R for Romance
If you ask me – yeah, I know, I’m biased, but anyway – romance is one of the most versatile genres you’ll find. There are so many different subgenres:
- contemporary romance
- paranormal romance
- romantic suspense
- historical romance
- Regency romance
- inspirational romance
- Young Adult / New Adult romance
- multicultural / interracial romance
- erotic romance
Then there are all the themes that are popular among romance novels and can almost be viewed as subgenres too, e. g. medical romance, sport romance, military romance, M/M romance, second-chance romance, African-American romance. And as if that weren’t already enough choice, you can liberally borrow from other main genres and infuse your romance novel with it, especially with elements of fantasy, science-fiction and mystery.
So, what is ROMANCE? There are many definitions:
(1) : a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious (3) : a love story especially in the form of a novel. – Merriam-webster.com
The romance novel or romantic novel is a literary genre. Novels of this type of genre fiction place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." – Wikipedia
What it boils down to is that there has to be a love story as the overall theme of the book, but of course it’s not as simple as that. Many romance novels involve more than infatuation and desire, and especially romance novels with a lower ‘heat level’ deal with more than the physical attraction and tug of war between the hero and heroine. There are endless possibilities and motifs to choose from, which is probably why romance is the most successful and popular genre in literature.
According to the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and other websites, romance firmly holds the 1st place among book genres that make the most money. Total romance sales exceed one billion US Dollars. That is a lot more than 2nd place and 3rd place (horror/mystery and religious). More than 80 % of the readers of romance novels are women, but men are slowly warming to the genre too. The age group that buys the most romantic novels is 30-54 years. Interestingly, paperbacks are almost as much on demand as eBooks (32 % and 39 % of the market share).
Enough rambling… Tell me, why do you like (or not like) the romance genre? For you, what is a must in romance novels? And who’s your favourite romance novelist?