Love’s New Thrust: Romance in the NY Post

Romance, Lauren Willig, Lady Jane’s Salon, and yours truly are featured in the NY Post today in an article titled Love’s New Thrust. Behind that thrusting title, the article itself is mostly a discussion of how romance has changed. I spent a good bit talking to the reporter, Mandy Stadtmiller, the other night, and she was definitely after an article that talks about how romance novels are not what you expect, and how they’ve grown and updated over the years to feature savvy writing and sassy heroines.

Historical romance author Maya Rodale (“The Rogue and the Rival”), who came up with the idea for a local reading series called Lady Jane’s Salon (yes, Jane as in Austen), says, “What I love about romance novels today is they’re not your grandma’s romances. Heroines have become so much sassier.”

There’s also video of Lauren Willig reading her book, Leanna Renee Hieber reading Jenna Petersen’s book, plus me and Ron Hogan talking at Lady Jane’s Salon.

[For some reason, the volume is not working at all, but it could be me.]

My favorite part, I admit, was something I was SO hoping Mandy Stadtmiller would use in her story:

So how to update the “cleavage galore, throbbing manhood and two souls joined as one”?

“The heroine’s chest might be heaving,” ventures Wendell. “But it might be because she ran five miles after kicking the ass of a terrorist.”

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Michele says:

    Great article. I especially loved the Barry Manilow bit.

  2. 2
    Rose says:

    The article is great, except for this bit from the PW editor:

    They’re the impulse buy at the grocery store that have the Fabio dude on the cover.

    Must we still have a gratuitous Fabio reference in every article about romance novels? And this from someone who’s supposed to be knowledgable about romance publishing. When was the last time any of you bought a romance with Fabio on the cover? Nathan Kamp, maybe.

    Sarah, your contribution to it was much better. I loved the heaving bosom bit, and I’m sure you had fun listing all those euphemisms. Can’t recall any saluting soldiers myself, though.

  3. 3
    lustyreader says:

    Great article, thanks for drawing our attention to it! It really is amazing how much the genre has developed in the past 20-30 years, but I also just read GH’s These Old Shades and while I recognized so many familiar and favorite tropes it was just vastly different from the $8 books I pick up at the grocery store now. I missed the lusty bits :(

  4. 4
    Carin says:

    …which describes my chosen hero, Barry Manilow, “stoking the blissful, agonizing want inside” me. (Oh, Barry, you came and you gave without taking!)

    My favorite part!

    You know, the covers may not have Fabio anymore, but they still have the mantitty, and I think that’s what “Fabio” means.

  5. 5
    Karen in Ohio says:

    “Love’s new thrust”  Snort!

  6. 6

    You are awesome. And you how familiar I am with awesomeness.

  7. 7
    Jessa Slade says:

    Hmm, something rises when people talk about heaving bosoms, and it’s not just the economy.  From now on, we shall call you Well-Played Wendell.

  8. 8
    Rebecca says:

    Sarah – If I ever get to meet you, I will be squeeing inside!

    Of the two comments at the end of the article, I really like Kar’s idea for a series (all emphasis mine):

    “I’m waiting for the more purely fetishistic ones next. “From nine to five she’s a lawyer, from five to nine she’s a purple plush squirrel. How can she find a man who understand her needs and why is [sic] that hot DA got pink fuzz on his suit sleeve?” or a new boyfrined [sic] trying to explain how corset training is the most sensual thing to his plum-shaped girlfriend. “Here’s this is an old one that I started with.”

  9. 9
    Angela says:

    I’m more offended by the fact that every article about the romance genre claims it has been “updated” and it’s not your “grandma’s anymore.” Just as with any media, the each individual romance reflects the society and social norms of the time in which it is published. We certainly don’t see anyone apologizing for the treatment of female characters in sudsers like Dynasty or Dallas or any other form of entertainment deemed over-the-top and comparable to the “bodice rippers” of the 80s. Nor, as seen by the remake of Melrose Place and the anticipation surrounding the long in-development movie adaptation of Dallas, is there any talk of “updating” or “evolving” their tone since the former tone was so “anti-feminist.”

    We really do need a strong, prominent academic group to promote the genre, because honestly, I grow weary with articles where romance readers and writers defend the genre by denigrating it.

  10. 10
    militaryspouse says:

    Nah, the “furries” who love dressing up as squirrels have already been done on “CSI”.

    Fond memories of “sexy kitty” turning out to be a guy.  Scritching and yiffing???

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