This site is for those readers and writers whose favorite books sit on the fence between two genres, those books entered into the RITA contest as historicals with a strong romantic element.
Sometimes the line between historical romance and historical fiction blurs and thankfully so. I'm not sure I would have been as avid a romance reader if I hadn't started with Georgette Heyer, Jan Cox Speas, and Mary Stewart, books heavy on plot and character, with great tension, subtle romance and intensely satisfying, albeit innocent, happily-ever-after endings.
Romance, as a genre, didn't actually come about until the 70's. Before that, romantic stories and other genres, were lumped together as fiction. I remember standing in front of the shelves in my local library reading book jackets to insure that I would find a book with enough of a love story to keep me interested. Romance as a genre has come full circle. Although the bodice ripper is still out there, romantic fiction covers a tremendous span from the steamy heat of Virginia Henley and the wise-cracking comedy of Janet Evanovich to the satisfying warmth of Marcia Willett.
A good friend of mine always makes a point of introducing me to his male friends as, "This is Jeanette Baker. She writes romance novels." Then he asks the proverbial question: "Have you ever read a romance novel?"
I know why he does it. He loves the reaction, the look on their faces that reveal their dilemma. Will she be offended if I say no? Will she think I'm strange if I say yes? Does this woman who looks like my Sunday school teacher really write those novels?
I don't know whether to put them out of their misery or keep silent and enjoy the game. The truth is, I have written those novels, the sensual kind, and I have also written the kind that aren't the least bit R-rated. It depends on the story and whether or not the plot is enhanced by a steamy scene. 25% of those who read fiction, read romance. Amen to those publishers who continue to offer readers a wide variety of romantic fiction.