I have a pretty eclectic taste in music. Oddly enough, the same can’t be said for books. I like a few genres and when I read outside those genres, I usually don’t enjoy the books I read. As a writer, I also write in only a few specific genres. Actually, I write in one genre with a few subgenres attached to it. Every book I write is a romance novel. It could be a young adult romance or a contemporary romance but mostly it’s contemporary erotic romance.
When I say that I write contemporary erotic romance that means the characters in my books have sex. For that reason, those characters are typically adults in a consensual relationship. For the most part, I’ve stuck to pretty traditional relationships for my characters, meaning a man and woman are having sex. Sure, I’ve introduced a few toys or added some element of risk for the setting, but I haven’t stepped outside that box of what’s considered typical.
My sex scenes may fall under the category of what’s expected, but I’ve certainly read plenty of authors pushing the envelope, expanding boundaries and just plain getting down and dirty. I can hear you now. Can you give us an example of what those clichés mean? Yes, I can.
Lately, I’ve noticed that polyamorous relationships are cropping up in several of the novels I read. In case you don’t know, a polyamorous relationship is one involving multiple partners. It’s the pretty way of saying a three-way or a gang bang. I know, I know, it sounds like a turnoff. If you’re an uptight person, it is a turnoff. To those of us a little more open minded, if you read a few romance novels with this plot point, you see that it works when told well. And no, the conflict doesn’t always have to revolve around the participants being jealous of one another.
I’ve also seen more and more same sex romance novels. Yes, gay romance. Some are good and some aren’t. That’s true with any book, but when they’re done well, readers can focus on the love story without getting hung up on the biology. At least, an open minded reader can. A reader who doesn’t agree with homosexuality or doesn’t care for gay romance isn’t likely to enjoy a story of this nature no matter how well written I think it is.
There’s also another trend that I have to admit falls under the “that skeeves me out” category and I like to consider myself pretty open minded in the romance novel department. I’m talking about those stepbrother romances. If you’re a romance reader, you’ve seen them. They’re everywhere with titles like Falling for My Stepbrother, I Married my Stepbrother and the not so subtle I’m Doing my Stepbrother. I don’t have a stepbrother, nor do I have any stepchildren, but I know plenty of people who do. From what I’ve seen, most stepsiblings grow up feeling and being treated like biological siblings. It’s that hint of incest that makes me uncomfortable, but these novels are popular enough to not only be sold but to become bestsellers.
Recently, I even learned about something called dino-porn. I’m not kidding. It’s real and it’s just like it sounds. The plot of the story revolves around humans and prehistoric creatures in sexual relationships. Now, that’s not my cup of tea, but it someone’s. In fact, let me just go on record now as saying the whole bestiality thing just doesn’t do it for me. Don’t read it and won’t write it.
These are just a few examples of what’s out there and before you turn your nose up at it, I’m here to tell you that people are reading it. Authors are making a living at writing these stories and some of them are making a better living than I am with my contemporary erotic romance novels.
With so much diversity in romance, it’s difficult not to be inspired to try something new. No, I’m not writing dino-porn, but I do think it’s time to grow a little as an author. I’m never going to write a student-teacher novel, but I’m thinking of trying my hand at polyamory or gay romance. There’s a market for it so why not give it a try? No, I’m not selling out or looking for a quick buck. Readers’ tastes are changing and I want to change with it. Sure, someone may read my next book and decide it’s not for them, but someone else may love it.
Music has changed with the times. What we listened to in the fifties isn’t what we listen to now though its influence can be heard. I suppose the same should be true for books. What do you say? I’m ready to write some gay romance? Who’s ready to read it? Because yes, people actually read that and so much more!