The Book Case blog interviewed romance publishing experts in their post here. One of the most interesting responses to trending subgenres was from Dianne Moggy, VP of series editorial and subrights at Harlequin. She said, “We’ve also seen a rise in novels featuring wealthy heroes, which may speak to the global economic situation and our authors’ and readers’ desire for escape.”
This is useful news for romance novel writers. Economic circumstances can be written into many storylines and are not necessarily dependent on the romantic trope used. Yes, it is very easy to see how this issue can play into:
- Boss and secretary
- King, Prince, Duke
- Celebrity and the movie star
- Rich suitor, poor suitor
In these cases, the hero is more affluent, has a certain amount of power or is famous. All of which could be attractive qualities to down on her luck or from lesser means heroine. But if the trope isn’t related to financial well-being, can it play into other story lines?
Opposites attract: Avoiding the immediate opposites of rich man, poor woman storyline; let’s think about building it into the character’s personality. Maybe the man wants/needs to keep up with the Jones. He has to have the latest tech gadget, biggest house on the block, nicest car of his friends. The woman is trying to balance it all plus whatever the main storyline is.
Romantic suspense: I could brainstorm this out for days, but for the sake of this post, I won’t. Kidnapping is an easy segway into ransom and the reason by the villain’s need for the dough. Or the hero/heroine needs to take down a greedy corporation that is willing to do XYZ in order to save or make money.
Contemporary: The heroine can hold one or more minimum wage jobs in order to either provide comic relief, or an uncommitted or unfulfilled back story. The hero may have a character weakness he is struggling to work through because the stock market tanked and he lost his security or his house/family business is being foreclosed/closed and he needs to accomplish something in order to save it.
In short, the financial implications of the characters can be woven into the world building within the romance novel. Readers may find it relatable while still fantasizing about true love winning no matter the circumstances.