Most people know that I’m not usually the go-to person for romance (despite the fact that I do co-edit Pulse’s clean romance line, FLIRT). I tend to be very critical of romantic relationships, the development of them, character chemistry, etc. and there are many beloved YA couples that, in all honesty, I just don’t totally get.
That said, I would love to see a big, epic, grand romantic story that I just get completely pulled into. The kind that makes me feel all the feels and emote all the emotions.
The question now, of course, is what do I look for?
And it’s a really good question.
Like I said, I co-edit the FLIRT books, which are straight-forward, clean romance books. Something I really like about those (besides the amazing skill I’ve seen from the authors!) is that the romances aren’t held up to be all-encompassing, timeless, against all odds, or unrealistically unreasonable. They are crushes, that hopefully become something more. They feel true-to-life, and are reminiscent of real life (positive, good outcome) romances and first kisses. That realism goes a long way with me.
But since I did say I’d like something huge and epic…I think the main thing, for me, is that the characters don’t fall in love immediately, and that their love isn’t necessarily destined, per se. I want to see the main character (boy or girl or other) crush on and actually fall for the love interest (boy or girl or other).
I’m also a big fan of characters being whole and complete beyond their love interests (and the same for the love interest). Smoldering, brooding boys are great…but is that all they can be? Nope!
Also, since solid romance isn’t often my thing, I love when there are other aspects to the story unrelated (in the right ways) to the romance. Something else for the characters to worry about. The romance could still be front and center, but (generally), if the subplots are mostly related to the ways/reasons the characters can’t be together, it’s probably not the right book for me.
Hopefully this puts some agents and authors on the right track…but, when it doubt, just ask! You never know when an editor might connect with something unexpected!
P.S. This title could be misleading to those of you with classical/medieval literature training…but if you want to send me an epic romance of that sort, I’m definitely open to it! I’m still looking for my Arthurian legend…