Sunday, September 9, 2012

All Romances Are Not Equal + Sweetest Taboo Giveaway!

Last week I wrote about the top three topics that seemed most taboo in YA literature. By the way, those three topics are not ones I agree should be taboo; rather, they appear to the topics that erupt in controversy from time to time. For example, Lauren Myracle’s Shine is one of those books that includes several serious subjects, such as homosexual attraction and violence. Some have called for her books to be banned, while several YA enthusiasts feel that her work should not be included in the YA genre. I suspect that because of the nature of my debut novel, Sweetest Taboo, many may say the same. In fact, one recent reviewer plainly stated, that my debut novel is not YA at all, but adult fiction (primarily because the romance in the story-line is controversial and because there are a few intimate moments in the book). Whatever the case may be, Sweetest Taboo seems to already be stirring some interesting pots!

In an attempt to gain the most exposure possible for Sweetest Taboo, I purchased a half page advertising spot in the Romance Writers of America (RWA) monthly magazine, Romance Writers Review (RWR). With plenty of lead time, I confirmed the ad’s placement in October’s RWR issue with the RWA ad department. All was fine, my payment was accepted and processed, as was my book’s ad. Two weeks prior to the October issue’s release, I received a hard copy letter in the mail from RWA. I was rather surprised to read that ‘…the RWR editor felt that the ad for Sweetest Taboo was not appropriate for the magazine.’ I’m not clear on exactly what aspect of my ad was deemed inappropriate by the editor. However, I have enough sense to conclude that the Sweetest Taboo synopsis was a bit too controversial for the neat and tidy romances RWA prefers to promote. Clearly not all romances are equal in RWA’s view, since a romance between a student and teacher is something that the editor is not willing to include in the RWR monthly magazine.
Neat, tidy and clean romances, like those that make up the bulk of ‘chick lit’ stories, are fun to read about and obviously socially acceptable. However, shouldn’t readers also be exposed to accounts of un-traditional romances, affairs that occur in our modern and more complex world, or forbidden liaisons? Don’t romance readers want to read about those relationships as well? More importantly, because an author provides an account of such romances, does that necessarily translate into the promotion and/or approval of such relationships? Kathryn Harris wrote an extraordinary book, The Kiss, about a father-daughter affair, but it was simply an account of that relationship. It was not glorified by any means and the subject matter in The Kiss was not the author’s admission of approval or promotion of such a relationship. Not all romances fit into conventional and tidy boxes, and as an avid reader of all literary genres (especially fiction!) I enjoy some controversy, some originality, and definitely some edginess in what I read. We’re not all the same, I get that, but in spite of our different tastes and opinions, we should have the opportunity to be exposed to all literature and make our own choices about what we decide to read. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I happen to think that a number of RWA members would enjoy my book…the editor clearly thinks otherwise!
What do you think? Are some romances too taboo or controversial to be promoted in the romance genre?


Molly said...

I think student/teacher romances are a bit mixed. On one hand I feel that they would be okay if the circumstances allowed it. On the other hand, things can get really really messy, and it shouldn't happen. It's one of this controversial topics! :-) I definitely would love to give Sweetest Taboo a try!

Debby said...

Most romances are OK but I do not like romances with teacher/student when one is underage.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Catherine Lee said...

There have been teacher/student romances on TV. What makes one so scandalous in a book? I think that many high school girls fantasize about a romance with a teacher. While I think it should be taboo in real life, I think it's fine in FICTION. That's why it's called FICTION.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Na said...

It depends on the chemistry. If it's love then it may be worth it. Lust is another thing, though!