Heaving Bosoms

Your romance novels are welcome here. Celebrated. Loved. Cuddled, even, if they’re particularly good. Adorned with man titty and paraded up and down the street to acclaim, applause, and perhaps stray dollar bills. We’ll occasionally poke — with savage abandon, even — at the more ludicrous aspects of the genre, but we kvetch because we love.
-Beyond Heaving Bosoms

A big, thrusting Risky welcome today to guest Sarah Wendell, co-author with Candy Tan of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels. As always, your question or comment will enter you into a drawing for a signed copy of the book, so heave your bosom over to the comments section…

Romance is such a huge genre with so many tropes and themes and subgenres. How did you and Candy decide how you’d categorize material?

It was NOT easy. We had IM sessions and email conversations and outlines and other outlines that were outlines of the first outlines, and some random post-it notes that have since been lost and probably contained the secrets to the universe. I’m sure there’s something we missed and I so want to know what people think we ought to have mentioned more — it was probably in early drafts. Early drafts of this book were mammoth. Turgid, even.

Why do you think the Regency is such a popular setting?

I think part of it is what Kalen Hughes called that fantasy patina of the distant past. That far back in the days of yore and everything is soft focus and sepia toned, right? I mean, the 1940’s weren’t in COLOR were they?!

Plus, the Regency, and to the same extent the Victorian era, were both marked by extreme social rules and restrictions operating on top of a rather lustful and actively sexually curious society, and that dichotomy leaves a great deal of room for writers to explore all the classic themes of romance.

What do you find particularly ludicrous about regency-set historicals?

The frequency with which heroines go out wearing a pelisse that is always, always inadequate for the weather. It’s England, for God’s sake. Expect rain, you ninny!

What do you think works in Regencies?

The role of manners, both stated and unstated, and the importance of dialogue to convey the atraction that cannot be expressed through physical contact.

Which writers of historical do you enjoy reading?

Names?! You want me to name NAMES?! Gosh, it depends on the mood, but I’m always up for the subversive portrayals of women from Claudia Dain and Carolyn Jewel. I love the depth of history in Janet Mullany and Kalen Hughes‘ books, and I love, love, love the way Julia Quinn can make me laugh.

I’m going to kick myself for the next 3 days every time I remember someone I forgot to mention.

(Squirming with pleasure.) What’s next? Do you plan a sequel?

Nope. We shot our wad with this one, as I’ve said. It’s not really possible to do a sequel to a guide to the genre. We’ll be doing as much as we can to portray romance as the genre it really is: brilliant fiction written by brilliant women for an equally savvy, sharp audience of smart, smart women.

Thanks, Sarah–OK, everyone, get your sensible pelisse on and comment away. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Beyond Heaving Bosoms!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

I think that is why I love reading about this period so much. Because of the rules and the adherence to etiquette, they really had to convey so much with words. It kind of reminds me of those old movies with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn and the like. I really liked the interaction, the snappy dialogue, and the fact that you knew they were just dying to get together and were fighting against the codes of society to do it, until they finally decided to do it right. Sometimes, the tension leading up to the act is more stimulating than the description of the act itself. A little imagination goes a long way.


13 years ago

What’s great about this book is that we know it’ll come from the default position that romance readers can be intelligent while still enjoying a romantic book that sweeps you away. Much appreciated, and I look forward to reading it.

Claudia Dain
13 years ago

Congratulations on your debut book, Sarah! What a thrill. I can’t wait to read it. I always learn something when I read about the romance genre as a genre, something I’d never considered before.

And thank you so much for the kind mention. Subversive women unite! *G*

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Welcome, Sarah! It is lovely to have you at the Riskies.
I’m looking forward to your book and congratulate you and the Smart Bitches on all your success! Did you have any idea this would happen when you started the blog?

Another question…do you read Harlequin Historicals? Self-interested, I admit, but I find that readers who love Historical fiction often don’t know how close HH is to single title; just a few words shorter.

I will see you, I hope, when you come to WRW’s meeting. Will miss Friday’s booksigning, I’m afraid.

Janet Mullany
13 years ago

Hi Sarah. I’m thrilled you’re here, and thanks for the shout-out. Are you going to follow up with your NPR interviewer to see what she thought of Lord of Scoundrels? It’d be great if she did up a followup piece/interview.

Karen H in NC
13 years ago

Hey Sarah, Congratulations on your debut book! And any book that has Smart Bitches in the title is a book I must read!

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Welcome to the Riskies, Sarah. Glad to know that you start your blog tour with a stop at my first blog-intro to the Romancelandia.

Congratulations on your #1 spot and forging ahead of JR Ward and Dickens (a rather fitting coup de grace to Dickens).

Just finished listening to your NPR piece. Hilarious! A tad condescending, like the interviewer was trying to hold herself back and second-think what she wanted to say. But good coverage of the book and the industry. So a well-conducted interview.

Hubby and I are halfway through the book. Much laughter and nods (from me) have ensued.

Janet Mullany
13 years ago

Here’s the link to the NPR story”, and while you’re there, check out the plot template–hilarious and all too true:

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

I can’t wait to read this book. It sounds like a hoot and a half and LOTS of fun, not to mention an intelligent take on an industry that has been touted more than once as “recession proof!”

I have to agree with everything said about the Regency/Victorian era as a setting for romance. There are so many key elements there that appeal to those of us who slog through a day at the DDJ (dreaded day job) or labor through a day at home with the kids. For less than ten bucks you can visit a bygone era, have maid service, meet a handsome and more often than not rich guy, have wild sex, witty repartee and a happy ending and all before the husband and kids get home and you have to fix dinner. Even better, you can go back and visit as often as you like. What’s not to love!

Thanks so much for writing a book that treats the romance genre with the respect and good humor it deserves!

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Thanks for coming by, Sarah! I have barely dipped into the book, but it is fabulous, and everything I expected from you and Candy.

13 years ago

Hello Sarah! Congrats on you new book! I love the title of your book. It sounds like a great read. I like everyone else I love reading books set in the Regency period and I am not sure why.

Delle Jacobs
13 years ago

Hi Sarah! At a meeting yesterday, I just saw your book waving enthusiastically in the air from a friend’s hand– Delilah Marvelle, in fact, who simply could not contain her exuberance. However, since Delilah never contains exuberance, I’m not sure how much that means, but I will say she never takes up a cause about which she can’t feel strong exuberance. So she’s sold me on it, even if I did already plan to buy it.

I’m really glad to see a guide to the genre that treats it and its authors and stories with, uh- respect? With a bit of ribbing for color, of course. I’m sure we can take it.

And I agree, Claudia, we are a subversive group. Unite!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

I really wish I was eligible to win this book today. 🙂 Welcome to RR!

“do you read Harlequin Historicals? Self-interested, I admit, but I find that readers who love Historical fiction often don’t know how close HH is to single title; just a few words shorter.”

I’ll second that question, Diane… 🙂

13 years ago

This book sounds like a LOT of fun!

Margaret Evans Porter
13 years ago

Congratulations on the publication of this most interesting book. Like many here I, too, look forward to reading it.

13 years ago

First things first:

Is this now Risky Bitches, Trashy Regents? Smart Friskies, Regental Books? I think any of those could actually work as a subtitle for the sequel Sarah says she will not write. (was there a *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge* after that?)

I have so far not sighted any Bosoms, heaving or otherwise, in fridgid Toronto suburbia, but maybe they’re just camoflaged under all the winterwear everyone had to break out again after packing away for the season. Will continue looking out, and am sure someone or other will have scored a copy by the time our local chapter meeting rolls around next weekend.

Brief aside since I know Sarah likes designer types: two currently wildly popular designers in Canada are the crazy-fun Scottish pair Justin and Colin (from ‘How Not to Decorate’) who both landed cover model gigs on upcoming Harlequin books! I cried laughing when I saw them – one is for a suspense title, one is historical, in windswept kilt and all.

Jane George
13 years ago

**…the importance of dialogue to convey the attraction that cannot be expressed through physical contact.**

Yes! Yes! Yes!
Welcome to the Riskies and thanks for this very fun book.

13 years ago

I love the sound of this book I too love reading regency books I love the fashions and all the rules that in most of the books I read get broken in some way or another and the heros and heroines are strong and honourable. Regency historicals are one of my favourite reads.

Have Fun

Kit Donner
13 years ago

Oh, I hope I win, I hope I win! Yes, I am one of those historical regency authors whose heroines always wear sensible clothing, when necessary. I find I write a lot of dialogue in my books because I love the language, and the way I can hear it in my ear. Here’s hoping regency romances never go out of style! Kit Donner

13 years ago

Congratulations on your first book! All the people I know who have already read have said that it’s hilarious. I can’t wait!

13 years ago

Hi Sarah – congrats on your book. Like some of the other posts – anything thing that has “smart bitches” in the title has just racked up my “interest lever” 100%. Looking forward to getting a hold of it. Caroline x

13 years ago

Congratulations on your book, it sounds great and I really want to read it. 🙂

13 years ago

I think it’s wonderful that you’re out there countering some of the really awful stereotypes about Romance, and in such thought provoking ways, too.

I do appreciate that.

13 years ago

welcome and hi Sarah; I look forward to this book with ‘heaving bosom’, lol.

SB Sarah
13 years ago

Hi folks!

I am so so so sorry I didn’t have a chance to stop by yesterday. With that pesky online retailer and all the traffic, I’ve been trying to keep our site online so we can talk bosoms and romance and Regency and pelisses and what not. So howdy from embarrassed and tardy Bitch.

“Do you read Harlequin Historicals?”

I do. I just read one last week. Hang on while I look up the title. Someone’s Unwilling ward. Major Westhaven’s Unwilling Ward by Emily Bascom.

I haven’t finished my review yet, but I do like the Harlequin Historicals. I’m a sucker for historical romance and the word count of a HH allows me to read the whole book in about an hour to an hour and a half. Very satisfying.

“Did you have any idea this would happen when you started the blog?”

ABSOLUTELY NOT. NOT ONCE. OMG. We are floored by all the success.

“Are you going to follow up with your NPR interviewer to see what she thought of Lord of Scoundrels? It’d be great if she did up a followup piece/interview.”

I would LOVE it. And I know the producer who was masterminding the whole interview is a HUGE romance fan, and threatened to make sure the host read a romance. I hope she does, especially if it’s Lord of Scoundrels. That would be epic win.

Thank you for having me – you guys are way too much fun.

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x