An Ibero-American glance at romance

 

The Romance Novel is, in spite of the many prejudices and judgments it has ever been submitted to, especially throughout modern history, one of the best-selling genres of editorial history. It represents profits of trillions of dollars for companies that are dedicated to hunting for fresh talents, to producing and publishing books, whose covers have become more provocative, evocative and sensual in time, in order to capture, without any sense of shame, their most devoted readers and to allure new followers to the genre.
 
Women writers of romance novels are not just fanatics or devotees of any kind of reading. No. They are prepared women, eager readers, but above all, dreamers who never stopped pursuing the yearning to become acknowledged authors and bestsellers in many countries around the world: Spain, México, Chile, Argentina, England, America, etc.
 
The purchase of romance novels in Latin-America started increasing by leaps and bounds after 2006, when several women decided to put decorum aside and started giving their books provocative covers, without minding the inquisitive and indiscrete looks of the people around. Let us not forget that the digital platforms are gathering strength, and they still do with celerity in 2013, selling promising stories with a the great investigative work in each and every of the romance novel´s subgenres, non forgetting the touch of passion and eroticism that drive us to a lovely cotton cloud for a while.
 
We, the Latin-American readers and authors, are facing an endless range of difficulties when choosing a book: Old West, Chick-lit, Medieval, Time-Travel, Sentimental, Erotic, Regency, Victorian, Sheiks and Paranormal. Unfortunately the biggest problem we also have is to find the books in the shelves; most of the time we have to order them through special websites, because they are hardly available or they are too expensive.
 
All of these subgenres we mentioned, are not only for the American market, they are also in the Ibero-American one. If people is expecting to find books about the colonies, or European conquerors falling in love for slaves or so, or even a kind of Pocahontas´s story that´s not going to happened. We have acquired the same route about romance that writers from America or Europe, the first difference here is about the writing style.
 
The second difference is based on the character´s background, the scenarios and the history of each country (but we usually don´t write about historical romance based on Latin-American´s history). By the other hand, the expectations, desires and love intensity are the same in our countries.
 
It might be a prejudice to think that because we, Latin-Americans live in the third world our romance´s authors are going to portrait about poverty and love in the worst streets, or about a sordid romance in rare circumstances. It´s not like that. We use fantasy and scenarios that are mostly – not all of them of course-,located in the United States, United Kingdom and Spain. We are very conscious about the marketing and the market, and we know there´s not only about entertaining, but also selling. It´s like any other business: adjust, plan, write, edit, promote and release.
 
Latin-Americans are very eclectic at the moment of marking the main characters’ profile. We prefer them with character, personality, independency, and not the typical stereotypes. For example, in the case of our heroine: we detest seeing her as she used to appear a long time ago: long-suffering, dependent and subdued. We choose a rather modern concept, of the female role as well as of the masculine: we want equilibrium, romanticism and passion. A storyline which evidences the rupture of the problems our society is passing: fear for commitment, excessive pride and egoism.
 
Why do we read those novels? We are sure that everyone has a different definition of love; but beyond any doubt, regardless of our culture, love is that feeling that gives us hope, faith, illusions and makes us look at the world in another way… a better way. In the end, we do not only read to entertain ourselves, but also to learn, especially because maybe, one day, we will be able to live and in other cases to relive, a beautiful love story.
 
Written by:

Sianny McKay (Costa Rica)

Kristel Ralston (Ecuador)

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