Yesterday, we shared six new romance series to look out for—in addition to the three that are highlighted in the BookPage print edition. In our research of new romance series, we contacted three romance experts from the publishing industry. We shared a few of their quotes in a sidebar about series, but they had way more interesting things to share than what we could fit in a half-page feature.

Here, they dish on current romance trends and the enduring popularity of the genre.

Erika Tsang, executive editor at Avon:

What subgenres are you seeing on submission?
We’ve been seeing lots of small town, community focused contemporary romances on submission. I believe readers are reacting to the world around them; in times of trouble, we’re drawn to the familiar, to our core values.  So it’s really no surprise to me that this subgenre is coming back.

(Editor's note: Readers, if this is you, check out A Town Called Valentine by Emma Cane, book one in the Valentine Valley series!)

Why is romance so popular?
Because everyone wants and dreams of a happily ever after.

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Amy Pierpont, editorial director of Forever:

What subgenres are you seeing on submission?
More than subgenre, what’s really catching on with readers are stories with deep emotional threads—stories that make us laugh and cry—these are the novels, and characters, that resonate most with readers no matter the subgenre.

What is relatively new is the desire from readers to see blended genres—Steampunk is a good example, as is our very own Kristen Callihan’s historical/paranormal Darkest London series. The idea that readers can have the best of both worlds, the gothic, dark atmosphere of a paranormal with the intrigue and drama of a historical is really appealing.

(Editor's note: Read a review of Darkest London #1 here.)

Why is romance so popular?
Romances, at heart (forgive the pun), are stories filled with hope, faith and happiness. Three things we all search for, and want more of in our lives. The idea that two people can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, that no matter your past (mistakes, heartbreak, missed opportunities) you can find love and happiness, that good WILL overcome evil every single time—these are themes that resonate with all readers. Romance readers just know which aisle of the bookstore to head to first!

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Dianne Moggy, VP of series editorial and subrights at Harlequin:

Have you heard any buzz about what subgenres romance readers want now?
In romance fiction there are classic themes and story types that are enduring.  Those include the alpha male hero, cowboys, secret babies, marriages of convenience, community or small-town romances. We have always taken our cues from our authors—who respond to their readers and to the cultural climate--and have recently noticed a rise in submissions featuring modern retellings of classic fairy tales. We’ve also seen a rise in novels featuring wealthy heroes, which may speak to the global economic situation and our authors’ and readers’ desire for escape.

Why are series so popular with romance readers?
The key reason that ongoing series (in both our single title publications and in our romance lines) are popular with readers is that they develop a connection with the characters—they want to know what happens next, what happens to the reclusive neighbor, will the high school sweethearts reunite? The reader becomes invested in these characters, in their community and/or their situations, just as fans of ongoing television dramas or sitcoms tune in to weekly installments of their favorite show.

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Thank you, Erika, Amy and Dianne! Readers: What subgenres of romance push YOUR buttons?

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