Romance vs. romance
A few weeks ago, the New York Times announced that author Sylvia Day is getting an eight-figure advance for her next two novels. In Publisher’s Marketplace terms, that’s a major deal on steroids. And though I’m thrilled to see this kind of cash go to a female author in the romance genre, I kind of wish it had gone for books that are not quite so…racy.
Did I say “kind of”?
Okay, so I really, really wish it hadn’t.
Yes, I know books like Day’s sell, and yes, I’ve bought more than a few myself. But I’m not the only one who thinks they’re more erotica than straight-up romance, and besides, aren’t we about done with this literary equivalent of the sexual revolution? Because I sure am.
Before you go calling me a prude, I’ll just say for the record that I read all kinds of romance, including the racier, 50 shadier kinds. I like everything — from Jane Austen to Diana Gabaldon to J.R. Ward. I don’t mind nudity or cussing or even a little well-placed freak in my stories. I’m about as far away from a prude as you can get.
Sex on the page, no matter how hot, does not a romance make. I want my characters to feel something beyond whips and clamps, to grow more than beyond their own sexual hang-ups. I want pounding hearts and longing looks and pages and pages of build up to an amazing first kiss culminating in a, yes, sexy romp under the sheets. But above all I want straight-up romance, the good, old fashioned kind.
And I want those who write it to get a major deal on steroids, too.