Don’t get me wrong, I hold great respect for romance writers, and needless to say, all writers no matter the genre–especially self-published (how many hats do we take on?) I love the passion of readers, and I also know how difficult it is to publish prolifically like many authors I’ve seen consistently pull off week after week, month after month, year after year. You (author) are SO inspiring to me! You help me to aspire to work even harder at my craft (alongside the inspiration and genius of the literary greats, but that’s another blog post).
Specifically in the romance/erotic romance genre, I’ve noticed a trend that I don’t exactly understand what the mass appeal of it is (and I can only assume it started with books featuring Fabio on the cover, and a certain number of Shades of you know which color) …
The trend is: alpha male (dominant man who knows how to get what he wants, is outspoken, confident, generally non-emotional, usually is a CEO with a billion dollars, and after much contention with his machismo inner turmoil, only melts at the knees of the woman he has conquered), and his submissive female counterpart (there’s never a female billionaire CEO, usually she isn’t that interesting, and if she isn’t completely submissive, it is made clear that she is definitely more meek in comparison to the man, made most apparently by her following his lead).
I get it. Write for your audience, right? Why change what works, especially in such a defined genre? I understand that a large number of readers of this genre read this particular genre to ESCAPE (I mean, why else is a HEA even a thing?) And that’s fine–again, I get it. Hey! I like happy endings. I also like endings that make sense, be it happy or not. I also understand that sometimes The Sound and the Fury just isn’t good airplane or bedtime reading material.
But as writers, why can’t we occasionally–if not usually–challenge ourselves and our readers by defying stereotypes in order to pave a path for new stories, characters, and tropes?
Here’s a question: am I the only one who gets wet over a sensitive, intelligent, shy, and physically imperfect (not made of muscles and/or no perfectly sculpted mountain man beard), yet cute, man? Or how about a confident, smart, headstrong, beautiful (still not physically perfect), well-read woman who has a potty mouth and enjoys a good fuck?
When I wrote Taking Wilde, my goal was to satisfy what romance/erotic romance readers expect, while also (hopefully) defying expectations and transcending what it means to escape into a world of relationships, love, work, drama, and sex (within the context of a slightly absurd premise). I wrote a novella that I would be interested in reading; I love reading about SEX, I love LOVE, and I really enjoy REAL PEOPLE.
Cara Delevigne and David Kross were my muses for the two main characters in Taking Wilde. Delevingne and Kross are hot in my opinion, but not for the most obvious reason (physicality). There’s something strong, witty, and zero-fucks-given in Delevigne that is a turn on. And what isn’t adorable about Kross? His humble and seemingly shy demeanor alone makes me melt. Oh, do tell me you’ve seen/read The Reader.
Why can’t we all try it? Something new. Who knows … maybe one of these days I’ll take on the alpha male-submissive female challenge. Perhaps I was on my way to doing so with 40-Love.