Wendy the Super Librarian’s post over at Heroes and Heartbreakers is the latest in this almost two month long blog discussion about the sub-genre. For a quick and dirty hop through the chain of posts…
Courtney Milan’s discussion of digital strategy in Historical Romance led to Jane at Dear Author’s post declaring the sub-genre ought to die, while at the same time Lynn at All About Romance lamented the decline of historical romance, both of which were then picked up by myself, Lauren Willig at History Hoydens, Pamela of Bad Ass Romance, 2013 Golden Heart nominee Piper Huguley at the GH Firebirds, Diane Gaston, Carolyn Jewel, and Susanna Fraser at Risky Regencies.
Forgive me if I’ve forgotten any other blogs!
In the flurry of excitement aroused by these posts, I couldn’t help but notice the slightly chilly temperature and the silence from many corners. Jane’s post was abrasive and brash, yes, and it did draw blood–whether intentional or unintentional–which accounts for this adverse reaction. Yet, the reaction disappointed and exasperated me because some of the push-back held a hint of…fear? Fear, perhaps, that if more slots opened for non-Regency historicals, there would be less slots for the Regency romance writers still striving for traditional publication. Which is rather strange to believe since outside of Harlequin Historical, all of the single-title romance imprints have no set number of slots set aside for certain types of historical romance (based on what I’ve heard on the HQN podcasts, HH releases six books each month, four of which are Regency, one of which rotates between Westerns and Medievals, and the last reserved for anything else).
As many, many, many of us have stated in blogs and in comments, no one hates the Regency setting and no one wants to banish the setting from historical romance (a common response to the Dear Author post was, to paraphrase, “you’ll have to pry my Regencies from my cold, dead hands!”). As readers, we simply want a variety of choice when we browse through bookstores and online retailers, and for authors, we don’t want doors slammed in our faces for reasons other than the quality of the writing. If anything, the bright side we should be looking at is that these vigorous discussions may have made editors take a second look at historical romance (since it’s been taken a bit for granted with the Ooh! Shiny! of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and now New Adult and erotic romance *g*) and remember it’s the backbone of the entire genre. Aaaand that it ought to be nurtured not left to tend for itself!
I apologize if my contribution to this discussion has stepped on any toes! IMO, we’re all here for the love of historical romance, as writers, as readers, as agents, as editors, and everything in between, since to me, the sub-genre is only as strong as its parts.