It was in the 80’s that romance blazed its way into publishing history and exploded onto bookshelves by the millions. Oh, how I miss those days! The most popular stories were historicals – especially westerns and stories involving Native Americans … everything I loved writing about! I still do, but alas, popular genres change and new readers come into the picture … and old dogs like me have to re-invent themselves. Actually, I never quite did that, because unlike many others from that era, I didn’t change genres, which led to lower numbers and lower sales for several years. But now I am seeing a come-back, and thanks to the social media of the internet, I am finding a host of new readers who have never read Rosanne Bittner and many of whom aren’t familiar with the good old historical romances of the 80’s. They are finding out what they were missing!!
I think younger people are thirsty for true LOVE STORIES – stories in which sex actually has meaning and isn’t gratuitous or just for selfish, momentary pleasure. And I think the reason the old sweeping romances were so popular is because they took the reader away to another place and time, and the stories brought forth all the things (especially women) look for – a real hero; a strong, brave heroine with whom the reader could identify; true romance (of which we see so little today); stories about independence and the ability to explore and brave new frontiers; exciting time periods when countries were growing and changing; and something I really miss today … nice, fat, 400-500 page novels in which the reader could get lost for days … truly memorable stories that stayed in the minds and hearts of readers for months, even years. To this day my readers still talk about my characters in my very first Savage Destiny series as though they only recently read the books – and they are 30 years old!! Just think about it. Some stories last forever, like Gone With the Wind. Why? Because they were big books involving memorable characters and were sweeping historical romances. There is so little of that today on the book shelves, and I think readers are hungry for them.
I love writing about “TRUE” love, especially the kind it took to stay together through the incredible challenges of settling America’s frontiers. I could go on for pages and pages about the hardships our pioneers endured, but you can find all of that in my books. I am just so thrilled that the R.T. convention will bring attention to that kind of writing … TRUE ROMANCE at its best, and the authors who made it happen! I make a toast to all of them, and to the hope that the sweeping romantic stories of the 80’s will make it back to today’s bookshelves!
Meantime, I’ll be promoting my own new western romance, Paradise Valley (July 2013) at the conference and mixing and meeting and mingling with the Divas of the 80’s! What fun!