Five years ago, if asked, I would probably laugh at the idea of reading a romance novel, YA or otherwise. Not because I held any sort of negative opinion of the genre, just simply because it's not a genre I choose to read. I must admit I've never read a romance novel. I've read novels with romance sub-plots, but that's never been the primary genre.
But the romance in many of the books I've enjoyed in the last five years has given me the desire to read some of the more highly recommended romance novels in the YA market. I'm excited to go to the library to pick up ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins. After that I'm going to look for the two books by Tara Kelly when I finish with ANNA. Why?
Well there are many reasons. I'll admit I am eager to read some quality romance. But at the same, a romantic plot or sub-plot is considered vital to most YA stories. Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping on a bandwagon to "help my book along." There's a romance sub-plot in the book I'm getting ready to query. But I want to learn how to add romance to a novel in a more organic fashion. I want it to feel more natural in my outlining process so that I don't have to fight with rewrites to get that important character-interaction/development added to my stories.
Looking back on the last dozen books I've read, only two or three are absent a romantic sub-plot. And as a result, the character-depth is lacking. I love characters, and I want those characters that play the parts in my book to seem as real as possible.
So that's my new frontier. I'm venturing out into the [publishing] universe to find great romance novels, and I'm excited for the adventure, even (and especially) if the stories don't turn out the way I expect.