Issues in Romance–Thoughts?

Contrary to the opinions of some, romance novels aren’t all the same. There are many different subgenres for a start, and many different authors with many different writing styles within each sub genre. My chosen specialty is contemporary romance and within that subgenre there is something to please every reader, from those who enjoy light sweet comedies to darkly erotic journeys. I’ve written sweet stories and very, very sexy stories. I’ve also written books that are issue driven.

By now you’ve all probably heard about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a preventative double mastectomy because she carried a mutation on the BCRA 1 gene. My menage a trois (MMF) novel Erica’s Choice had the heroine dealing with this same gene mutation and the resultant high-percentage threat of contracting cancer. I never set out to write about that issue, and if I’d known where the book would take me I probably would have chickened out and not written it that way! But when I sat down to put pen to paper this whole breast cancer issue just came out. Once I’d started down that road, I couldn’t stop.

It took a long time for me to get that book as right as I could, and when it was accepted for publication I spent the subsequent months believing not many people would buy it because of the subject matter it dealt with. I was pleasantly surprised to find the book was much better received than I thought, and that the BCRA gene mutation storyline hasn’t turned readers off (as far as I’m aware). It makes me wonder if romance novels are the ‘pure escapism’ many claim they are, or if many readers are happy to explore real and complex problems, problems that real people face in life, along with their ‘escapist’ romance.

So what do you think? Do you believe romance should be pure fluffy escapism or do you like to read books that take on gritty issues?

Erica’s Choice:

High school teacher Erica Shannon isn’t a one-night stand kind of girl. Pair that with an aversion to relationships, and she’s resigned toErica'sChoiceCover no love life at all. Then one horrifying discovery propels her off her take-no-risks path, and into the arms of the stars of her midnight fantasies.

When his friend and fellow firefighter threatens to make a move on Erica, Corey figures he’d better get over the notion that she’s way out of his league—fast—before he has to get in line.

Griff never thought he’d get the chance to introduce Corey to the combustible delights of multi-partner play, until he senses the sheer volume of sexual energy surging beneath Erica’s repressed exterior.

A blazing night of passion has unexpected consequences. Corey is surprised to discover the woman of his dreams, and that he doesn’t mind sharing her—or himself—with Griff. But Griff finds his heart pulled down a romantic path he vowed he’d never venture again.

Erica? She’s got a problem on her hands. Hold two, hardwired-to-rescue firemen at arm’s length—and away from her heart—until she’s fought and won a battle that may well destroy her.

You can read an excerpt from the first chapter at my website, where you’ll also find buy links (or go straight to Amazon or Samhain).



4 Responses to “Issues in Romance–Thoughts?”

  1. Personally, I like fluffy escapism. A real gritty issue in the book is fine, as long as it’s got a happy resolution. But I’m probably in the minority here. 🙂

  2. I prefer fluffy escapism, wrapped in reality. If a character is dealing with the after effects of a personal tragedy, shortcoming or grief, I want her/his partner(s)-to-be to experience this aspect of the relationship with her/him.

    I like “older” characters (30 and up) and emotional and life baggage, children divorce and loss are part of life. To ignore each character’s past, is detrimental to the story and character development.

    But, I will not likely read a story with gratuitous violence in it. I want romance and laughter in my entertainment. And, lots of strong, sweaty, wise-cracking, dirty talking, sexy alpha heroes who LOVE curvy, intelligent, smart-alecky, strong women.

    • Sami Lee Says:

      “lots of strong, sweaty, wise-cracking, dirty talking, sexy alpha heroes” Well, MIchelle, that sounds like the recipe for a great time!

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