Even though the romance genre has a popular focus, the four authors in the “From Sweet to Sexy: What’s Happening in Contemporary Romance” panel asserted that it can still have life-changing value.
Jane Graves said she incorporates humor into many of her books, and after the September 11 attacks, a reader wrote to her and said that reading one of her novels was the first time she had laughed since the tragedy. “If you’re the one person, that one day, who is a hero to the person who needs the book the most, how wonderful is that?”
The panel was part of Romance Day on the PopTop stage, which hosts discussions of popular topics on the exhibit floor. Panelists in this session discussed a number of topics in contemporary romance. “I write contemporary because I’m a thoroughly modern woman,” said Lori Wilde. “I enjoy writing about small towns, the interplay with community and how that affects us in our modern lives.”
Contemporary romance generally lacks a paranormal, historical, or suspense angle, which the panelists agreed can make it challenging to write. “It really is easier to murder somebody than to write about relationships,” said Emily March. “You want the audience to root for and fall in love with your characters.”
“The emotions, to me, are even more difficult than the murderer or the stalker,” added Francis Ray. “You have to think about problems that are going to occur in the book that will test that relationship so that at the end of the book, you know that the couple will stay together no matter what.”
Other panels today featured authors of historical romance, young adult romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. Yesterday’s PopTop programming featured mystery authors, while tomorrow will cover storytelling.