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  • Paula Altenburg

On writing romance

Updated: May 30

My contemporary books contain a fairly even mix of romance and plot. I'm as interested in exploring my characters' daily lives as I am in their developing relationships.


Because I have a background in social anthropology, it's this snapshot in time that fascinates me about romance novels the most. For example, romance novels track the feminist movement. When I started reading my grandmother’s books in the 1970's, heroines were secretaries and nurses submissive to dominant heroes who held the positions of power. We then saw the rise of "bodice rippers" which showed women asserting themselves more and more, but still struggling against male domination. Today’s heroines are CEOs, doctors, pilots, (and spies!) and their romantic relationships form a more equal partnership.


Contemporary romances show glimpses into current societies. They reflect what’s relevant to the reader’s Real World. Characters use the latest technologies. They travel to popular destinations. They have LGBTQ and multi-cultural relationships.


These romantic relationships themselves are brief snapshots in time. Falling in love is the first step down a road with many twists, turns, and bumps. Women's Fiction often picks up after the first giddy rush of romance burns off and explores more complex family relationships.

I know I have a lot of writer and reader friends out there.


What's your take on contemporary romance? Why write it? Why pick one up to read?


Why would you not?

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