This week’s featured author is Amy Sandas, one of my fellow Samhain erotic historical authors. She’s talking about something I always battle with, what is the difference between a hot historical and an erotic one. Let’s see her answer:
What’s the Difference?
Hi everyone. I am excited to be here today. I write sexy Historical Romance set in Regency England featuring bold men and daring women. When Jess invited me to blog on her site, she suggested I discuss the difference between Erotic Historical Romance and Historical Romance that is hot and steamy, but not erotic. I thought it was a great idea, because, honestly, I was very curious about exploring that difference.
Before I go much further, I must make a confession: prior to receiving Jess’s invitation to blog on this topic I had never read an Erotic Historical Romance. *gasp* I know.
So obviously, I had to do some research.
My first challenge came in figuring out what titles to buy and start reading. I searched Amazon by erotic historical romance, but I wasn’t always sure all the books that came up were truly erotic. I googled erotic historical authors and got some names to search instead. With a reading list eventually settled, I got down to it.
Now, I started this process with a notion that it would be relatively easy to define the difference between EHR and HR. I figured I’d be able to come up with a basic checklist of what one subgenre has that the other does not. (Most of you are probably laughing at my ignorance right now. I don’t blame you.) While I think there are a few things you might find in an erotic historical you wouldn’t find out of it, such as; ménage scenarios or multiple partners, true BDSM (I’m not talking light spanking or a little bondage, which you can probably find in most subgenres these days), or fetishism, none of the titles I chose for my research pool contained any of those elements.
As I read, I often asked myself what makes this story erotic, and I struggled to come up with a clear answer. The heroes were roguish and noble and everything in between. The heroines were debutantes seeking adventure, courtesans, wives, widows, complete innocents, women with more knowledge than experience and women with more experience than the hero. In many cases, the sex did seem more straight-forward with less euphemisms and the use of more slang terms, though again, this was not true across the board. The heroines generally tended to be more relaxed about the exploring their sexuality despite the social dictates of the time, even the innocents.
Of the titles I had chosen, the hero and heroine were monogamous once they began their relationship. (In one, the hero thought he was with another woman, but it was actually his wife in disguise.) I could say there were more sex scenes than an average HR and that the first sex scene came earlier, and while that was true in some of the titles, it was not for them all. In a couple, there were elements of voyeurism and in one there was also some bondage, sexual gameplay, and an orgy, though the H/h only observed and did not participate.
A common thing I noticed…likely what makes all of these stories Romance, is that the H and h are truly meant for each other. Whatever their background, however they came to be together, whatever their original intentions had been, they fall in love and commit to each other.
I still have more reading to do (much more *wink*), but so far, I have not really been able to settle on what I feel is a good description of the difference between HER and HR. What throws me off is that so many of the things I noticed in the EHR I read can also be found, perhaps to a lesser extent, perhaps not, in books defined as HR. While most HR do go with an innocent heroine, that is not a hard and fast rule like it may have been a few decades ago. The heroines of HR come from various backgrounds and experience levels.
Although the inclusion of certain elements (mentioned earlier) would clearly tip the scales, there seem to be just as many instances where the difference between EHR and HR seems less about specific content and more about intention maybe, or tone, or maybe something else…
So what do you think? My experience with EHR is admittedly very limited so I am curious to know if I am even coming close to figuring this out. How would you define the difference between Erotic Historical Romance and hot Historical Romance? I would love for this to become a discussion, so please share your thoughts! Is there a particular book or author who defines the subgenre for you? Is there a specific element you expect to find when you open an Erotic Historical Romance?
Author Bio – Amy Sandas
Amy’s love of romance began one summer when she was thirteen and complained of boredom. She ended up with one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books and an obsessive interest that expanded from there. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
She writes in the early mornings while her young kids are still asleep and dreams of a future when she can write all day instead of going to her “other” job. In the evenings, Amy is a full-time wife and mother who enjoys pizza, wine and dark brooding heroes … namely, her husband.
Eliza Terribury is determined to be the first of her sisters to evade her mother’s attempts to shoo her down the aisle. Her novel-writing dreams will wither under the demands placed on a gentleman’s wife.
Saddled with his title at a young age, Michael Gerard, the elusive Marquess of Rutherford, has always done his duty, but he will not be pressured into choosing a wife. He just never expected the rush of attraction every time the impertinent young Eliza crosses his path.
When a completely innocent incident leaves Rutherford’s hands in a compromising position on Eliza’s bare skin, they have no choice but to announce an engagement. Privately, they agree to seek a way out of the unwanted nuptials.
Yet Eliza’s free spirit and understated sensuality stirs Michael’s desire. And Eliza discovers there is more to the arrogant lord than meets the eye, especially when she wonders if it is purely her writer’s imagination that puts his face behind a mysterious highwayman’s mask.
You can find Amy on her blog at http://amysandas.wordpress.com
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmySandas?ref=hl
Or Tweet her at https://twitter.com/#!/AmySandas
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