I’m currently editing a multi-genre story that can be woman’s fiction, suspense and noir but also a romance because it has an HEA. But the path to getting there is about a woman’s journey back to herself and to the man she loves rather than the hero and heroine fighting odds to be together. The hero is coming up more in this draft than he has in the past but the story is very much the heroine’s. I think it may shift into a “dark romance” if anything.
It got me thinking about some things regarding the romance genre. Lately there has been a lot of genre bending with the new paranormals dancing between suspense, romance, fantasy, detective and even a little bit of sci-fi that makes bookstore placement even more confusing. But as we move into the digital age with unlimited shelf space and numerous genre handles it’s becoming less limiting.
But what about the audience who is looking for a certain type of story? Will they be willing to stretch their idea of what a romance is to, say, darker romances that still end in HEA? A fellow writer friend of mine sent me some Anne Stuart titles to check out and her stories, based on what I’ve read from the blurbs, are what I have in mind as an example. I'm currently looking for more like hers where the heroes are sort of anti-heroes in a way in high octane jobs like assassin, spies, etc. Something like The Replacement Killers which I love and wish we got that kiss in the deleted scenes.
According to the recent RWA coverage roundup at DA, editors eagerly looking for something new to release and readers are even more so willing to look for twists on old themes, new voices and styles and new stories to indulge in.
Will strict genres be a thing of the past and the focus more so on larger definitions of romantic fiction, mainstream fiction or perhaps literary love stories? I love the idea of the former which is a staple of Black Lyon Publishing. But I wonder how the next generation of romance readers will accept it.
How about you guys? How stringent are you on the types of romance books you read?