Currently working on: Just finished page proofs on FORGED OF SHADOWS, the last step before June 2010 publication
Mood: Good luck, little book! Now get out
Doesn’t everyone remember the first romance novel they discovered? Back in the day, I stumbled upon my mother’s copy of A ROSE IN WINTER by Kathleen Woodiwiss. A charming rouge, a burned-out manor house, an auction-block marriage, a winter ball, and a Beauty and the Beast twist. Oh my! After reading that, I was ruined forever. Kinda like your typical swooning historical ingenue.
I think the right first romance novel is very much like the right first kiss. You want it to be special, deep and meaningful, a memory to cherish. So, like a fairy godmother picking out a prince, I take a book recommendations very seriously, especially when I am recommending a first romance novel.
Romance novels already suffer from red-headed stepchild syndrome with some (silly!) people, but I love when I can win over a new reader. I’m always discovering new great books that I just KNOW will turn on the most hard-hearted cynic, and I also have a few gold standards that I can fall back on.
I always like to start off easy on a new romance reader. I find a contemporary romantic comedy can be a good beginner romance because:
- The contemporary settings are readily absorbed. There are no Austenian social mannerisms to maneuver around, no “och, wee lass, do ye ken mah claymore yearns fer ye?” historical diction to decipher.
- Rom-com movies often pave the way in reluctant psyches.
- The fun covers sometimes don’t even give away that it IS a romance.
Anything by Jennifer Crusie is a great “starter” because her dazzlingly delightful dialogue will win over non-believers. And it’s so convenient that she’s writing with Bob Mayer now, because you can even spring these books on unsuspecting male-type readers because — hey! — there’s a guy’s name on the cover!
For the slightly uptight, a good, corseted historical can help loosen them up. The trick with “reading” a reader who might like a historical is figuring out whether they’ll sway toward a more correct historical interpretation or if a rollicking adventure would more tickle their fancy.
But as far as tickling goes, a spicy, saucy story like Delilah Marvelle‘s are sure to please. And by pleasure, I think we all understand what I mean
Of course, there are also category romances, romantic suspense, inspirationals, straight contemporary, women’s fiction (with a strong romance)… And, of course, paranormal romance But as you know, paranormal romance isn’t for the faint of heart.
Finding a first romance novel for the people around me isn’t just a job. It’s a passion!
And how lucky I am to be able to indulge my love as a tax write-off
What’s the first romance novel you recommend to newbies? Have you ever made a romance reader for life (or — in the case of paranormal romance – afterlife)?