We asked Anna to come and blog about the genre of Romance and why she thinks it is so popular! So enjoy Anna's post and feel free to comment your views as well!
Hello, Aussie romance fans! Hello, Angus and Robertson Edwardstown!
Thank you so much for your ongoing and enthusiastic support for romance fiction, especially locally produced romance fiction!
My name is Anna Campbell. I’m an Aussie from Queensland and I write historical romance for Avon in America and HarperCollins Australia.
I was thinking the other day how far above our weight Aussie romance writers punch on the world stage. Throw in the fabulous New Zealanders like Nalini Singh, and the local contingent become a powerful force in the huge international romance market. People here are often astonished when I tell them how big romance is. I only have figures for America, but last year, romance was the bestselling genre there and sold a massive US$1.36 billion (figures courtesy of Romance Writers of America).
Occasionally I meet a misguided person who claims not to like romance (they have no idea what fun they’re missing!) and that puzzles me because it’s like saying you dislike food. The range of what is available in romance now is astonishing. There’s everything from a sheikh or a surgeon in a Mills and Boon through to vampires and shapeshifters in paranormal and urban fantasy, many of which are as hard-hitting as anything in the mainstream crime or suspense genres. Personally I like a duke or an earl – I’m just that kinda girl! There’s something magical about being swept away into the complex, glamorous world of historical romance.
This misguided person sometimes tries to tell me that romance is anti-feminist. This surprises me as romance is a multi-billion dollar industry largely run by women for women consumers and with a vast majority of women as the producers. That makes a feminist statement on its own, I would think! Just as the role of women has changed in the world, the role of the heroine has changed in romance – although as a long-term reader, the doormat heroine often referenced in romances of yesteryear has always struck me as a bit of a myth. I can’t think of a good romance novel where the heroine doesn’t undertake a journey to self-fulfilment in some way or other.
Romance doesn’t have the profile in Australia that it does in America although a number of visionary bookshops including Angus and Robertson at Edwardstown are doing their best to change that.
Last week in particular, I was thinking about how we are raising the profile of Aussie romance writers. In next month’s Australian Women’s Weekly, there’s a big article by Tony Squires about romance writing in this country. Tony has interviewed a crowd of Australian writers, including me, about their work and career and the state of romance here. Then last week, I felt like a movie star when the Women’s Weekly flew me to Melbourne for a photo shoot including a professional stylist and make-up artist. I spent the day in a very chichi environment in North Fitzroy with local stars Stephanie Laurens and Keri Arthur, both of whom are multiple New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. The magazine will be out later in October so grab a copy to find out more about the Australian women who are making their mark in the international book market.
While I was there, I started to think about the many writers who could have also been included in the shoot (although I was very glad they picked me!). Australia is home to a plethora of wonderful Harlequin Mills and Boon authors who sell books in the millions. There are too many to list here, but some of my favourite local M&B writers include Annie West, Sharon Archer, Sarah Mayberry, Marion Lennox, Amy Andrews, Bronwyn Jameson, Trish Morey (a South Australian!) and Kelly Hunter. I could go on and on!
Then there are our fabulous historical writers! Stephanie Laurens has become a worldwide superstar with her passionate, exciting stories set in Regency England. Two more locals who write brilliant historical romance are Christine Wells and Anne Gracie. Or South Australian historical writer Elizabeth Rolls. Or for something a bit off the beaten track, Western Australian author Christina Phillips has made a splash with her debut novel set in Roman Britain, FORBIDDEN.
When it comes to the increasingly popular genre of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, try Tracey O’Hara or Erica Hayes or Denise Rossetti. If you fancy some romantic suspense, pick up books by local stars Bronwyn Parry or Helene Young. For feel-good contemporary romance, Kandy Shepherd writes lovely stories featuring eccentric pets along with her charming heroes and heroines.
Always a voracious reader, Anna Campbell decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. Once she discovered the wonderful world of romance novels, she knew exactly what she wanted to write. Her first historical romance for Avon was the multi-award winning CLAIMING THE COURTESAN.
The variety of what Aussie authors are producing is mind-boggling. The go-to place for information about local authors is the Romance Writers of Australia website. Here’s a link to the author page: http://www.romanceaustralia.com/authors.html
So go on – buy Australian! Romance, that is!
Some relevant websites:
Anna Campbell www.annacampbell.info
Stephanie Laurens www.stephanielaurens.com
Keri Arthur www.keriarthur.com
Elizabeth Rolls www.elizabethrolls.com
Christine Wells www.christine-wells.com
Annie West www.annie-west.com
Sharon Archer www.sharon-archer.com
Christina Phillips www.christinaphillips.com
Australian Romance Readers Association http://www.australianromancereaders.com.au/
South Australian Romance Authors http://saromanceauthors.weebly.com/
Romance Writers of Australia http://www.romanceaustralia.com/index.html
Romance Writers of America http://www.rwanational.org/