I tend to stress the fact that I’ve been reading romance since the “old days.” It’s silly, this nostalgic musing, but I remember when bodices were ripped, gentlemen preferred virgins and there were three subgenres: gothic, historical and more historical. Those were almost always: Medieval, Celtic or Native American.
It’s a brave new world out there, isn’t it?
Let me tell you, it takes some getting used to. I’ll also confess once and for all that I love it. I like the new world that is Romance literature. It’s fresh, it’s free and it’s wide open. (Okay, some of it still makes me blush) Really wide open.
I’m happy that women have stood up and demanded more than heroines that say, “no, no, no, no well okay.” Even if I steer way toward the sweet end in my own work, I think we’ve made great strides for liberty there.
What I’m the most tickled by, however, are the genres. It’s a revolution of crossing genres out there, and I’m swimming quite happily in it. Go, go Science Fiction Romance. Hurray, Paranormal. Was that a Fantasy Mystery Romance that just drove by? Yippee!
Maybe one of the best things about this grand upheaval is the wiggling of the formulas. They do have a place, I suspect, but the loosening of the traditional recipe, the experimental freedom can’t be beat. Sure, some of the old patterns will remain. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? I suspect, what sticks around will be the important core of what makes good romance for most readers. I also find it exhilarating that an author can try new things. I like to break the mold once in awhile, even if it doesn’t always work.
The exercise is what’s important.
It seems like this process, this growing and stretching of the world that is Romance writing and reading, can only make the sum total body of works better. Evolution can be messy, and it takes its time, but usually the end product is better suited for survival. It’s an exciting thing to watch happen. It also makes me wonder, “what’s next?”
If we can change and twist and expand so much, in so many ways, and so quickly, what will the romance book look like after the next wave? I’d love to hear your predictions.