A Sultry Performance Available for Pre-Order! / Trends in Romance Novels: Conform or Dare to be Different?
Much like athletic attire marketed to adolescents, romance novels too, go through waves of trend. We've seen billionaire romances reign as the "it" thing, as well as stories about vampires. I hear cowboy romances have made something of a comeback, too (Which is great to hear! Though I do believe many of these stories being published today are contemporaries. I love a great, Historical Western!). As was the case with my classmates though, it isn't always clear where these trends begin--with movies, perhaps, or a bestselling novel by a well-known author? Once a trend is born however, many of us are surely tempted to follow it. As authors, we are hardly an exception to this temptation. We know there's a built-in audience for a particular niche or sub-genre, so we, or our publisher, encourages us to write this type of story. There isn't anything wrong with conforming a bit. Brilliant works can be born this way. As long as they are the stories of your heart, that is.
I've been a published author for 7 years. I consider myself to be at the early stages of my career and though I've never been personally tempted to write to a trend, I have been told on a couple of occasions by caring fellow authors that stories about dancers, like the characters in my Rabourn Theater Series, are not the hot item right now. I considered that advice a bit. But the truth is that I fell in love with this series before I started writing it! Two powerful families battling for control of the artistic world they've dreamed into life--it isn't all that unlike the world we live in, when you think about it. Except at Rabourn Theater, characters often act on the passion many of us hold inside. And though battle hard, fighting powerful adversaries and facing plenty of danger along the way, all those good-intentioned heroes and heroines will find love AND achieve their happily ever after!
There is hardly shame in writing a story based around a popular romantic trope--we are strengthened as writers when we perform outside our comfort zone, and as readers, when we sample a sub-genre we weren't planning to, and a new love is born. But if you've got a story inside you that must be told, be bold enough to take the risk to write it, even if the odds of success are stacked against you. The only "bad" story is the one that is never written at all!