Oh, let us celebrate the positive press about the romance! This week, in the 22 June issue, Nora Roberts is profiled in The New Yorker – alas, the article is not available online but I’m begging for a PDF to post here as soon as possible.
As part of their “Profiles” section, Lauren Collins takes a look at the career and impact Nora Roberts has had on publishing and American fiction. From personal history to a discussion of Roberts’ online marketing chops – including appearances on AOL chat rooms, blogs like this here site, and her own bulletin board, ADWOFF – Collins’ profile is very, very well done, and of a well-deserving subject, too.
In the New Yorker podcast interview with Lauren Collins,, the host, Curtis Fox, discusses his own embarrassment at checking out a Nora Roberts novel in preparation for the interview, and then goes on to ask about romance – why is it dismissed and ignored, and what did Collins learn about the genre as part of the article research. Collins namechecks us as the source for the basic summary of romance novels, which was written by Candy: “Boy meets girl. Holy crap, shit happens! Eventually, the boy gets the girl back. They live Happily Ever After.”
Nora herself also appears as part of the interview.
I have to say, the degree of preparation that Collins revealed in her own writing was considerable: she references the plot and characters of several novels from Nora’s career, as well as narrative habits and character attributes that are unique to Roberts’ protagonists. When I did the phone interview with Collins, she asked me what I thought were some of Nora’s trademarks in her writing. I said without a doubt the triple infinitive – “to taste, to grab, to experience” for example – and she said, “Oh, yeah, I noticed that one, too.” Collins did her homework.
And the result from my perspective is an article that balances very well. Anyone curious about Roberts has plenty to read about while someone who may be derisive of the idea that a romance novelist appears in The New Yorker is served up some steamingly impressive stats to possibly cause them to rethink their attitude about romance and the women who write it. She quotes me as well, and the start of the article mentions how many Nora Roberts scenes were referenced in this thread when I asked about your favorite pieces of dialogue from romance.
If I had to pick a favorite piece of this article, I think it might be this one:
Listening to the give-and-take between Roberts and her fans is like eavesdropping on the collective unconscious of American women.
In all, well played. The issue is on newsstands now, or you can buy digital access for the single issue. If I can get permission to include it, I’ll post it.