I was volunteering at the RWA Registration Booth when a woman stopped by looking for credentials for a photographer. Her name was Heidi Benson, and she was from the SF Chronicle looking to write an article about the conference. She and I got to talking, and she told me she was so impressed with the conference, and having a good old time talking to everyone at RWA. In my estimation, she seemed like she was genuinely curious about the organization and the women who are writing and working within the genre, and didn’t seem to be starting from any specific assumption about romance novels, its writers, or the genre as a whole.
Forget scones and Devonshire cream. Red meat is on the menu in the new generation of romance novels. According to fall book promotions, “the alpha male is back,” paired up this time with a “kick-butt heroine….”
…The genre couldn’t claim a 26.4 percent share of the book consumer market if it didn’t deftly reflect the times.
That vigor may be due, in part, to the member-supported Romance Writers Association, an authors’ advocacy group that cultivates talent. Regional chapters provide members with supportive communities and educational opportunities, while the annual conference offers face-to-face access to editors, agents and famous authors.
Benson’s article includes a quick examination of the subgenres in romance, and the manner in which authors market themselves online. It closes with a peek inside a workshop on writing the sex scene, and features Toni McGee Causey, CJ Lyons, and Roxanne St. Claire discussing the constructive use of a sex scene in a romance, as well as the construction of the scene itself.
Of course any media examination of romance novels will mention the sex, but this one seems a cut above, because it acknowledges the craft and the humor of the writers working that craft. The article did a better job than most I’ve read of revealing what RWA is: a whole mess of women mentoring one another in the process of creating romance fiction and potentially building a career out of that fiction.
Well played, Ms. Benson, well played.