Paradoxa Interview with Nora Roberts

Publication year
Para.doxa: Studies in World Literary Genres

Roberts discusses changes in romance from the 70s onwards (e.g. careers for heroines, changes in sexuality and in the personalities of both heroines and heroes). Here are some quotes:

I did submit manuscripts to Harlequin in '79 and '80. Basically, they were the only game in town for category romance. I got the standard rejection for the first couple of tries, then my favorite rejection of all time. I received my manuscript back with a nice little note which said that my work showed promise, and the story had been very entertaining and well done. But that they (Harlequin) already had their American writer. That would have been Janet Dailey. My take was, they already had the best, why buy more Yanks. (154)


My job, and my desire, is to tell a good, entertaining story. I do believe it's important to sculpt strong characters [...]. I don't care for easily manipulated people - male or female - as my protagonists. I enjoy writing about challenging people. I also feel, as romances are primarily read by women, that to offer independent-minded women who face life on their own terms, is vital. I've often crafted a woman who had suffered and overcome abuse of one form or another. I'm interested is [sic] how a woman deals with this horror and triumphs over it. From the reader mail I receive, I understand that having characters who have coped, or who are during the course of the book, coping with this kind of problem, offers strength and hope to women who are facing it in their lives. (161)