Today I went to the NYC chapter of the Romance Writer’s of America‘s May brunch. It was only my second RWA meeting since I joined, but it continued to confirm my sense of both the utility of the organization and its, to me, surprising diversity.
I think if you’re not a romance reader, it’s easy to assume the genre is a narrow space. Certainly, with this week’s sale of Harlequin, I’ve seen a lot of media coverage talking about “bodice rippers” and yet not acknowledging the massive financial chunk of the publishing industry that romance novels account for.
Historically, I’m not a romance reader. Sure, I’ve read my Georgette Heyer, and I come to romance from the heavily romance-inflected world of fanfiction (which would also explain how I’ve read a significant number of LGBTQ regency romance novels). But I’ve gone very quickly from not getting the genre to defending the genre to realizing this genre is so huge, it doesn’t need my defense.
Today’s guest speaker was Sandra Kitt who talked about everything from her interracial romance The Color of Love (set in NYC and involving a white cop and a woman of color) to a romance written as a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research hospital with a plot built around the subject of pediatric AIDS.
Erin and I know that many of our readers will be people into romance and new to us. But many of our readers will, we hope, be people who are new to romance, some of whom will have followed us into this genre because they know us from other projects or the spaces we hang about on the Internet.
So this post is for you. Romance is big. Romance is diverse. Romance isn’t formulaic, and it’s not about boundaries. Romance about how you take boundaries and play with them, twist them, and break them down.
We’re learning about the romance community as we write. And we hope, if our work is the first romance material you choose to tackle, that you’ll learn about it — and explore more of it — as you read.