Social networking for romance readers
Rouge Romance is a brand new line of romance novels being launched by Ebury on 29th September 2011. Editorial Director is Gillian Green who kindly agreed to talk to the Festival of Romance about the exciting launch of Rouge. We're thrilled that she will be with us at the upcoming Festival of Romance.
Festival of Romance: What do you think makes a great romantic story?
Gillian Green: Character above everything but conflict too. The best romantic novels make you forget the inevitable happy ending because as a reader you get so caught up in the journey the characters are on. By the same token, I hate romance novels where the conflict is contrived and would be solved in an instant if hero and heroine just sat down and talked to one another!
FOR: What inspired you to want to work in publishing romantic fiction?
GG: I actually never set out to be a romance editor. I knew after my English degree and a post-graduate publishing course that I wanted to be an editor but ended up at Harlequin Mills & Boon by happy accident. They were my first interview and I thought it would be a fun first job - I stayed five years and learned an awful lot. Since then, I've been a commercial fiction editor for Piatkus/Little Brown and now Ebury/Random House. I've commissioned most types of fiction, but romance has always been a genre I really enjoy reading and acquiring. For me romance is the ultimate in escapist fiction and I hate the fact that a lot of people are so snobby about the genre. (Mostly people who've never read a romance of course!)
FOR: What upcoming books are you working on at the moment?
GG: With the launch of Rouge Romance, Ebury's new romance list coming on the 29th September, I'm understandably knee-deep in romance novels which is making my daily commute incredibly enjoyable. I just finished the latest Jill Sorenson (her first novel is in our launch list) and now am sad that I have no more books of hers left to read. She is an incredible romantic suspense author who really reminds me of the best of Nora Roberts - and that's not a comparison I make lightly, having sent nine years working on Nora's books. This week I've also been working on Julian Clary's latest novel Briefs Encountered which is coming next year on our Ebury Press list.
FOR: Ooo, what's Julian Clary's novel about?
GG: It's a dark, wickedly funny ghost story - It's Julian's take on Blithe Spirit and even features Noel Coward. (And who better to do Noel Coward than Julian!) It's utterly glorious and, actually, surprisingly romantic!
FOR: What are the debut releases for Rouge Romance?
GG: The following are all available from 29th of this month.
One Dance with a Duke, Twice Tempted by a Rogue, Three Nights with a Soundrel by Tessa Dare
The Husband Trap by Tracy Anne Warren
The Warrior by Nicole Jordan
Blood Magic by Jennifer Lyon
Wild Heat by Bella Andre
Crash into Me by Jill Sorenson
FOR: We're really looking forward to seeing you at the Festival of Romance.
GG: I'm hoping to meet lots of wonderful romance writers and readers and telling them all about our new list.
FOR: How should writers hoping to write for you approach your company, direct or via a literary agent? GG: Either. For our Rouge list, you'll find guidelines on our website www.rougeromance.co.uk - launching 29/9/11. Though the best advice I can offer aspiring romance writers is to read romance avidly.
FOR: What was the first romantic novel you ever read?
GG: I was quite a precocious reader so it may well have been Jane Eyre which I remember reading when I was still in primary school. Though I also remember devouring the Kevin and Sadie books by Joan Lingard having discovered the first in my local library. Set against a Belfast backdrop, he's a young Catholic, she's a protestant - they fall in love 'Across the Barricades'. Now there's a good conflict!
FOR: I remember the Kevin and Sadie books and reading the whole series avidly. Perhaps we had the same local library! Now for one final literature question, do you prefer Austen or the Brontes?
GG: It has to be the Brontes. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are two of my favourite novels for very different reasons. If I had to choose it would be Wuthering Heights though. It's one of those books that's really shaped my views and love of romantic fiction. In fact a few years back I reread it for a bookgroup and found myself reverting to my twelve-year-old self, passionately defending Heathcliff while everyone else - quite rightly - was horrified by his appalling behaviour in the book. You never forget your first love, do you?
FOR: Hmmm. I might have forgotten mine. What are your favourite romantic films?
GG: There are certain romantic films I find it impossible to turn off no matter how many times I've seen them - Dirty Dancing, Moonstruck, - even Pretty Woman (which I know I should hate because it makes being a prostitute seem like a good career choice but...) These are the films I loved when I first saw them as a teenager and there are scenes in them that I can watch time and time over. I'd probably put The Big Easy in that group which isn't strictly speaking a romance but it's full of fun banter, is very steamy and has Dennis Quaid doing the sexiest Southern accent!
I'm also a fan of old movies though, so it could equally be The African Queen (love the chemistry between the leads), The River of No Return (Mitcham throwing Monroe over his shoulder in the final scene) or The Ghost and Mrs Muir which is a rather strange love story what with Rex Harrison being dead but which I can never ever resist if it happens to be showing on a rainy Sunday afternoon...
(Interview by Kate Allan)
Rouge Romance launches on 29th September and you're invited to join in the online party, a fabulous 'Girls Night In' with competitions, gossip and of course lots and lots of romance. Be there, 4pm to 8pm at www.rougeromance.co.uk. You can follow Rouge Romance on Twitter @rougeromance.
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