what to expect

Lauren Layne Books

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What is upscale romantic fiction?

Make no mistake:

When you pick up a Lauren Layne book, you are getting a romance.

My books have plots. My stories feature friendship and family. My characters go through personal and/or professional growth. But the romantic relationship between the man and the woman will always be the heart of a Lauren Layne story.

Are my books romance novels? Absolutely. They are novels about romance!

So why do I call my books upscale romantic fiction?

Because the romance genre has exploded in recent years, but the classification hasn’t expanded along with it. There are more books listed as “romance” than ever before, but there are also more types of romance, and the types don’t have names.

I’m a romance writer, but I’m also a romance reader, and with so many options, I was finding it increasingly difficult to know what type of romance I was going to get. Flirty and fun? Dark and moody? Explicit and a little filthy? Plot-centric? Sex-focused? Sweet and subtle?

In other words, “romance novel” is no longer cutting it as a descriptor in this post-Fifty Shades of Grey world.

I label my books as upscale romantic fiction in an attempt to let readers know what type of romance you’ll be getting. I’m a little bit fancy in real life (think pearls, high heels, and champagne), and you’ll see a lot of that reflected in my books.

Most of my stories are set against the glamorous backdrop of Manhattan. I tend to favor suit-wearing heroes and stiletto wearing heroines. Many of my books do feature explicit sex-scenes and the occasional swear word, but you should not expect anything super raw and gritty when you pick up my books.

There are exceptions. Good Girl is set in Louisiana, features a country-music heroine, and is very steamy. Crushed is set in Texas, the main characters quirky, and anything but elegant. Made for You is set in the Seattle suburbs, and Runaway Groom is a Bachelor-inspired romance set on Maui. Cuff Me is about two cops, and gets downright dirty.

But in general, my heroines are likely to wear lipstick, my heroes unlikely to have tattoos, and it’s quite probable that my characters will share a fancy drink in a New York City high-rise at some point in the story.

But regardless of what you call my books, upscale or not, romance novel or "women’s fiction,” my intention with every book is always the same:

I hope you smile. I hope you get butterflies.

That’s it.

Oh, and happily-ever-after is always guaranteed.