There’s a temptation to revert to cliché when discussing pulp romance. Harlequin Superromance author Vicki Essex says this makes writers of the genre cringe.
“‘Bodice-rippers.’ We hate that term! It’s a throwback from the ’70s and ’80s, when historicals were the big thing,” she says. “But today, romance—and contemporary romance especially—isn’t like that. There are so many genres and sub-genres.”
Essex is part of a new generation of young, smart, romance writers who are using the medium to tell compelling, well-written stories that just happen to feature boy-meets-girl scenarios with fleshly pursuits. She stresses that these books are hardly recycled, drop-in-the-detail plot scenarios.
“Another thing people hate is the idea that there are formulas in romance writing,” she says. “If you have to use an ‘F’ word, use ‘framework.’ All stories use a framework.”