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Write On! Features: Writing Romance In Today’s World by Sue Moorcroft

by Sue Moorcroft

(c) Silvia Rosado Photography

When Madeleine White, the Editor of Write On! asked me whether a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association ( might like to write a feature to connect to Valentine’s Day, I said I’d reach out. After all, we’ve partnered on several things and it seemed a lovely opportunity to get the aims and ethos of the RNA, the organisation of which I’m president, out there. But then Madeleine suggested she’d like to see something around the importance of romance writing, whatever the state of the world, and I felt my own writing muscles twitching!

I believe there’s a need for books that touch on pain and difficulty, but that are also feel-good and shine a light on happy endings. In real life, we encounter both good and bad. Work issues haunt us but a new baby in the family brings us joy. We suffer a loss but find comfort in talking to good friends. Grief or joy, loss or gain . . . while experiencing these life events, we can fall in love. And we do.

That’s how I see Romantic Fiction. Love is part of life.

I also believe that endings, happy or otherwise, are just a question of how a story’s told. If a novelist takes the premise of a couple getting together and, after all the love story’s twists and turns, ends it when the protagonists have fallen in love and are planning a life together, they’ve written a romance. But go into how one of those same characters discovers unfaithfulness, cursing the erstwhile partner and plotting to kill him/her, it becomes a crime novel.

I choose to write the romance!

‘Romance And Saga’ is the full name of the category in publishing terms, and it’s one of the best-selling genres in the UK: with room for love stories of varying periods, settings, heat-levels, orientation, word counts, faiths, otherworldliness, or whatever. Who to share a life with is one of the most important decisions a person makes, so it’s no surprise that readers are endlessly fascinated by the subject, whether the love’s between the people you might meet in Tesco, a king and a queen, or a soothsayer and a shapeshifter.

I also read Romance (you won’t be surprised to learn) and the reason I read it (or listen to it) is the same reason that I write it: I like the feeling of falling in love. Romantic fiction gives me ‘all the feels’ without any of the risk. Also, I like books that make me happy rather than scared. Although I’m a wuss when it comes to reading gritty crime, I like romantic suspense because there is an element of jeopardy but always the happy ending. Do I find that comforting? Maybe that’s it.

Nevertheless, Romantic Fiction provides scope to explore issues. I’m currently writing the Skye Sisters trilogy, concerning three sisters and their adoption stories. Prison and crime come into it, and also alcohol dependency, prejudice, divorce, teenage pregnancy, genetics, abandonment, rural living, social media bullying, law, TV, and the running of a visitor attraction. So, my argument stands: Romantic Fiction is like real life, in that the love story’s important, but it’s not all about the love. You may have heard that romance is not A’s story or B’s story – it’s their story. I’m afraid ‘it’s their story’ doesn’t do justice to the romance genre that I know. I write A’s story and B’s story. Their stories entangle, but all of A’s conflicts and goals are resolved and all of B’s conflicts and goals are resolved. Tip: I always begin with conflicts and goals. If I can make A’s conflicts and goals conflict with B’s conflicts and goals, I have the potential for a tight plot. You might see tight plots expressed as tropes such as ‘enemies to lovers’ or ‘right person, wrong time’.

I haven’t always been able to get my novels published. My first proper published works were short stories for magazines. They weren’t always romantic, but they were about relationships. From there, I was able to interest editors in serials and I finally got my first novel published nearly ten years on from selling my first story. Along the same timeline, it was while I was writing magazine fiction – about the year 2000 – that I heard of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and, specifically, its New Writers’ Scheme. An organisation that would allow me to submit a manuscript to be appraised by a published author in my genre? The from-the-horse’s-mouth feedback appealed to me, and I joined a couple of days later. I’ve been a member ever since.

The Romantic Novelists’ Association exists to raise the prestige of Romantic Fiction, and to encourage romantic authorship. They champion the quality and diversity of both. Their membership categories include Full, New Writers’ Scheme, Friends Of The RNA and Aspiring Writers. They also welcome publishing professionals, booksellers, book reviewers and writers in other media as Associate Members. You can read my recent post about what the Association means to me here, but in short: its conferences and parties brought floods of learning and networking opportunities; the NWS co-ordinator (at that time novelist and tutor Margaret James) suggested agents and editors to submit to, leading me to my first agent. I made author friends, who provided me with experience to draw on and shoulders to cry on. There are online events and courses as well as in-person, discussion groups and chapters.

Like St Valentine’s Day, Romance is a commercial success. It’s all I want to write, and it’s a constant joy to me that it earns me a living. I’ve had a long writing career with ups and downs, but little of it would exist without the Romance genre – and the RNA.


Sue Moorcroft is an award-winning, Sunday Times bestselling author, reaching #1 on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US, Canada and Italy. She’s president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Connect with Sue: X  @suemoorcroft  Instagram @suemoorcroftauthor


Issue 19 of Write On! is out now and you can read it online here. Find it in libraries and other outlets. You can find previous editions of our magazines here.

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Who to share a life with is one of the most important decisions a person makes, so it’s no surprise readers are endlessly fascinated by the subject.