Five things every historical romance should/shouldn’t have…

Greetings boys and girls. I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Recently I was asked what five things I think every historical romance novel should/shouldn’t have. So today I’m sharing my thoughts. I hope this helps.




Compelling characters – Readers want to connect with your hero and heroine. Nothing determines the success/failure of a book more than the protagonists. Are they sympathetic enough? Believable? Do the secondary characters add to the plot and help story progression? Interestingly enough, a mentor of mine recently suggested that every antagonist needs redemptive qualities. I respectfully disagreed. It depends on their role. Is it purely self-serving or evil? If so, write their part appropriately. However, I agree most readers appreciate redemptive characters. Go with your gut feeling … there’s a place for both types.

 Action – From the traditional Regency, to the Viking era, action contributes to story progression. And I’m not talking ballroom dancing. Give me lightning please, physical confrontation and adventure appropriate for the setting. Since I’m on a Viking kick at present, physical conflict is of paramount importance, of course, leave out any gratuitous violence please.

 Limit subplots – Everyone (I think so) appreciates strong secondary characters, intrigue, and twists in a story from any genre. However, one of the most frequent complaints I see from readers concerns complicated subplots. I think this a problem for series authors. We thread ideas for our next book throughout our tales. Too much information takes away from the current storyline.

Love scenes – Is there an elephant in the room? Yes, I write steamy sex scenes. But just like action, too much may hurt the storyline. I know this particular facet is a matter of taste for writers and readers alike. Let the passion and love shine through, but for traditional historical romance, leave the smut out please.

Happily-ever-after – Most traditional publishing houses, great and small, agree on this. Give your hero and heroine a happy ending. If readers want heartache, they’ll frequent a different genre.

Thanks for stopping by. Please comment if you’d like to add to the list and at a later date I’ll feature a longer list.




11 thoughts on “Five things every historical romance should/shouldn’t have…

  1. Becky Lower says:

    Good stuff, Violetta. It’s like a symphony–too much of one thing spoils the whole. A delicate balance is what’s needed, be it sex, subplots, or action.

  2. Well stated, Violetta! Summed up in a concise and very clear manner.

  3. Love this! So true. 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on GovernessInRed Book Reviews and commented:
    A must read!

  5. carolcork says:

    As a reader, I totally agree with your concise and well thought out points, Violetta,

  6. The balance is always a challenge, but it’s a symphony when it works!

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