This month talented Australian author has released two new works, both in new genres for the author best known for her rural romances. Her two new releases mean we have been able to get on board for two blog tours this month to have Rachael tell us about something relevant to her new works. Today she talks about the differences and similarities she has found with Rural Romance and Life Lit genres.
Rachael has also just been out on a 5 Australian state tour for The Patterson Girls and I hope some of you got out to see her, unfortunately I missed her in Adelaide this time round.
Thanks for being here again Rachael.
What’s the difference between rural romance and life lit?
I’m mostly known for writing rural romances but my most recent release – The Patterson Girls – is being marketed as Women’s Fiction. Aside from the cover which is very different to my rural books, there are a number of other reasons for this differentiation.
Whereas my previous books have all focused on the relationship between a hero and heroine facing issues in a small rural community, the focus in The Patterson Girls is on family more than community and the relationships explored are those of sisters not lovers. For a book to be a romance, there must be a happy-ever-after at the end, but this is not a requirement in women’s fiction. In women’s fiction the story is generally more about the journey of a character to discover something about themselves. The key women in the story may or may not find love at the end of their journey, but they will have grown as a person. In a romance, however both the hero and heroine must change and grow by the end of the book.
To me, in women’s fiction the central focus is on a woman (or women) and the many issues that they deal with in everyday life, but I believe many of these issues are not specifically related to women and therefore I must admit my dislike of the term ‘Women’s fiction.’ I think Life Lit is a much more suitable term as these stories often deal with universal emotions such as loss, grief, love, parenthood, growing old, betrayal, that both men and women can relate to.
Unlike rural romances, Life Lit novels can be set in small towns or big cities or anything in between. This is probably a generalization but there’s also usually a wider portrayal of career choices in these stories, where in rural romance more often than not at least one of the main characters will work on the land.
Natural disasters – such as fire, drought, floods, etc – and mother nature can become almost like an additional character in rural romances, whereas they tend to be seen less in women’s fiction. The drama in women’s fiction may be more internal but then again, any good romance will also explore universal emotional issues that all readers can relate to.
The Patterson Girls is about four sisters and their relationships with each other as they navigate life’s highs and lows, but there are also a number of similarities to my rural romances. Although three of the sisters are currently living overseas and there are scenes in London, Melbourne, Perth and Baltimore, much of the story is set in a small (fictional) community in rural South Australia. And because I am a die-hard romantic at heart, of course the Patterson sisters have love interests and numerous complications that come along with them.
No matter whether I’m writing a story that is classified as rural romance or women’s fiction, I hope my faithful readers will enjoy the stories I have to tell. RJ.