Thursday, May 7, 2020

Will contemporary romance change in the future?

Couple kissing

I have been thinking a lot about what this world pandemic will do to the future of romance novel settings, particularly in contemporary romance. I recently saw an author pose the question of whether it will affect how other authors write their romance, and I found the various responses fascinating.

And yes, I know I've had a few articles on the topic of the pandemic recently. Bear with me, this stuff is very front of mind right now, and I've been thinking about it. I'm not going to be upset if you decide to skip a post or two.

This pandemic will change the landscape of our world. Already there has been a massive shift in our lives and what we do on a daily basis in order to stay safe, work, survive, manage. I do not know what will happen when the pandemic is over, and if things revert to normal. I do not know what that new normal will be at that point in the future. Will current habits carry forward, or will we revert to our old ways pre-pandemic?

Nine eleven

For example, pre-9/11 airport and school security were quite different from what it is now. So if you read a book pre-9/11, there would be no metal detectors, security would not be as strict, and people were allowed into departure gate lounges to wait for passengers alighting airplanes. That is no longer the case, so even if there's a light touch on writing about it in a book, most contemporary books post-9/11 would at least mention airport security. This is something that permanently changed the way we travel and live, so it needs to be included to some extent.

Many authors said that at this point, they would not include it in their books because their books are an escape, and they do not want to stress people out when reading their books. However, what will the carryover changes be? Will they be permanent? And if they are permanent, how will they be handled in a book set in contemporary times?

Rescued by the Single Dad Doc by Marion Lennox Cinderella and the Surgeon by Scarlet Wilson Second Chance With The Surgeon by Robin Gianna

Others have said that like the 9/11 example of airport security if things change fundamentally, they would need to be reflected in their books to be accurate. A particular impact I'll see would be in medical romances. How are the romances in the Harlequin Mills and Boon Medical imprint going to change? For that matter, how will something much more basic like meeting someone and dating be affected?

Or perhaps I'm overthinking the whole thing, and it won't even merit a mention unless it's part of the backstory of the hero and heroine. Maybe we fall back into the whole "romance is an escape" thing, and the pandemic is just a minor footnote over time. No one mentions SARS, or bird flu, or mad cow, or swine flu in any of their romance novels. That's just not romantic or sexy, is it? That said, one author did say that they were actively changing their current work in progress to reflect what is going on.

Computer keyboard

But from a reader's perspective, someone mentioned that like 9/11 (yes, that example again because it did fundamentally change certain things in our lives), there should be mentions of it but not have it drawn out or in too much detail. So, for example, a character might mention they lost of a family member, or that someone might have a breathing issue, or suggest something positive like beating it. I guess the main point that people kept coming back to over and over was not to overdo it. A light touch is important for authors who consider including it in their future books.

All of this speculation aside, we are still in the midst of it all. These books we are talking about are a long way out. It could be a year or two before we start to see this major world event grace the pages of a romance novel, or maybe not. Who knows? But for now, if an author is going to write about the end of the world, maybe have the world destroyed by an eruption of horned demons that invade the Earth from the depths of Hell? Or how about sexy dragon-shifter aliens? Or a series I'm particularly fond of right now which features alien dinosaurs invading Earth!

Alien spaceship

I'll be interested in knowing what you think. Do you want all of what's going on now included in future contemporary romances you'll be reading? And if so, how much to include or exclude?

As always, stay safe and take care. xoxo

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  1. Hi Deanna

    I do think that the world has changed forever, I am sure at some stage we will get back to a normal that is different from what we knew but we will cope as we have with other changes :)

    As for romance about the pandemic they have started already Kylie Scott and another author wrote a book together about it and it has just been released I didn't buy it as I have no interest in reading it especially at the moment in a few years to come maybe bit not right now. I want to be taken away to a very happy setting as well as a fabulous romance.

    Have Fun


    1. Yes, I did see that Kylie Scott and Audrey Carlan released one. The open-minded part of me wants to read it to try it out and see what it's like. The part of me that's affected by the quarantine feels physically ill just reading the blurb of a quarantine romance so it's going to be tough. I do not know if it is something I will be able to bring myself to do and the idea of forcing myself to read a book just to be open-minded seems to defeat the purpose of enjoying the reading experience.

    2. I don't feel the need to read this one or any about the quarantine at the moment maybe in the future I might but for now no :)

      Stay Safe

      Have Fun


    3. I don't think I will be reading it either. I don't think I can handle it right now. Maybe later, maybe not.