History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

27 November 2009

Medieval Romance: On the Rise? Or Checking Out?

After a restful Thanksgiving Day, I spent today wandering through Barns and Noble and picked up the December issue of RT Book Reviews. One of the feature stories was written by my friend and fellow medieval writer Karin Tabke (check out page 24: Medievals---Are They In or Out?). Karin raises some interesting questions about medieval romance. This genre does not outsell the Regency time period according to Borders book buyer Sue Grimshaw, but editors at big houses (Harlequin for one) state that medievals are always in demand. They always have a place on those pie charts they show us about the stats regarding what in romance is selling (contemporaries are in the far lead).

I've been told many times "you'll never hit a list writing a medieval" and while I'd love to be a best-selling author someday, I'll always write medievals--- because I love them. I grew up reading Woodiwiss, Gellis, Beverly, Hunter, Deveraux, Garwood, Henley, and so many others---I can't imagine romance without them. I like the gritty, earthy medieval where heroines and heroes fight with each other and for their survival, or their kingdom's survival. The stakes were incredibly high and so many medieval romances mirror real-life history. Loyalty, love, betrayal, those years between 800 and 1500 have it all. Not that the other time periods don't---I love a good Regency or Western as much as anyone. I'm even working on a couple, but I will always have those days where I gotta "go medieval" at the keyboard.

Next week, my new release "Awakening His Lady" hits the electronic bookshelf (AHL is a novella published by Harlequin Historical UNDONE) and it's a medieval set in the 13th century. It won't be easy for medieval fans to find, but it's out there. You order it at: http://ebooks.eharlequin.com/B377409D-968B-4CA5-8B00-72DFF78B8D5A/10/126/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=E2FDB2DF-7179-4BD0-B1D1-AAD1ADBDAE10 or just go to Amazon.com.

And hey, congrats to Lauren Willig, for a great review in RT (4 and a half stars!) for "The Betrayal of the Blood Lily"!

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Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Great, interesting post, Kathrynn. While I love writing and reading about the Regency/Napoleonic era (and at least at present have no desire to write about a different era), I've always loved medievals. My undergrad work was on late fifteenth century aristocratic culture in Britain (because at the time I was writing a never published fantasy series set in an alternative history 15th century Britain).

Congrats on the well-deserved great review, Lauren! Except it's like dangling candy in front of small children to have a review of a book we can't read until January...

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I like the gritty, earthy medieval where heroines and heroes fight with each other and for their survival, or their kingdom's survival. The stakes were incredibly high and so many medieval romances mirror real-life history. Loyalty, love, betrayal, those years between 800 and 1500 have it all."

Love this quote Kathrynn - it should sell the medieval period to anyone!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Leslie Carroll said...

Congratulations, Kathrynn -- and Lauren! And happy Thanksgiving to all!

I've always loved Medieval-set romances too, ever since I read the tales of Robin Hood and all the incarnations of the Camelot legends, from Chretien de Troyes to Tennyson to White, when I was growing up. I even adapted Sir Walter Scott's IVANHOE for the stage, because I was so struck by the way the relationships had so many layers, primarily because of the societal and historical constraints of the times. "Misadventuresofmoppet" just nailed all the reasons, too!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Lynna Banning said...

A thought-provoking post, Kathrynn; I'm happy to know that you're a closet medieval writer, too. Please tell me how a non-computer-savvy reader can get hold of your Undone...

11:54 AM  
Blogger Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Hi Ladies!

Great post, Kathrynn. I agree heartily with misadventuresof moppet: that's a wowser quote. Those years between 800 and 1500 were amazing, weren't they?

Karin's article was also amazing. She did a splendid job and I was honored when she asked me share my own views on medievals and the industry. There are lots of readers loving medievals even if the current trends are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Medievals might not be the present flavor-of-the-day, but the genre has staying power, however thin the market slice might be at certain times. Medieval readers - and those of us writing them - are incredibly passionate and dedicated. I'm sure the genre will always be around.

It was lovely to see you highlight Karin's super article. Best of luck with the new release.

Go medievals!

12:22 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Lynna, I put the URL for Harlequin UNDONE in the text of the post. The eBook is also listed on Amazon!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thank you, Sue-Ellen, for posting! I aspsire to your backlist! 14 (plus?) wonderful medievals! Keep 'em coming!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Come to think of it, Leslie, IVANHOE, Camelot, Robin Hood et al...they had a profound effect on my early reading preferences, too...and they stuck!

Tracey, I am always amazed with the hsitorical backgrounds of the Hoydens. Undergrad work on 15th century aristrocratic culture in Britain? Wow!!! I think I was struggling through Plant Science 101 and Small Tractor Engines (no kidding--it was a Ag School)!

1:51 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thank you Misadventuresofmoppet, for the kind words. ;-)

The RT article honed in on 800-1500 as the medieval period, and I thought it captured all things middle ages and more, quite nicely.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Lauren Willig said...

Thanks, Kathrynn! I'm so glad you're writing medievals. Like Tracy and Leslie, I grew up on those, too. I read "The Wolf and the Dove" long before I encountered a Regency, even though the latter is what I write now. It's such a rich period, with the Avignon papacy, Petrarch penning his sonnets, Lollardy in England, outlaws, capricious monarchs, papal infighting....

2:48 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well publishers must believe in them (and that you can hit lists with them too!). My friend Monica McCarty's new series is set in the days of Robert the Bruce. Doesn't get much more medieval than that IMO.

8:43 AM  

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