“Are you ever going to write anything besides romance?”
I get that question a lot – possibly because I’ve been writing romance for a while now – under three pen names, no less: Jayne Ann Krentz for contemporaries, Amanda Quick for historicals and Jayne Castle for futuristics. The short answer is, no. I love writing in the romance genre and I’ve still got lots and lots of stories to tell that fit within it.
The longer answer, of course, is that I will move on if and when I discover that I cannot write what I want to write within the romance field. But that day has not arrived and I honestly don’t think it ever will. The reason? Romance is the deepest, and most unlimited of all the fiction genres. What’s more, unlike some genres, it is not static or hidebound. It is always in the process of reinventing itself. At the edges it is very fluid; constantly changing; constantly engaged in experimentation. Successful experiments within romance frequently spill over into the other genres and exert a strong influence.
There is room in romance for many different kinds of stories and settings. There is space for everything from dark, edgy romantic thrillers to light, entertaining who-done-its. From vampires and werewolves to novels of contemporary small town community relationships. From sweeping historical sagas to Regency comedy-of-manners. From stories that deal with post traumatic stress disorder to stories about long-kept family secrets. There is Young Adult romance. And New Adult romance. There is gay romance. There is over-the-top erotica and there is sweet, wholesome, religion-infused romance. There are stories set in the past. Stories set in the present. Stories set in the future. Stories set in other dimensions.
Know what else I love about this genre? The readers. The audience for romance novels is very open-minded; always willing to try something new. What is more, romance readers read widely outside the genre. That is because they simply love to read. They buy a LOT of books – all kinds of books.
Start a conversation with a romance reader and you will soon find yourself discussing the latest thriller at the top of the bestseller lists or the newest literary book club selections. You’ll talk about the blockbuster novel that everyone is reading and that little gem of a book that defies any label, the one almost no one else has heard about. But you’ll always come back to the new books in the romance genre because the appeal is so enduring; so fundamental.
At its core, romance derives its power from the ancient heroic traditions, not modern angst. In the romance novel values and virtues such as courage, honor, determination, optimism and a belief in the healing power of love truly matter. They are crucial to the story – and important to the reader.
Really, when I think about it, I can’t imagine writing in any other genre.
If you are looking for another romance author to read, I’d like to recommend Cat Devon and her recent book SLEEPING WITH THE ENTITY, a wonderfully warm, humorous take on the paranormal romance story. All I will say is that it involves vampires and red velvet cupcakes. (*Cat Devon provided a short R-A-R M note, too. You can find it here.)
Jayne is generously donating a signed copy of Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick as a giveaway (U.S. only, apologies to international readers.) To enter, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both. (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.) Comment entries must be posted by midnight EST Aug 2 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.
The author of over 50 New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense, often with a psychic and paranormal twist, in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 35 million copies of her books in print.
When she’s not writing, Jayne can be found on Facebook posting messages to her readers. Read more about Jayne and her books at jayneannkrentz.com
(Photo credit Marc Von Borstel)