Why Not Nostalgic Romance as a Subgenre?
It seems romance publishers would have us believe romantic love went dormant in the years following World War II until present day. I suspect this isn’t thecase, since people born between 1946 and 1964 were dubbed as Baby Boomers, due to the population explosion that took place in America during that period.
The early 60s introduced oral contraceptives, and by the middle of the decade over twenty-five percent of American couples using birth control chose the Pill. Therefore,it’s probably safe to assume the rapid drop in the U.S. birth rate had more to do with increasingly effective contraception than any lack of sexual activity.
In truth, the Pill liberated women from unwanted pregnancies and caused social mores to shift, making it more acceptable for single woman to be sexually active. Even the protest placards of the Vietnam War era advocated free love with slogans like Make Love, Not War.So it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that, since the first American test-tube baby wasn’t born until late December 1981, previously, there had to be a whole lotta lovin’ goin’ on.
Our world and gender roles changed dramatically between World War II and the late 70s/early 80’s when the United Kingdom embraced their first female prime minister, Americans elected a movie star as president, disco died, and the Internet was born.
Rosie the Riveter’s husband came home from the war and expected her to return to the kitchen so he could have his job back. The Cold War began between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. And only four short years later, the U.S. became embroiled in another military conflict in Korea, which was a war, officially declared or not.
Two years after our soldiers returned from Korea, Rosa Parks valiantly kicked off the Montgomery Bus Boycott with her arrest for refusing to give her seat on the bus to a white man. Soon our soldiers deployed again, this time to Vietnam for another undeclared war that caused great dissension in America. Young men dodged the draft, rock ‘n roll ruled with the British invasion in American music, and beehive hairdos were all the rage.
Blacks and whites alike cried over the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr.,and Bobby Kennedy. NASA fulfilled President Kennedy’s vow to win the race for space when the U.S. landed first on the moon during the summer of ‘69 justbefore rock ‘n roll stars closed the New York Thruway with their three-day concert at Woodstock. In 1973, during the height of the Watergate scandal, our soldiers and POWs finally came home and the country turned its back on the vets who’dserved so selflessly.
It was a time of dissension, an era of protest and conflict, not only in the world, but at home between men and women whose gender roles were rapidly changing. Women decided if black men could be liberated, then why not women. Suddenly,daddy was washing bottles and changing diapers while mommy hopped on the Affirmative Action bandwagon, symbolically burned her bra, and pursued a career,demanding equal pay.
Never in history has the world seen another 35-year period ripe with so much potential for romantic conflict. So why are romance publishers so afraid of allowing authors to explore this period? It’s true this era before the digital age of computers and cell phones isn’t contemporary, and it’s not far enough back in time for classification as historical. However, it is definitely nostalgic.
While in high school, I, like a lot of people my age, wore a POW/MIA bracelet. My heart wept for these soldiers and their families who were separated for up to nine years while the men were physically and mentally tortured. Some of our GIs never came home. Others returned to grown children who saw them as strangers, some discovered their wives had moved on to other relationships, and far too many came back as hollow shells of the carefree young men they’d once been.
When I began writing thirteen years ago, I knew nothing about the unwritten rules of romance. I’d never forgotten those families and felt compelled to write one of them a happy ending. When I pitched the resulting book at my first national Romance Writers of America®conference, the editor broke down sobbing, not just because the story moved her, but because she was forced to break some sad news to me—absolutelyno NY publisher would acquire a romance set in 1973.
I was devastated and, without success, I unsuccessfully tried to rouse interest in the industry to develop anew subgenre—Nostalgic Romance. So when the e-book market recently matured enough to make self-publishing a profitable alternative, I saw it as an opportunity to tell the story of The Memory of You as it was meant to betold—set in 1973. My hope is this book will be read and loved by enough people it will force the romance industry to accept stories set between World War II and 1980—the advent of the Computer Age, which drastically changed our society.
If you would like to read this heartwarming,blast-from-past love story and support the promotion of nostalgic romance as another subgenre, The Memory of You is available Amazon.com in both e-book as well as paperback. To find out more about the author, Laurie Kellogg, and her books, visit her at http://www.LaurieKellogg.com.