Unusual Historicals

UPDATE: I just established a Yahoo! group for everyone to share info and news about unusual historicals--from authors, booksellers and industry types to anyone who simply wants to read a little something different. Sign up via the sidebar link to the right. On the group's homepage, you'll find a NIFTY survey about your interests in historical romance! Sign up and make your voice heard!

Smart Bitch Sarah reviewed The Gladiator's Honor by Michelle Styles yesterday. Two weeks ago, I included the following sentence in my query to Harlequin: "I hope to work with a publisher that shares by enthusiasm for sexy, satisfying romances set in unusual periods and places, such as Harlequin Historical's The Gladiator's Honor and The Spanish Prize." I contacted Michelle via her website, and she had since signed on to my Unusual Historicals group. Coincidence?

Not really. The community of writers who set historical romances outside of England or Scotland are a rare lot. It's small wonder when we run into each online. However, interest among readership is growing, if any inkling can be garnered from the sudden surge in Roman romances (I can name a whole three books!!). While that means I will scrap any plans for writing a Roman romance in the future -- by the time I get around to one, small interest will have morphed into a trend -- I appreciate this tentative exploration into another time and place.

In a post I cannot find, PBW wrote about how the publishing industry stands opposite to an industry such as fashion. Haute couture thrives on risk-taking, the innovation of which moderates as the clothing filters down to the masses -- a top-down approach. With publishing, sudden reader interest in surprise hit generates trends, leaving publishers in the position to sort through slush piles in the hopes of finding a passable knock-off. Books prove that, to a certain extent, readers have an influence -- a bottom-up system.

Go. Use your influence. Seek out books from new authors about unique time periods, if that floats your boat. The same $$$ choice inspired every other reading trend, including Regencies, paranormals, chick lit, etc. Why shouldn't unusual historicals be any different?

As an aside, I finished my website last night, complete with a bio, a coming soon page, and a section on the history of Salzburg. My crit group suggested I ditch the preface in my MS, which I did, but the historian in me cringed and cried. Seeing as how my website is mine -- a business suit for my online self, as opposed to my jeans-and-a-sweater blog -- stuck all of deleted hard history there. And it was good.


Anonymous said...

Excellent point, one that I just picked up today and got two books from the library that I may never have bothered with if I hadn't been angry my last read. I love unusual historicals, I think in my teens there were quite a lot of Viking romances, but we don't see many of those these days.

If Roman romances are coming back, perhaps they'll bring back Xena? Oh please be true!!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, the site looks great and so does the new blog. If I wrote unusual historicals I'd be all over it.

Michelle (DKM) said...

Love the new site - congrats! (FYI - new blog address http://divakitty.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

Boo! To ditching the preface... Boo-ooh!

I know they're probably looked down upon, and maybe people see them and don't read any further, but I liked it. I think they're important. Plus, it's not like it dragged on. It was short, to-the-point, informative.