07-20-2009 09:44 AM
I just returned from a romance writers' convention, where I met several of my favorite romantic suspense authors. I've always read mystery and I've always read romance (well, since my mid-twenties, anyway, and I don't think I ever worried about the distinctions between the genres.
I've been thinking about this a lot as I talk to authors about visiting this board: is this author right for Mystery, or am I poaching someone who should be over at Romantic Reads? My local book stores don't seem too sure -- I never know where to find Karen Rose's books, for example. In one store they will be in Romance and in another they will be in Mystery. Of course, the sure place to find them is in Hot New Releases!
A lot of my friends who don't read what I would call "romance," DO read romantic suspense. My sister, for instance, isn't a huge reader but she's completely addicted to Lisa Jackson.
If you look o n the thread that's titled something like "your traveling moderator returns," you'll see what sparked this question. Our featured author, Lisa Unger, writes intense and suspenseful mysteries with romance (of a kind) running through all her books. I would never think to call her books "romantic fiction," though.
Do you read both mystery and romantic suspense? How would you define the difference between the two -- and does it even matter to you, as a reader? (It matters to me because I don't want Melanie, the Romantic Reads mod, to think I'm pinching her authors!
07-20-2009 11:27 AM
07-21-2009 11:29 AM
07-23-2009 03:13 PM
There's a lot of crossover between mystery, romance and romantic suspense. I think category classification has a lot to do with the intent of the author. In a mystery novel, the mystery is the key factor even if there is a strong romance. In a romance novel, there can certainly be a mystery but the romance takes precedence. In romantic suspense, you have a romance, a mystery and possibly a thriller, all combined. But the love interest still takes precedence.
Even publishers are confused about this. I know mine has been. My two romantic mystery novels which are hopefully going to be part of a series, THE INFERNO COLLECTION and THE DROWNING POOL, were labeled by Five Star as romantic suspense and placed in the Expressions line. The novels both have a strong romantic element and relationship; however, they are first and foremost mystery novels. THE INFERNO COLLECTION is also a fast-paced thriller while THE DROWNING POOL is essentially a complex mystery. Romance readers have enjoyed these novels just as much as mystery readers, but it's important to understand differences in genre.
Does my explanation help any? Let me know.
07-23-2009 03:45 PM
07-23-2009 04:21 PM
Hi Jacqueline, I read The Drowning Pool for one of the B&N book clubs and I also read the Inferno Collection. I really liked the books and I would definitely put both of these books in the mystery category, there is a romance that develops in the first book and matures in the second but they are the real mccoy who-done-it's.
Does it bother you that it was categorized as a Romantic Suspense novel?
It probably shouldn't seeing as we avid romance readers probably keep publishing houses going.
07-23-2009 05:01 PM
07-24-2009 11:02 AM
It's always great to find out that our novels have been read and enjoyed!
I'm not all that sensitive about how my novels are classified. But I do think that the important reviewers for hardcover are more inclined to give positive reviews to mystery fiction and that means more library sales. BOOKLIST gave both my Five Star mystery novels very good reviews. So did CRIMESPREE and ROMANCE REVIEWS TODAY. The anonymous reviewer at PUBLISHERS WEEKLY was obviously a romance reviewer and became confused since the advanced review copy was labeled "romantic suspense." The upshot was that reviewer liked the romance but couldn't understand why there was so much mystery in the novel. That was problematic!
I intend to continue this romantic mystery series. I've already finished the third novel and submitted it for consideration. But I really believe it should be placed in the mystery line for the future.
My next scheduled novel for Five Star is an historical romance set in the Regency era and will be published in August 2010. That novel will truly be romantic suspense.
07-24-2009 11:18 AM
07-24-2009 11:36 AM
Jacqueline, I'm glad you're continuing the series I like the couple and the mysteries they find themselves in, I also really like the male primary character Mike. I love how he involves Kim in all aspects of his life and work.
I'll be in line to get your new book coming out.
And I'll be there in Sept. for your author visit.
07-26-2009 07:50 PM
07-26-2009 11:26 PM
07-27-2009 09:04 AM - last edited on 07-28-2009 10:40 AM by becke_davis
07-27-2009 09:58 AM - edited 07-28-2009 10:41 AM
07-28-2009 08:09 AM
It just shows how strong visual imagery is. Red and black--blood and death--always good with titles and cover art for mysteries. I asked that red be used in the cover of THE INFERNO COLLECTION and black in the cover of THE DROWNING POOL.
07-28-2009 07:34 PM
07-28-2009 08:11 PM
I would say your books lean toward suspense but they are definitely romance, too -- which I want in a book. But even when I read, say, Greg Iles or Robert Parker or even Ngaio Marsh, I like mysteries best when there's some romance. I agree about the DaVinci Code -- it wouldn't be half the book without Sophie in it.
I've always been a mystery buff, but I've also always had favorites that featured a romance mixed with the mystery: Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Dorothy Eden, Anya Seton, Susan Howatch, Velda Johnston, Evelyn Anthony, Helen MacInnes -- and yes, even Daphne DuMaurier. Jane Eyre is romantic suspense, when it comes right down to it. Even my favorite Dorothy L. Sayers book, Gaudy Night, has a strong romance subplot.
07-29-2009 09:27 AM
Thanks, Jeanne. I'm always delighted to hear that a reader and particularly a fellow author enjoyed one of my novels! Your titles are really intriguing. And I do love romantic suspense.
I have to agree with Becke that my favorite type of mystery novel is one that has a strong element of romance but a clever mystery as well. When done well, it's the most fascinating of novels, probably because there is a depth of character development along with a complex plot. All the writers that you mention, Becke, are favorites of mine from long ago.
They wrote wonderful, romantic but intelligent books. I also like humor in a mystery novel, but nothing foolish. I think readers appreciate humor even in a serious novel.
I enjoyed The DaVinci Code, even kept my hardcover copy, when I was forced to give away nearly a thousand books on downsizing from a large house to a co-op apartment last year. However, The DaVinci Code is a bit heavy on info dumping. I do agree that the romantic element is a real benefit to the novel.
Some of the readers of The Inferno Collection compared it to The DaVinci Code. Actually, I wrote my novel before D.C. It just took a long time to get a publisher.