As both an author and a romance reader I’m interested in what 2013 might bring.
Will it be the year that Gothic romances make a triumphant return? Harlequin is debuting a new line called “Shivers“. Phyllis Whitney and Barbara Michaels taught me to love an atmospheric contemporary Gothic, but their books are now decades old. What will the Gothics of the 21st century be like? I enjoy a well-crafted “heroine in peril” thrill, but how does that mesh with the trend for kick butt heroines? Will we have heroes in peril?
I thought 2012 might be the year Steampunk broke into the mainstream. There’s certainly a wider awareness and interest in it, but it didn’t set the world on fire. A shame because readers are missing out on some gems, like Meljean Brook’s Riveted.
Paranormal romance and urban fantasy seem to have peaked and whilst they’re not going away (thank goodness! I love them), I think speculative fiction is fumbling around looking for the next big thing. What will it be? A while back I thought it might be science fiction gothic romance. Seriously, I did. But I couldn’t come up with a strong enough storyline to write THE book. Now I’m thinking it’ll be something present-day but with a twist. Following in the footsteps of the many Sherlock Holmes’ reinterpretations, I think it’ll be fictional characters invading our world. Look out for authors combing through old (and out of copyright) works to generate new stories. Shakespeare is a treasure house of goodies.
Contemporary romance — while it never went away — is also back in a big way. 2013 is going to be the year of intensely emotional, challenging stories. People are looking to connect with passionate stories, to be energised and renewed by them. I’m on the look out for books that celebrate grand themes of hope, redemption, courage and, as always, love.
The sub-genre of romantic comedy became lost in Chick-lit but will re-emerge. I think some of it will have an edgier tone. Think “noir rom com”. Bleak but hopeful, wry, with love finally triumphant.
And that’s it. I’ve run out of predictions. 2013 is a cursed year, in the sense of “may you live in interesting times”. Authors, publishers and readers are all wandering through the new world of digital publishing and bracing for change. We’re not sure how or what or who will crash and burn, but 2013 is the year people will try new things. May your adventures be joyful and successful!
PS. I’d love to hear your predictions.