What do you write? Erotic Romance or Erotica? We are often asked that question about our genre. If we go by the official definition of the two genres we would answer that question with neither or both.
Romance (and its many heat levels) is defined by the RWA as:
“A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.”
Within that range, there are many subgenres of Romance such as Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Military Romance, etc. Stories in those subgenres may fall within several heat levels. They can range from sweet to erotic.
In that sense, some of our books, mainly the full-length novels, can easily be categorized as Erotic Romantic Suspense. While we do engage in highly explicit descriptions of the love scenes and they are not implied, they are very graphic, the focus of the novels is on the development of a love relationship between two individuals who struggle through internal and external conflicts to reach their HEA.
Now, for some of our stories, the focus is not a nifty three-point plot where the two individuals meet, overcome difficulties and end in HEA. The plot isn’t focused on the sexual journey of one individual within the story, either, which is the definition of Erotica.
Sylvia Day has defined Erotica as:
“Stories written about the sexual journey of the characters and how this impacts them as individuals. Emotion and character growth are important facets of a true erotic story. However, Erotica is NOT designed to show the development of a romantic relationship, although it’s not prohibited if the author chooses to explore romance. Happily Ever Afters are NOT an intrinsic part of erotica, though they can be included. If they are included, they weren’t the focus. The focus remained on the individual characters’ journeys, not the progression of the romance.”
With those two definitions in perspective, we can now say that we fall into a completely new genre. Our short stories can be classified as stories about the sexual journey of the characters and how it impacts their already existing romantic relationship. Emotion and character growth are important parts of the stories AND the stories show the development of a romantic relationship between married/committed individuals. Happy Ever Afters ARE an intrinsic part of our stories. The focus remains on the progression of the romance through the sexual journey of both characters. We have named our own genre as Romantica.
Sex is an intrinsic part of married life. Fantasy and sexual discovery don’t end at the “I do.” The fantasy in our romance stories endures past the HEA. It lasts for as long as the characters work on conflicts that arise during day-to-day life the same way we all do in our lives. The attention to character growth and the development of their relationship through glimpses of their intimate lives makes for robust and realistic characters within the novels.
We hope to continue to develop many Romantica stories for as long as our characters will allow us and we also hope you enjoy the glimpses into their love life.
Have you read some of our Romantica stories? What do you think of the focus on the characters’ intimacy?