Growing up, my introduction to romance novels came via a mother who was obsessed with the historicals. You know, the kind with some half-naked version of Fabio on the cover.
or this ....
(I actually remember both of these books ... and I'm way too excited about that fact. Moving on.)
If I'm being quite frank. I did very little reading for the storylines back in those days. Most of them were relatively stock (and cheesy).
For a 13-15 year old girl -- coming of age in a pre-internet world -- those books were the closest my curious brain could get to actual porn.
The world of romance novels has drastically changed in the time since then (which, for the sake of my ego we'll pretend was only a decade ago. K? Thanks).
Yet, while the books changed, my perception of them didn't.
I'd moved on to the horror/fantasy concoctions of Stephen King and Anne Rice. Left behind were the heaving bossoms and throbbing shafts of romance novels gone by.
Forward to the day when I proudly sent my fledgling manuscript off to my betas.
"Here," I said, "read my fantasy novel."
The feedback was both exhilarating and disturbing. Most loved it to pieces, but they kept calling it a romance.
"What? Um, I don't write romance," I said.
"Yes, you do," they said.
"No, there's witches and immortal beings and reincarnation, oh my," I said.
"Yeah, but it's all about the lurve," they said. (Yes, they said lurve)
Anyway, this exchange went back and forth for a while, until I finally realized what they already knew.
I had written a romance. Paranormal romance, mind you, but a romance nonetheless.
The genre has branched off into so many different avenues that weren't there
This happen to anyone else? Not necessarily romance, per se. Maybe you meant to write a mystery and wound up with a thriller. Maybe your paranormal went all sci-fi. If so, don't fret. It doesn't matter how you get there . . . I think we all find our landing spots sooner or later.