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MODERN romance

Novelist Fiona Harper finds that romance is far from dead

I am a romantic novelist. There. I’ve said it. But far from being embarrassed to admit it, I’m proud to stand up and say I write romantic fiction, even though people sometimes respond by asking how many I ‘churn out’ a year or when I’m going to write a ‘proper book’. Us romantic novelists get a lot of stick. Our books are called ‘fluffy’ if they’re even a little bit humorous, or ‘trashy’ if they dare to include sex, or are simply just dismissed as unimportant.

I started off my career writing for Mills & Boon, and I’ve lost count of the amount of times people asked me if there was a ‘formula’, as if, unlike any other type of fiction, you can just punch in a couple of character names, give them different jobs and new location and – voila! – out comes a well-constructed romance novel. Sometimes (usually when I was stuck and had resorted to cleaning the bathroom instead of writing), I wished it really was that easy, but unfortunately, just like any other book, writing a good romance requires a little imagination and a lot of hard work.

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