Women's fiction is an umbrella term for women centered books that focus on women's life experience that are marketed to female readers, and includes many mainstream novels or women's rights Books. It is distinct from Women's writing, which refers to literature written by (rather than promoted to) women. There exists no comparable label in English for works of fiction that are marketed to men.
The Romance Writers of America organization defines women's fiction as, "a commercial novel about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship."
Genre fiction, also known as popular fiction, is a term used in the book-trade for fictional works written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre, in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre.
A romance novel or romantic novel is a type of novel and genre fiction which places its primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and usually has an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."
Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, known professionally as A. S. Byatt, is an English novelist, poet and Booker Prize winner. In 2008, The Times newspaper named her on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Chick lit or chick literature is genre fiction, which "consists of heroine-centered narratives that focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists". The genre often addresses issues of modern womanhood – from romantic relationships to female friendships to matters in the workplace – in humorous and lighthearted ways. At its onset, chick lit's protagonists tended to be "single, white, heterosexual, British and American women in their late twenties and early thirties, living in metropolitan areas". The genre became popular in the late 1990s, with chick lit titles topping bestseller lists and the creation of imprints devoted entirely to chick lit. Chick lit critics generally agreed that British author Catherine Alliott's The Old Girl Network (1994) was the start of the chick lit genre and the inspiration for Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary (1996) which was wildly popular and is the "ur-text" of chick lit.
Young adult fiction (YA) is a category of fiction written for readers from 12 to 18 years of age. While the genre is targeted to teenagers, approximately half of YA readers are adults.
Regency romances are a subgenre of romance novels set during the period of the British Regency (1811–1820) or early 19th century. Rather than simply being versions of contemporary romance stories transported to a historical setting, Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions. These derive not so much from the 19th-century contemporary works of Jane Austen, but rather from Georgette Heyer, who wrote over two dozen novels set in the Regency starting in 1935 until her death in 1974, and from the fiction genre known as the novel of manners. In particular, the more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialogue between the protagonists and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex.
Mills & Boon is a romance imprint of British publisher Harlequin UK Ltd. It was founded in 1908 by Gerald Rusgrove Mills and Charles Boon as a general publisher. The company moved towards escapist fiction for women in the 1930s. In 1971, the publisher was bought by the Canadian company Harlequin Enterprises, its North American distributor based in Toronto, with whom it had a long informal partnership. The two companies offer a number of imprints that between them account for almost three-quarters of the romance paperbacks published in Britain. Its print books are presently out-numbered and out-sold by the company's e-books, which allowed the publisher to double its output.
Lesbian pulp fiction is a genre of lesbian literature that refers to any mid-20th century paperback novel or pulp magazine with overtly lesbian themes and content. Lesbian pulp fiction was published in the 1950s and 60s by many of the same paperback publishing houses that other genres of fiction including westerns, romances, and detective fiction. Because very little other literature was available for and about lesbians at this time, quite often these books were the only reference the public had for modeling what lesbians were. Stephanie Foote, from the University of Illinois commented on the importance of lesbian pulp novels to the lesbian identity prior to feminism: "Pulps have been understood as signs of a secret history of readers, and they have been valued because they have been read. The more they are read, the more they are valued, and the more they are read, the closer the relationship between the very act of circulation and reading and the construction of a lesbian community becomes...Characters use the reading of novels as a way to understand that they are not alone."
Paranormal romance is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances, such as those published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common hallmarks are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature.
Inspirational fiction is a sub-category within "inspirational literature," or "inspirational writing," defined in various ways in the United States and other nations. More and more bookstores and libraries consider inspirational fiction to be a separate genre, classifying and shelving books accordingly.
Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a national non-profit genre writers association. It provides networking and support to individuals seriously pursuing a career in romance fiction and is one of the largest writers' organizations in the United States.
Marijane Meaker is an American novelist and short story writer in several genres using different pen names. From 1952 to 1969 she wrote twenty mystery and crime novels as Vin Packer, including Spring Fire, which is credited with launching the genre of lesbian pulp fiction. Using her own observations of lesbians in the 1950s and 1960s, she wrote a series of nonfiction books about lesbians under the pen name Ann Aldrich from 1955 to 1972. In 1972 she switched genres and pen names once more to begin writing for young adults, and became quite successful as M.E. Kerr, producing over 20 novels and winning multiple awards including the American Library Association's lifetime award for young-adult literature, the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award. She was described by The New York Times Book Review as "one of the grand masters of young adult fiction." As Mary James, she has written four books for younger children.
Jennifer Crusie is a pseudonym for Jennifer Smith, a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romance novels. She has written more than twenty novels, which have been published in 20 countries.
Lesbian literature is a subgenre of literature addressing lesbian themes. It includes poetry, plays, fiction addressing lesbian characters, and non-fiction about lesbian-interest topics.
Historical romance is a broad category of fiction in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Walter Scott helped popularize this genre in the early 19th-century, with works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. Literary fiction historical romances continue to be published, and a notable recent example is Wolf Hall (2009), a multi-award-winning novel by English historical novelist Hilary Mantel. It is also a genre of mass-market fiction, which is related to the broader romantic love genre.
Rita Gallagher, a founding member of the Romance Writers of America, was a noted writing instructor of romance novels. She also wrote three women's historical fiction novels from 1982 to 1986.
Contemporary romance is a subgenre of romance novels, generally set contemporaneously with the time of its writing. The largest of the romance novel subgenres, contemporary romance novels usually reflect the mores of their time. Heroines in the contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they married or had children, while those novels written after 1970 usually have, and keep, a career. As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women's fiction has blurred.
Jennifer Archer is an author of young adult/teen fiction, women's fiction and romance born in Cleburne, north central Texas. Her novels typically have strong female protagonists, and have been nominated for numerous awards.
A novelist is an author or writer of novels, though often novelists also write in other genres of both fiction and non-fiction. Some novelists are professional novelists, thus make a living writing novels and other fiction, while others aspire to support themselves in this way or write as an avocation. Most novelists struggle to get their debut novel published, but once published they often continue to be published, although very few become literary celebrities, thus gaining prestige or a considerable income from their work.
Jeannie Lin is an author of historical romance novels. Her debut novel Butterfly Swords won the Golden Heart award for Historical fiction from the Romance Writers of America association.
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