Pulp Romance: It's Way More Than Fabio; First Coast Authors Say the Genre Is Now in the Realm of Mainstream Women's Literature
Middleton, Diana, The Florida Times Union
Byline: DIANA MIDDLETON
When imagining the romance paperbacks lined up at the grocery store, an image of a half naked Fabio wrapped around a nubile female may spring to mind. Or perhaps a batch of lurid titles pop out, such as The Italian Prince's Pregnant Bride or The Rich Man's Virgin, both available this month.
Snap out of it, says Merrilee Whren, a rabid romance reader - and author of several romance novels herself. The Amelia Island resident professionally writes inspirational romances for Steeple Hill, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises. Her books' covers include flowers and waterfalls, not Fabio.
"There's an image that romance has gotten," she said. "But that's not what romance really is."
While romances are the pounding heart of the paperback industry, romance publishers are pumping sales by flooding the marketplace with new titles and new genres. And the romance genre's sales are steaming: Torstar, the parent company for Harlequin Enterprises, the genre's largest publisher, saw second-quarter revenue increase $6.7 million, with its book publishing division seeing positive growth. Net income for the company shot up 17.6 percent for the second quarter, as well. Private publishers, such as Medallion, don't report sales figures, but all evidence points to a humming industry that accounted for 52 percent of paperbacks sold in 2006.
The First Coast is host to dozens of published romance authors, whose books have sold thousands of copies and won awards, including at least one local author who won a RITA award (the industry's equivalent of an Oscar or a Pulitzer). It's a cozy, intimate community with close interaction between authors and their readers, and in some cases, the fastest way for fledgling writers to get legitimately published.
There's a certain cheekiness to …
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Publication information: Article title: Pulp Romance: It's Way More Than Fabio; First Coast Authors Say the Genre Is Now in the Realm of Mainstream Women's Literature. Contributors: Middleton, Diana - Author. Newspaper title: The Florida Times Union. Publication date: August 26, 2007. Page number: Not available. © 2007 The Florida Times-Union. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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