Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maybe Romance is More Than You Thought

Today we're talking about the romance genre. Yes. Romance. Here on the lab! I'd like to welcome Liz Borino, author of Expectations, a novel from LazyDay Publishing. She has some really interesting insights about romance that I think you should read.

The Romance Genre

Contemporary Romance. Romance, Lazy Day? Really? This was my initial (internal) reaction when I asked my newly acquired publisher how they’d classify my debut novel, Expectations. I envisioned the category of literary fiction or just mainstream fiction in the vein of Michael Cunningham. When I thought of romance books, I thought of predictable plotlines and shirtless men on the covers. Don’t get me wrong, I like shirtless men with ripped abs and a happy trail as much as the next straight woman… What was I talking about? My books and the romance genre, right. I decided to do some research before I stomped my bratty writer’s foot and calmly discussed changing the genre with Lazy Day.

The Romance Writers of America define the overall romance genre as having two main elements, “A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel. An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.”

Well…yeah. Expectations and its sequel, What Money Can’t Buy, actually focus on two couples, Chris and Aiden and Matt and Carley. To say their relationships are put through trials would be an understatement. As for the optimistic ending, I believe that’s important you have as many dark themes as I do.

The Romance Genre allows for as many storylines as an author’s creativity can come up with. Looking around the RWA website, I became more and more impressed with not only the quality and variety of writing from the other authors within the genre, but the community. So now, with the impending release of What Money Can’t Buy, I’m proud to call myself a Contemporary Romance author. Now where’s my man with a six pack?

Hah! I love it, Liz! Thank you so much. I think that romance has such a stigma attached to it that many writers aren't willing to look past that stigma to see the possibilities behind that genre. I'm excited about your new book, Money Can't Buy Can't Buy!

Liz is with LazyDay, a small publisher I have talked about over on The Innocent Flower. 

So, Liz, how did you get signed with a small publisher?

I got tired of querying and getting form rejections, so I began exploring other options. As much as I liked the idea of the control of self-publishing, I felt Expectations should be put out by a publisher to give it more 'cred'. A few weeks after I made that decision, Lazy Day began following me on Twitter. From there, I queried and two months later was accepted.

Since you've been with a small publisher, do you have plans to move on eventually? Have you felt the need for an agent?

No, to the agent. If I made a move it would be to self publish. There wouldn't be so much uncertainty. Though, Lazy Day is wonderfully supportive and I don't plan to leave anytime soon, unless they get weary of my neurosis!

That's fantastic! I love my small publisher, too. It's no wonder many authors are going that route these days. Can you tell us a little bit about your first book with them?

Expectations blurb: Ourselves and our familial obligations. The struggle is personified by Chris and Matt Taylor, identical twins, who are trying to win their overbearing father’s approval and acquire their trust funds. Love, money, and desire collide as Matt and Chris decide what’s really important to them.

Can you tell us what's for you on the horizon after your second book release?

Oh wow, um, well I've already started the third book, and I'm building my PR business to help other authors and different kinds of artists promote themselves

That's great! Do you plan to keep writing in the romance genre?

Thanks! It seems my stories tend to have romantic themes to them and I intend to keep this series going as long as makes sense.

It does! Thank you so much, Liz, for guest blogging with us today. You can find Liz on her Author Site and on Facebook. Her second novel, What Money Can't Buy, will be up on Amazon soon for purchase. You can find Expecations here.

To WIN a free eBook of Expectations by Liz Borino, simply leave a comment here! We'll choose a winner and let them know by email that they've won. Thanks, everyone!


  1. It's true. I've discovered over my long life of reading that there's romance, and there's romance. I first equated the genre with Harlequin, which overall I don't much care for; but there are a lot of very "romantic" books out there. Bottom line: tell a darned good story and tell it well and you'll get your "literary" audience (that's me) to read it.
    Ann Best, Memoir Author
    Would love to win a copy of Expectations. If I don't, I'll buy it!
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

  2. Congratulations Liz. Much continued success in whatever genre you choose to write.

  3. There's romance (mills and boon) and then there's romance (caterine cookson), but there's also romance (barbara cartland) and romance (harry potter).

    Wherever you look, in whichever genre you look, there is always love and romance and, quite likely, sex. Sounds like life really.

  4. Thanks for coming by, you guys! Martin, good points. Every story I've ever written seems to have a romantic element to it. I see that as an integral part of living. :)

  5. Thank you all so much for coming by and reading. I have to say, originally, I thought my books were literary fiction. However, my publisher really doesn't represent that genre, so they found the closest romance genre.

  6. LOL - I think my opinion of romance probably was similar to yours - plotless and lust driven. Interesting to know that it really is that broad a genre though.

    Just from your short snatches about your writing it's easy to see that yours is much more than that. Best of luck! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I've heard from a few writers now who started out writing what they considered to be literary fiction and then changed their minds about it when it came time to present the book to the audience. I think it's great to be open-minded about it. In the end, if you find the audience who loves your work then your marketing approach worked as far as I'm concerned.

  8. Great post!! As a romance writer, I get the rolled eyes and such. I remember way back when I was classifying what I wrote. I thought it was women's fiction, but then realized it was romance. At first I was a little worried....heaving bosoms and Fabio look-a-likes were NOT what I wanted for my career. But I learned the genre is SO MUCH MORE than that. To the tune of billions of dollars. Romance is always present in my stories...I wouldn't have it any other way! :)

    And you cannot find a more supportive community...anyone wanna talk about Judy Mays?? If you don't know her, a month or so ago, this teacher, who wrote under a pen name, was outed for writing romance and bashed for it in her town. The romance community rose up in support and I hope she sold a million books!

  9. Good interview and it soothes some of my fears. Though there are no ripping bodices my current WIP is focused on a romantic relationship. It's nice to know the Genre is wide. Hopefully there will be room for my little book too.

  10. ElizaO- Thank you for the compliments! It really is a wider genre than people (including me) give it credit for.

    Domey- I have found a great audience for my novels, but sometimes I worry the Romance label alienates men, when I think a lot of them would like my books.

    Thank you all for your comments! Please keep them coming!

  11. Stephanie- My writing friends are incredible! They come from every genre. The way the community (and really the world) rallied around Judy Mays is a prime example of the devotion of readers.

    S.P. Bowers- Good luck with your writing career! The genre is vast and very welcoming!

    PS If any of you are on FB I'm having a release week party. I'd love to see you there!

    Thank you all again! I love the conversation coming from this!

  12. Nice post. Would love to win! kbrebes@aol.com

  13. Great post. I agree that romance gets a bad rap. It's a lot harder to write than people think, my WIP is a romance and it's taken a lot of character development to pull of thus far.

  14. K- I love the enthusiasm!
    Angela- Romance does get a bad rap, but you and I can help to fix that!

  15. Romance is a very big umbrella these days and it's a great genre to be in--the only genre not hit by the Recession. :-)

  16. Thanks for sharing. I thought I was writing fantasy, but it turned out to be romance, too:) Good luck!

  17. Congrats on the release Liz and welcome to the ranks. I've honestly never gotten less than an enthusiastic response when I say I write romance - from anyone. I'm proud of what I write and it's darn hard work. But I love the genre, readers and authors. @Stephanie said it all.

  18. I'm surprised to hear that's all it takes to write a romance novel. If that's the case, then most of my books are romance novels. Hmm, the things you learn.

  19. I must admit, I do get mixed up when it come to genre! I've often wished all would be called Fiction, and let the reader not have any pre-conceived ideas on how the book should be written. But that may just be me! I wish Liz much success an all she writes.

  20. Anne- I like that romance hasn't been hurt by the recession. No matter the economic times people need love.
    Kelly-Welcome to the confused club! I think we're a large group.
    Kat- Thanks! I've been told it's not real literature. But I know what my books are worth. I don't worry too much about the people who hate.
    Lynn- YES! One blanket term, please and thank you! But that might get overwhelming especially for people who are going to look for an agent.

    Thank you for all your comments!

  21. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm a beginning writer, and have chosen the romance genre as the place to dip my toes in, just for the reasons you mentioned - great diversity, robust market, satisfying stories.

  22. Kelly Bryson, congrats! You're the winner! Liz will email you. :)


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