing more traditional mysteries, which were not translating into the new digital marketplace, so the line went on hiatus for a while. Once Riverdale knew that they wanted to create a more contemporary female-centric line, they wanted an editor in touch with this more diverse readership.
ST: How does a publisher stand out in the digital age?
CAO: It’s more important for the author to stand out. For a publisher, it’s about reader trust. We have a commitment to the reader to provide them with quality reads. Riverdale, in particular, is known for having an eye to social and cultural issues, both in their fiction and nonfiction. Readers come here for empowering books that shine a light on the human experience.
ST: What are you looking for when you read a new a manuscript?
CAO: Something I haven’t read before in a strong voice. But most of all, the author’s passion for what they’re writing. If someone is writing to a trend, or just to be different, that comes across on the page. Passion is one thing I can’t edit in.
ST: What kind of author is Dagger looking to work with?
CAO: Unique writers who represent the modern world. Yes, we’re looking for gender and cultural diversity as Riverdale is synonymous with top women’s and minority issues, but in the broader sense of the word, we are looking for books that represent our reader and what is true to their experiences. Plus a touch of fun and fantasy, of course.
ST: When and where can readers start finding Dagger books?
CAO: There are already a few wonderful entries—both print and digital— in the pipeline, for a summer release. We should have a full schedule by this fall. The second novel in a contemporary Ripper romantic suspense series, Track the Ripper by Katherine Ramlsand, will be out this summer. You can find all our books anywhere Ingram distributes, and online.