Everyone’s seen the bodice-ripping displays at the drugstore with their windswept women and waxed-chested men. Many of us have tossed one of these fun and flirty reads into our shopping bags, beach bags, or suitcases, or read them in the bathtub.
Let’s take a minute to talk about romance.
Romance novels are a billion-dollar industry, making up a third of all fiction sales. A third! Let that sink in for a second. And if you walk by a display of romance novels, you’ll see one thing every single time: historical fiction. Cowboys, dukes, and highlanders galore.
So what? (I’m so glad you asked!)
Romance novels have been on my radar for quite some time now, because if they make up a significant portion of the 34% of the fiction market (and they do), that means that not only are people interested in history, but also, they are learning history from these novels. Think about it. How much history do you remember from school? How much do you remember from reading a novel like The Other Boleyn Girl or a romance novel about Scotland?
If people are learning history from novels, it occurs to me that the history in them should be reliable – at least as much as possible without ruining what works for these novels in the first place (that is, the racy plots and fantasy element).
So, what I’ve been cooking up over the past six weeks or so is ways to help historical novelists (and filmmakers, and graphic novelists) get easy access to history. I’m doing this through offering resources, coaching, and a new little booklet I’m calling Six Steps to Better Historical Fiction, free for anyone on my mailing list.
I’ve always been devoted to helping people learn history in a fun and friendly way, so I think real history and romance is a match made in heaven. I’m starting a #RomanceRevolution here, and will be building as I go. So, stay tuned! If we can make better historical fiction, I truly believe we’ll be making a better world, one racy moment at a time.