A post I wrote this week for book blogger/reviewer Emma Mitchell. This subject is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, so I thought I’d repost here. If you have any comments, I’d love to hear them!
Today I am handing over to author Helena Fairfax as she talks about why romance novels are predictable …
Why Romance Novels Are All So Predictable
by Helena Fairfax
Some time ago I took a box of leaflets from the Romantic Novelists’ Association into my local independent bookshop. The leaflets listed all the nominees for that year’s Romantic Novelists’ Awards – some of the UK’s best romance writers – and I asked the manager if he’d like a handful of them to display in the shop. He curled his lip (in the manner of a cliché-ed hero) and said, “We don’t stock that type of book here.” (!)
These days I’m used to people’s reactions when I say I write romance, but that isn’t to say I understand it. That bookseller had some of the greatest romance novels of all time on his shelves – authors such as Jane Austen…
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3 thoughts on “#AuthorTakeover Why Romance Novels Are All So Predictable by Helena Fairfax @HelenaFairfax #ChickLit #Romance #Books”
Despite being a hulking male, I’m happy to admit I like romance novels and chic-lit; but one danger I recently noticed is when the author loses interest and starts “writing by numbers.” Took the latest Erica Fforde to work the other day and, oh dear, still competent but uninvolving. Production-line produce for old dears addicted to gin-and-tonics with all the emotional punch of a wet and rotten haddock… Which is a pity, because I rather liked Erica and her ilk, but the romance genre, like any other, has to involve, entertain and earn the reader’s empathy. In this case, I just felt like crashing an airliner onto the whole village and adding an Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike tromping around offing perps. Oddly enough, that’s why I’m a fan of HOT FUZZ – the film took the whole “buddy-cop-in-LA” genre and dumped it headfirst in rural Worcestershire or somewhere. Hilarious. This therapy is probably a shock too far, but the lesson is not to get too comfortable or complacent. Offing a few bad guys always makes the journey a bit more interesting!
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Hi James, I’m so glad you admit to liking romance novels. What’s not to like? I don’t understand why more men don’t give them a try. I’ve told this story before, but my husband had never read a romance novel until my first book, The Silk Romance, was published. He read it on the train coming back from work and got so involved in the story he missed his stop!
That emotional punch you describe is very hard for writers to achieve – even though people still think writing romance is “easy”. I do love the idea of sending in Arnie to spice things up. That made me laugh out loud! I’m not a big fan of the middle-class chick lit village with G&Ts on the lawn, but plenty of readers love them, so each to their own. An Arnie-style rom com would be brilliant, though.
Thanks for dropping in, and for your great comment!