I'm thinking of Simon and Garfunkel, of course, and replacing Joe Dimaggio with LK.
I received an order from Amazon yesterday, and as I greedily handled the books I'd ordered, I realized something. There was only one historical in the bunch. (And only one straight contemp that didn't feature suspense or some version of a vampire, demon, shapeshifter, whatever, but that's another story.)
What happened to the long, lush, character driven historical romances of yore? Where is Laura and why isn't NY throwing petals at her feet? I know she burned out, I know she had trouble, but my God, the woman came back with Shadowheart. This is the woman who wrote Flowers from the Storm, Seize the Fire, and The Shadow and the Star. Not to mention The Prince of Midnight, The Dream Hunter, and For My Lady's Heart. (Okay, my command-copy-paste fingers are getting tired. Go to Amazon. Search for Kinsale.) 🙂
She wrote a book with dialogue in Middle English. She wrote some of the most lush prose ever. She made me weep with longing to write like that. She also depressed me because I knew I never could.
I didn't like all her books. I wasn't a Midsummer Moon fan. It wasn't the prose or the storytelling so much as it was the ditzy heroine. I just couldn't connect with her. But, damn, I still admired the craft. Disliking characters is better than being indifferent to them. 🙂
I started thinking about this because of a discussion over at The Soapbox Queens the other day. Brenda Chin was talking about her first romance novel and how it changed her life. Woodiwiss cropped up quite a lot in the comments, and deservedly so. But, if I'd thought more about it at the time, I'd have realized that it was Kinsale who affected me the most.
I miss the woman. I checked out her website, found a post from nearly 2 years ago where she stated she wasn't selling her latest book because NY wanted dark and she'd written light for a change. She had offers, but they weren't what she wanted, so she shelved it. That, my friends, is a tragedy.
My fabulously talented critique partner and I have been discussing this for a while. She's sick of suspense (though she sweetly reads my stuff anyway and offers great suggestions). She wants big contemps that are character driven — the SEPs and Rachel Gibsons — novels without a car chase, dead body, or explosion (oops, the current WIP has all three).
I agree. There's room for a lot more variety than we're getting right now. I do seem to be picking up a lot of paranormal these days, but is that because they're there or because I'd pick them up anyway? Not sure, though I do enjoy the good ones. Just like I enjoy any good romance.
How about you? Is there any writer you miss? Are you sick of certain trends? Or do you think they'll continue?
(No 70 days update tonight as I'll be going to dinner and a concert with hubby and parents. But, so far today, I've made half my word count…)
Edited to add: All this talking about Kinsale got me distracted into searching up stuff on her. I found two posts over at the Smart Bitches where they do lightning reviews of all her books. Only one book got less than an A grade from them (which, if you follow the SBs, you know is pretty amazing). Go read if you're interested….
I’m not familiar with Laura Kinsale, Lynn. I’ll have to look her up.
Enjoy your night out!!
Hey, Kathy! Oh yes, you really must! But don’t start with Shadowheart. It’s not for the faint of heart, lol. For My Lady’s Heart is the prequel to it, and it’s the one with the Middle English dialogue. But you can start with any of them, just not Shadowheart! 🙂
Laura Kinsale is SO talented.
I’m looking forward to my night out, thanks!
If I remember, you introduced me to Kinsale’s writing. And, I was really impressed. She is one of the greatest writers today. I can hardly believe that the publishers are dumping on her like this…
I miss her writing too. Most of the newer historicals do not have passion.
I think I’d like your CP…
New author to add to the list! Thanks, Lynn!
Lynn, don’t get me started! One of the most talented writers I’ve ever read can’t get NY interested…and unfortunatley she doesn’t do dark or paranormal or suspense. She writes a character-driven book set in a contemporary world and it’s just a shame. I do think things are cyclical and it’ll come back around but in the meantime… And woohoo–I’m going to be looking for a Laura Kinsale read!
I remember when I led you to that section of the bookstore in Germany, Cyn! Glad you like her. I do think Eloisa James is very good too, for historicals, but I miss Kinsale. And of course I’m sure there are writers I haven’t read yet that do a fabulous job. But Kinsale is so iconic.
PC, I agree with her, and when I look at my own work I sometimes wonder how on earth I ended up in suspense. Because my first contemp (after I’d written 3 historicals) was a relationship book. It had a military hero, but there wasn’t a car chase or anything. It was simply a story about two people from opposite worlds who had lots of baggage and had to find a way to be together.
I STILL love those kinds of books. The straight contemp I ordered the other day was Rachel Gibson. I never miss a book by her. 🙂
Rhonda, I hope you enjoy Kinsale! I’d be interested in hearing about it whenever you read one of her books. I can’t even suggest one to start with, except to NOT start with Shadowheart. 🙂
Jen, that is a complete shame!!!! But I agree that it’s cyclical and I think it’ll swing back. I’m not really good at predicting trends — if so, I’d have written a vampire book years ago — but I do think dark paranormal is here for a while yet. I have an English Lit major theory about it all that I think would make a great paper. But I’m out of the paper-writing biz, whoo hoo! 🙂
I’d love to know what you think about Kinsale when you read her. 🙂 She has to come back. She just HAS to come back. 🙂
I remember when we all wanted to be Kinsale. 🙂 I don’t know if it was before your time, but she was on RomEx clear back in the early days – brilliant woman, as well as a talented writer.
I remember her being there, Terry. 🙂 I saved some of those discussions on the boards with her just so I could reread them from time to time. I don’t have them anymore, though. 🙁
I remember her popping into a discussion about character charts once. Somebody was giving their characters astrological signs and then charting their personalities that way. She said that, for her, that could never work. Her writing was a process of discovery, like being in a submarine and conning for something out there on the ocean. Made me feel better about being a pantser, I can tell you. 🙂
“My fabulously talented critique partner and I have been discussing this for a while. She’s sick of suspense (though she sweetly reads my stuff anyway and offers great suggestions). She wants big contemps that are character driven — the SEPs and Rachel Gibsons — novels without a car chase, dead body, or explosion (oops, the current WIP has all three).”
How the heck did I miss this? Fabulously talented? Yeah, right. Tell that to my rejection letters. ROFLMAO!
And BTW, missy, your dead bodies are the exception to the rule, okay????
Oh you are, definitely! Your rejections are merely fodder on the road to success. 🙂
I’ll try to keep the body count down. In fact, I think I have one less in this current WIP than I thought I’d have. LOL!
I really like this new story you’re working on. The heroine especially. She’s got baggage (and God knows how I LOVE baggage) but she also has a good head on her shoulders and she doesn’t take any nonsense, even from the hunky, to-die-for hero. And speaking of the hero, I’m really looking forward to seeing how he … um … unfolds (wink). 😉