Monday, December 6, 2010

The Great Genre Search with Guest Blogger Larriane Wills

Win a copy of The Eternal Search and meet author Larriane Wills today at the Book Boost.

Here's what she had to say about the romance genre...

What’s a romance?

As a multi-genre, cross-genre writer one of the first things I had to learn when I entered the publishing field was that what I considered a ‘romance’ was not necessarily what publishers considered a romance. To me it’s a story wherein a man meets a woman, there is or isn’t instant attraction, but they do fall in love and overcome some obstacles to reach happy ever after.

That does not always qualify a story for the romance genre with—and I clarify this—some publishers. Confused? Well, so was I when I started cruising the publishers’ requirements for submitting.

The following, however, is the definition by Romance Writers of America: a romance consists of two basic elements, a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending, at all heat levels.

Then they go into sub-genres:

contemporary—anything after 1945, either series or single title
historical—anything before 1945
inspirational—novels with religious or spiritual beliefs with the main part of the relationship
paranormal--the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot.
regency--the majority of the story is set against the Regency period of the British Empire.
suspense-- suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
young adult romance--a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.

While searching through publishers’ sites I ran into other requirements like the man and woman had to meet in the very first chapter. Oops, that left some of mine out. Some specified a percentage of the story that had to be devoted to the love aspect. To me it doesn’t matter if in part of the book, he has to go off or if there are chapters that revolve just around her. Then there were those that didn’t want suspense, some didn’t want westerns, and others in no way wanted science fiction.

Hey, they’re all romances. To me, many traditional westerns, though called westerns to attract a male audience, were formula romances. Case in point, Louis L’Amour one of the most popular western authors often had the male lead meeting the female in the first chapter, instantly being attracted, fight adversity and ended happily. Hondo, Key-lock Man, Flint and Fallon to name a few. And yes, Louis was an influence over my western Romances.

Why do I call them romances instead of just straight westerns? In all honesty, statistically romances sell more. Is that why I write romances? NO! I love a romance with suspense, mystery, paranormal, action, all of that so I mix up and cross genres in all manner of combinations.

What’s the answer to this dilemma of conflicting requirements? Search through the guidelines of each of the publishers you’re considering. Don’t waste your time and effort if you don’t match their criteria, thinking once they read it, they’ll realize it is a romance. Don’t stop writing, either, or mutilate your work until it fits into the box. Find the publisher that accepts what you’re writing no matter how long it takes, and that is worth the effort.

I consider nearly all of mine romances. A lot of publishers consider them borderline as far as the ‘central story’ is concerned, and you notice, on RWA’s list, they don’t have science fiction?

An example of one of my ‘outside the box’ romances, The Eternal Search, published through XOXO Publishing.

A Note from the Book Boost: Larriane, I totally agree with you. Trying to shape your work to fit a specific mold is almost never a good thing. I always believe you should write what you love and then work hard to find the right home for it. I'm glad you found a home for your book. Please tell us more!


In sending him from the future to a burnt out wasteland, they meant to kill him, in a cruel and sadistic way. Their calculations were off. Garth landed in a mountain forest only a few feet from Judith, a woman who only existed and wished for death even before the war had killed billions.

She had one emotion left, curiosity. Wanting to know who he was, where he came from, and how, she took him home. With Garth she learned to live again. When they came and took him back, they learned that revenge for an eternal knew no time limits.


With a shudder, Judith looked up as the air changed. Her skin felt as if it was crawling over the muscles beneath. She rubbed her arms, knowing what it was even if she didn’t understand what was causing it. The hair on her body caused the sensation; all of it stood on end.

Something was making a static electrical field.

A rumbling sounded like thunder, but there were no clouds in the sky. A flash lit the area, more like heat lightning than electrical, and a body fell to the ground from a distance of about twelve feet above, coming from nothingness. Her hair settled, the sound disappeared, and there were no more flashes.

Just the body.

She stared at it, and it wasn’t what she expected. But then what did one expect when a body suddenly appeared out of thin air? Aside from something abnormal--one didn’t really expect what appeared to be a perfectly normal human being to fall out of thin air.

He appeared to be a normal human male, though superior in body structure, with facial features more regular than most, but still not abnormal. There were, of course, well built, good looking men -- or had been. Obviously one male still lived who was not old and decrepit.

But where did he come from? And how--in this world, before or now--did the technology exist to drop him there?

His chest rose and fell, but his breathing was erratic. The trip, wherever it had been from, did not appear to have been an easy one.

She hesitated briefly before touching him, then shrugged. If he was contaminated, it could be a way out for her, a way to die. Rolling him over, she took his pulse, peeked under his eyelids and felt his skin. He was in shock of some kind, strengthening her theory that it hadn’t been an easy trip. He had no broken bones, no fever and no indication of infection that she could detect.

His only identification was a patch on the front of his shirt with his name, Garth, a hyphenated abbreviation that meant nothing to her and a number. The clothes were interesting, though not as interesting as the metal ring around his neck. She’d never seen the coarse material the pajama style shirt and pants were made of but only noticed it in passing. The ring drew and held her attention. Made of a cold metal, it wouldn’t move up or down more than slightly, and it was anchored in some way at the back of his neck.

The one emotion that had not died in Judith was curiosity.

Want More Larriane?

Visit her website here:
Or her blog here:

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here!

Contest time:
All those who comment and share your views or even ask questions will be eligible to win a copy of The Eternal Search. Winner selected on December 13th by the author and posted in the comments section of this blog. Check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!


Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

very nice presentation, Kerri. than you for having me. just a note to those who stop by, please add your email addy to your comment to enable me to contact you if your name is drawn.

Karen McGrath said...

It is amazing the difference in what publishers expect in romance. I thought romance was boy and girl meet, fall in love, live life and everything is cool. Boy, did I have it all wrong! LOL! Great interview Larriane. Please put me in the running for your book!


Chrissy said...

Would love a chance to be eligible for the book give away.

chrissy517 at gmail dot com.

Thank you!

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

you're both in. i may have to run down a library to announce the winner as we'll be in transit, but it's in my datebook so i don't forget. now just so i don't forget my datebook. oh, if you pop over to Tina Donahue's blog, you'll get double the chance at a free book.
that one is for one from my back list.

Tami Winbush said...

I'm hoping that some day I will be able to write a steampunk romance. I know that they are HOT right now, but since it's not something I KNOW - I'm not sure if it's something I SHOULD write.

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

Tami, if you have to force it, i'd say don't. I tried that once, just to get in what seemed to be the rave at the moment. I could but the words down, but i didn't feel them if you know what i mean. What i wrote didn't read well and i never finished it. what do the rest of you think about writing what you don't feel?

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

as our trip plans suffered a set back, i won't be internet available Mon. therefore I have to draw for this a bit early.
Tami, you're the winner. congratulations. The Eternal Search is on the way to you.