Go on – admit it! You are a little bit curious about the wonderful world of historical romance.

You must have asked yourself at some point… Does a bodice really rip? Did Barbara Cartland really dictate all her historical romances to a secretary while sipping gin and cuddling Pekinese? Do modern day historical romance writers waft around in pink boas or eke out their sad, lonely little lives bent over the kitchen table while wearing fluffy slippers and a chenille dressing gown?

Three modern day historical romance writers are coming to the Willy Lit Fest to answer all your questions.

Among other things, we will discuss why we write historical romance. Famous and infamous figures who lived during the periods we write include Napoleon, Mad King George and Jane Austen. The world was in constant turmoil. England fought a bloody civil war, beheaded a king and lost the War of Independence for the United States of America.

Firstly, what is ‘romance’… and before you curl your lip, bear in mind that there is ‘romance’ in just about every book you have ever read!

According to the Romance Writers of America

Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.  A Central Love Story: The main plot centres around 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.  Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These settings and distinctions of plot create specific subgenres within romance fiction. Click here to better understand the subgenres within romance.

For those who like statistics… bear these figures in mind.

In 2014, PRINT book sales in the US ‘Romance’ accounted for 31 million sales (just behind ‘General’ fiction at 34 million sales). The next highest seller in fiction was Suspense/Thrillers at 20million (figures Bookscan via Publishers Weekly)

Top romance subgenres by format read primarily:

  • Print: romantic suspense (53%); contemporary romance (41%); historical romance (34%); erotic romance (33%); New Adult (26%); paranormal romance (19%); Young Adult romance (18%); and Christian romance (17%).
  • E-book: romantic suspense (48%); contemporary romance (44%); erotic romance (42%); historical romance (33%); paranormal romance (30%); New Adult (26%); Young Adult romance (18%); and Christian romance (14%).

So now you know, romance is a huge seller and not a genre to be lightly dismissed and neither are its writers!

Come and meet us and guess what… I don’t think we own a chenille dressing gown between us!

Alison Stuart  is a local Williamstown resident, a ‘recovering’ lawyer and a former army officer.

Sasha Cottman is a Yarraville resident, finance executive and Regency period blogger.

Beverley Eikli is a full-time writer, former journalist, airborne geophysical survey operator and safari lodge manager.

We are thrilled to be invited to talk about, dare I say it, genre fiction among this august gathering of literary notables and apart from chocolate and prizes, we can promise you something a little bit different…

So! Is your curiosity piqued?

We will be featuring in Historical Romance in the 21 Century: Beyond Barbara Cartland in the Library Auditorium on Saturday 18 June at 3.30pm .

Tickets available now and our books will be available for sale and signing after the session.

book cover - sashabook cober - beverleyalison stuart - her rebel heart
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