Inevitably whenever I tell someone that I write romance 7 out of 10 times their initial response is, “Oh, like Danielle Steele?” And as I open my mouth to (as politely as possible) tell them “no, not like Danielle Steele,” they proceed to tell me how much they love Danielle Steele’s books.
First off let me say that this is in no way a blog post bashing Ms. Steele. I love her work and have read many of her books over the years. Nope, this is a blog post to define the literary term of romance.
See, there are several factors that must be in place for a book to be considered a romance. One of which is a monogamous relationship between the hero and the heroine. No adulterous affairs, kissing every guy she comes across, or sleeping around. And he same thing goes for him. What about the menage and other various forms of the genre that have been cropping up lately? Despite their popularity do you really think M/M/F or F/F/M or any such other combination is romantic? Sexy, for sure. But romantic… not so much.
Another defining factor of a romance is a happy or satisfying ending. The last bit came in with the wake of time travel, angel, and other paranormal stories in which the hero and heroine might not be able to be together at the end of the book, but somehow their souls would find each other in a different world/time/dimension. Hence a satisfying ending.
In a romance, the story is about two people falling in love. What’s going on around them defines what kind of romance. If there’s a murder, it might be a romantic suspense. If there’s a crazy aunt and a heroine who works part time as a rodeo clown, you probably have a romantic comedy. See what I mean? The list goes on and on, but the main focus in the book is the romance.
So the next time a writer tells you they write romance remember–Danielle Steele writes women’s fiction. Amie Louellen writes romance.