I wrote this week's Publishers Weekly feature on trends in the romance category, focusing mainly on paranormal romance and urban fantasy. This was a fun one, for many reasons, but mainly because I got to interview so many wildly smart people who really and truly love what they're doing.
Readers may wonder if there's any creature that won't eventually end up in the role of leading man. The answer is yes—there's a strong consensus against zombies. “Zombies are not sexy. Romances don't feature zombies,” says Tsang, laughing. “Zombies are rotting dead flesh who eat brains. When you say vampire, you think David Boreanaz. Until David Boreanaz becomes a zombie—no way.”
And I believe that Marjorie Liu has posted the entire interview I did with her, which makes me very happy, since I only had room to use a tiny portion of her responses. Also, I didn't get to mention Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels books, which I highly recommend, so I'm doing it here.
Some things I learned:
1. These are the hardest working writers in America. The longest pub schedule seems to be 8-10 months between books. Many, many people are on tighter schedules entirely.
2. All the paranormal romance/urban fantasy editors I talked to clearly love their jobs, and, unusually, every single one recommended at least one book published by another house.
3. Let's face it–romance is probably the most ghettoized, dismissed genre around and yet it's full of smart writers and editors doing extremely interesting things, AND without romance to buoy sales the rest of publishing would probably sink like a stone. Romance readers will visit other sections of the bookstore without a blink, read tons of books a month, and yet face constant disrespect.