Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where the Hell is that Pendulum?

A friend of mine asked to borrow some books the other day. This friend has two young kids and she just wants something to read in the five minutes at night before she passes out cold. She belonged to a book club and just found the selections too much and too depressing at this point in her life. Which I totally agree with - considering I can't watch the news without bursting into tears, the last thing I need is the five minutes before I pass out at night to be filled with angst. Book club - I'll see you in a few years.

So, anyway, I said no problem to my friend and consulted my bookshelf. Now, I've been reading historical and paranormal romance -- not her bag. I've got some great Elizabeth Berg books and of course the incomparable Alice Hoffman. So, I grabbed those. But I knew that she called me because she wanted top shelf romance. I am, after all, a romance writer. And I realized there is a giant hole in the genre right now. Single-title, contemporary romance. Romance/women's fiction. Juicy, meaty, fun and satisfying. No vampires, no spymasters, no raunchy sex. There's Jenny, SEP and of course, Nora. But Jenny is writing romantic suspense that I'm not loving and SEP writes maybe a book a year. And, frankly, I haven't enjoyed a Nora book in a long time. Even one of my favorite "chick-lit" authors - Eileen Rendahl is coming out with romantic suspense. (But I loaned my friend Do Me, Do My Roots.)

I know I need to check out Susan Mallery, but Debbie Macomber doesn't do it for me, and who else is out there right now - lighting things up?

The pendulum has swung so so far to subgenre books that it's a waste-land in the other direction. Which, frankly has got to mean any moment now the pendulum will start it's long slow creep back to hearth/home contemporary style. I hope so, anyway. I really do.

And not just because I have this great idea for a book....

9 comments:

Sinead M said...

This seems to be the way with publishing. Like chit lit five years ago, the market seems flooded with paranormal and erotica.
The market is ready for something new. A great contemporary romance would turn the market around.
Molly, start writing..

Maureen McGowan said...

chit lit? Sinead....

Maureen McGowan said...

But I really agree that the pendulum is poised to swing. What those books will look like? I don't know. But there has got to be some middle ground between vampires and erotica and inspirational stuff where the door is kept closed (of more likely doesn't even open.)

I agree with Sinead. Start writing. (You're allowed to finish making that tiny human being inside you, first.)

Sinead M said...

Oooops... I wasn't referring to cute regencies.. Chick lit..

Maureen's right, I would love to read a great, totally absorbing contemp, or a great chick lit.

I'm ready.

Maureen McGowan said...

On the subject of great chick lit...

We have a guest blogger on DWT tomorrow... Jess Riley, whose debut novel, DRIVING SIDEWAYS comes out today. (at least I think it's today. Will confirm before tomorrow's blog.)

Molly O'Keefe said...

I don't know what those books will look like either - but I think that's part of the fun of it. I think it will come back without some of the silliness that was so prevelant in romantic comedies before the great death of the subgenre and we'll see this perfect hybrid of funny and real and romantic. That's my hope.

Kristin said...

What I want is for the market to turn in my direction...paranormal suspense with a smidge of romance. Where is the female Dean Koontz? I think there is always this emphasis on adding more sex or more romance to an already intriguing story. Sometimes I want the emphasis to be on the suspense part. You know, 80% suspense and 20% romance.

I think you are right, though. There is a need for straight contemporary books of any kind. No more paranormal...enough with the werewolves and vampires and selkies and whatnot. Or maybe just LESS of the paranormal in it. There doesn't need to be a fairy on every corner or a were-tiger or what have you.

Kimber Chin said...

Well, I like sex
so I'm not moaning
(pun not intended
but thinking myself quite clever
for it anyway)
about the amount of sex in books.

And if I want "different",
I tend to look at eBook for that.

What happened to The Billionaire's Organic Farmer?
Is it still in the hopper?

Maureen McGowan said...

Kimber! Good to hear from you.

The gorgeous cover with the woman in the red dress and the hot guy dancing is the one Molly was jokingly calling The Billionaire's Organic Farmer. You'll have to wait until August...

But it's awesome. Wraps up the overall story of the Mitchells and their parents. Heart wrenching stuff.

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