A definition of the genre I write
It seems to me that fiction genres are changing; some merging, some expanding, some disappearing. So a book could appeal to a broader audience than previously, or it could appeal to a very specific section of readers. The vast increase in the number of books published these days means that an author must know what sort of readers will read their book if they are to attract them.
My novels fall under the broad category of Historical Romance but I wanted to narrow it down and have a specific angle, as that’s what brand experts recommend. So I sat down and thought what I could offer my readers that maybe wasn’t offered in every historical romance.
I much prefer stories with a great deal of realism; I’m not keen on fantastical tales with monsters and unbelievable feats of human strength or endurance. And I don’t write plot driven stories which may be an endless sequence of battles, people going on a quest or exploring an unknown land. I can include those aspects but I prefer to explore characters and see what happens with them.
I am fascinated by how people lived in the past: how did they handle the basic human problems we still have today?
So I decided that my genre is now called Realistic History. That is, stories set in historical periods but with characters we can all relate to, and who find themselves in the same situations as we do in the 21st century. We are human, as were they. They had the same feelings, problems, dilemmas and joys as us.
My series of Viking/Saxon novels, beginning with ‘Ragnar the Murderer’ deals with such matters, like the uncertainty of first love, parental disapproval, marriage—whether unhappy or happy, parenthood, even contraception (which existed long before the present, surprisingly), adultery, homosexuality, sibling rivalry. All of these situations have been happening since time began, but people had different ways of handling them, depending on the century in which they were born.
I hope readers can relate to these themes in my books. I’m also hoping that working out exactly what I’m writing about will help me write more interesting and engrossing stories.