Monday, March 05, 2007

Documentary about the Romance Genre

The documentary “Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings?” will premiere on BRAVO! Canada on Thursday March 8, 2007, 8:30 pm EST. This broadcast will be in Canada only but the documentary makers hope to have a US broadcast date in the next year. According to GAPC:
Who's Afraid of Happy Endings? is a witty, revealing and often surprising one-hour documentary that takes us into the fascinating realm of romance fiction.

Weaving together the personal stories of three romance writers as they manoeuvre their way to the top with an insider’s view of the romance-writing world, Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings? shines a spotlight on an industry that has turned the unending desire for love into a cultural phenomenon and a booming world-wide business. [...]

From the hallowed halls of academia to the book pages of daily newspapers to suburban monthly book clubs - romance fiction has been labelled as trashy, formulaic, bodice rippers – even female porn. It’s truly the Rodney Dangerfield of the fiction world.

Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings?
cracks the romance code and reveals the secrets to its enduring appeal.
The documentary features comments from our very own Pamela Regis and the producers say that they've
filmed in Reno, NYC, Toronto and Halifax (and a few other places in between). It's been fun and we've met a lot of great people - multi-published romance authors, aspiring romance writers, editors, agents and of course NY Times best-selling authors! Our documentary focuses on three Canadian romance writers - two are multi-published (what you'd call "mid-list") authors who are shaking things up a bit in their careers and the third writer is as yet unpublished and working towards that goal. [...] Kathryn Smith (currently living in the U.S.). Kathryn has a new book out with Avon Harper Collins called "Be Mine Tonight"(the first in a series). It's a paranormal historical (very hot sub-genre) and features a vampire hero living in the Victorian era who falls in love with a mortal woman (Bite me baby!). Kelly Boyce is based in Nova Scotia. She's an aspiring romance writer who is currently shopping her manuscripts around. Her latest manuscript is the first in a series about a group of spinster friends living in the Victorian era who set out to marry only for love. The first book is tentatively called "Desire and Brimstone". And we also feature Kayla Perrin who is based in Ontario. She's getting into some hot and heavy territory with her first erotica novel for Harlequin's Spice line. It's called "Getting Even".
Re the 'NY Times best-selling authors', the makers add that the programme will be 'Featuring interviews with some of the brightest stars of the romance world, including Jo Beverley, Jennifer Crusie, Eloisa James, Debbie Macomber and Nora Roberts'. A short clip which includes comments from Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber is available here. Maybe some Canadian readers could get back to the rest of us about this programme and let us know what they thought of it? I'm hoping it does a better job of breaking down stereotypes about romance than Daisy Goodwin's recent programme for the BBC did (which I discussed here and here).


  1. Hi Laura,
    Excellent Post! I just listened to the sound bite and heard what Nora Roberts had to say (my computer wouldn't allow the video) -- not surprising -- if this is true throughout, it certainly would appear consistent with my perception of the public’s view of romance novels.
    Nonetheless, it is a multi-million dollar industry. So while I am thinking of suggesting that romance novelists ban together to change this public perception into a more positive and respectful one, I also wonder if many writers would be less than sanguine about mottling with something that is working (financially) and run the risk that all of that could change?

  2. while I am thinking of suggesting that romance novelists ban together to change this public perception into a more positive and respectful one

    I think romance authors have been working on this one for a long, long time. Jenny Crusie's written a funny and informative essay,“You Go, Romance Writer: Changing Public Opinion”, on this topic.

  3. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the link! I just read Jenny' piece -- it's excellent! And I love it when she says, "Above all, we have to keep our balance, our humility, and our humor."
    Thanks again,

  4. Here's an article containing interviews with the three Canadian authors at the centre of the documentary. They offer a 'scandalous unraveling of eight romance novel myths, and insight into the women who pen them'. Or rather, the romance authors say sensible things that most romance readers already know, and the journalist who's writing it up sounds surprised.

  5. There's a very short review here:

    The film explores the history, business and evolution of these wine, dine and grind novels.

    Among other revelations, you will learn about the importance of book covers (crawling ivy, bad; massive pecs, good!); the startling number of sub-genres (paranormals?); and even meet a few aspiring and established authors, including Nora Roberts, Eloisa James, Jennifer Crusie, Debbie Macomber and Jo Beverley.

    After watching, I was no longer afraid of happy endings. But I was suddenly overcome with the inexplicable urge to light some lavender-scented candles and take a bubble bath.

  6. There's a detailed review by Cindy S, in two parts. The first is here and the second is here.