Is a Coastal Romance any romance set by the sea? Such an open definition would drive some people crazy and I understand their point. A pretty but two dimensional background that could just as easily be a mountain or outback or city setting doesn’t seem to warrant a special label. Surely a Coastal Romance has to make the sea integral to the plot?
I’m not convinced.
I’ve heard these arguments before in the Steampunk community. Some people want a rigid definition that allows lines to be drawn and people clearly put either inside or outside the community/genre/magic circle. But I’m more about inclusion. If a person self-identifies as a Steampunk, then that’s what they are.
So when it comes to Coastal Romance , if the author or readers identify a book as Coastal Romance, then it is.
*shrieks from the peanut gallery and a shower of peanut shells*
Yes, I do know that this is unhelpful in the extreme for deciding metadata. If everyone and their dolphin can join in, the label of the sub-genre risks becoming meaningless. Still, there is a lot of power in the wisdom of the crowd and I think we can trust it.
There will be discussions and mishaps and a few raspberries blown, but I think that as a community of readers, writers, editors and reviewers we will develop an effective working definition of Coastal Romance.
This is where I’m starting from:
Coastal Romance is about freedom, wide open horizons, taking chances and daring to love. It celebrates the sea in all of its moods. When we escape the everyday, anything is possible.
[Also see my earlier post, Coastal Romance: The New Wave of Rural Romance]