Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Is this the twilight of the supernatural romance?
The otherworldly demon lover however is much, much more than the perfect bad boy. He is as much an exploration of a young girl’s counter-sexual self, the animus, as he is a real (or idealised) being. He is her creative soul.
As many of you know, I have written my own dark romance novel – Samael – which is now doing the rounds of publishers. Today I received an email from a major New York publishing house. It said:
“It’s a cracking good read, full of dark secrets and thrilling twists. Alexander writes clearly and eloquently with an authentic teen voice. Genevieve is a compelling and sympathetic character; her anguish, and her skepticism, are convincing. Her cynical references to popular culture are witty and grounding. The supporting cast of characters are similarly well-crafted and multi-faceted. We thought Gen’s relationship with her aging-rock star father was actually quite interesting, too, with Gen feeling like she had to act as his parent, sometimes, instead of the other way around. We also appreciated the real-world themes of intolerance and depravity. Alexander reveals that supernatural beings are not the only ones with immoral tendencies: the malicious racism that affect Zeke and his mother and the licentious cruelty that leads to Star’s rape are poignant and pressing issues.”
Have to confess I had a broad smile on my face at that point. But then it went on to say this:
“Unfortunately books that play to the same audience as the TWILIGHT SAGA have been furiously published with more in the works all over town, and by the time we’d be able to release a book like this (in 2012) we have serious concerns about the genre being past its prime.”
So that’s it? Supernatural romance has a sell-by date? I can see that nobody wants an oversaturated marketplace but is the desire for the market really waning? When I look on teen reading websites or the teen author site, inkpop, there seems to be a pretty solid hunger (will stop now, I promise) for this kind of tale.
It’s not sour grapes, I promise. It’s just genuine puzzlement. Is that really it?
It's also left me wondering about publishing. Today I read in The Times more about the rise of the e-book and the confusion of traditional publishers. Is print publishing - with its two-year lead times - just too lumbering a beast for today's tastes and market? Teens certainly want to read more supernatural romance right now. Whether they will in two years' time is another question entirely. I hope so, but who knows? Maybe I should put out Samael as an e-book, before it's 'past its prime'.
What do you think? Are we going to see the return of gritty realism to teen fiction? Or something new entirely? If you have teenage daughters how would they feel about the death of the vampire, the demon, the fallen angel? Relieved or sad? How would you feel? It’s okay, you can be honest :-)