Rebecca Zanetti, Anna Todd, Christina Lauren, Jessica Cluess, and Stephanie Perkins talked all things romance during SDCC’s “Embracing the Romantic!” panel. Check out our round-up post + 30 images!
Being the romance fan I am, you know I’ll take every opportunity to share to swoon and flail over my faves, including at San Diego Comic-Con!
At this year’s SDCC, Rebecca Zanetti, Anna Todd, Christina Lauren, Jessica Cluess, and Stephanie Perkins got together for the “Embracing the Romantic!” authors panel, moderated by Carrie Sessarego of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. These authors may write across different genres—action-adventure, paranormal, YA, historical fiction, contemporary—but all of them celebrate the role that romantic relationships play in producing compelling stories.
On why we should all embrace the romantic, Stephanie Perkins responded about how falling in love is the closest thing we have to magic and how addictive that feeling can be. Similarly, Anna Todd spoke of romance is universal, while Rebecca Zanetti highlighted the challenge of writing two characters who might be initially opposed to one another and then the journey of bringing them together.
When discussing what makes for a good love story, Christina Lauren responded that, for them, it’s all about the characters and reading/writing people different from us. Jessica Cluess focussed on hope and how love stories can demonstrate how things can change. For Rebecca Zanetti, the best love story is able to sweep the readers away in the fantasy of it all.
Similarly, when asked what makes a compelling love scene, each author had some pretty great responses. For Christina Lauren, it’s all about the energy of excitement and finally getting the reader and characters to that point. At the same time, it’s important that the intimacy matches characters and their realistic level of experience. Stephanie Perkins and Rebecca Zanetti shared similar thoughts: it’s important that the love scene be an emotional experience that changes characters (perhaps even increasing tension), and moving the characters and plot forward.
Interestingly, during the Q/A section, the authors took on the criticism that romance glorifies unhealthy relationships? For Anna Todd, she was adamant that romance novels are NOT dating guides. And the truth is that, in real life, many of us make bad decisions. In romance novels, we can explore redemption stories and processes of change. Christina Lauren argued that most critics of romance have rarely read a variety of stories in the genre. Besides, why are people telling women what to read? Read and write what you’re into! And Jessica Cluess just didn’t believe readers were that gullible, that we’re able to understand the fantasy and limits in application to our real life relationships.
Finally, when asked to share a book recommendation for someone who’s never read romance:
Stephanie Perkins: Autoboyography, the upcoming YA M/M romance from Christina Lauren, “so good and important…and rare”.
Christina Lauren: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.
Jessica Cluess: anything by Tessa Dare, favorite is Any Duchess will Do.
Rebecca Zanetti: The Plus One Chronicles Series by Jennifer Lyon.
Anna Todd: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.
Check out 30 images from the “Embracing the Romantic!” panel and make sure to add all of these authors to your TBR lists!
Are you a romance fan? What do you enjoy most about the genre and who are some of your faves? Share your thoughts in comments!