Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Further Meditation on Romance Novel Titles: Historical Fiction Edition

So after I got back to work on the Romantic Times Book Reviews Nominees for the 2009 RT Awards(see the previous post on this subject), I found that there was yet more material for me to work with, in the form of the "Best Historical Novels" category. It turns out that historical romance writers, with all of history to work with, have a surprisingly limited range of words when they are naming their books. I decided to see if I could use the data I collected to create a kind of "uber-historical romance title" that would fit almost any book in the subgenre.

Out of 80 titles (I left out the "Historical Biography" category, which featured 4 queens, 1 king, and a virgin, on the grounds that it strayed toward nonfiction), titles that included the word:

Scotland or Highland: 11
Wicked: 9
Lord/Lady/Laird: 8 [This does not include Duke/Duchess(3), Courtesan(2), Queen(2), Marquess(1), Baron(1), Earl(1), or Knight(1)--including those would bring the total of nobility-based titles up to 19, or about 25% of the total]
Tempt/Temptation/Tempted: 7
Mid/Night: 4
Devil: 3

Now, the Scotland count is a bit skewed, due to the "Scotland-Set Historical Romance" category, which consists of five novels, but still, I didn't even include the new Diana Gabaldon in my assessment. I think we can probably place a large amount of the blame on her for the Scots-Romance boom.

Taking all these factors into consideration, I have decided that my Ultimate Historical Romance Title, which I will apply to an as-yet unwritten masterpiece of fiction, will be (drum roll):

Tempting the Wicked Scottish Lord at Midnight

A quick check of the Library of Congress assures me that this title is STILL AVAILABLE. I can hardly believe it! I should probably get to writing TWSLM right away, but as I am on vacation, I think I will put it off until 2010.

ETA: My favorite title on this list was, hands-down, The Runaway McBride.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

The romance novel I'm reading currently (hey, it's vacation!) has a Scottish vampire. Yup. I dunno what it is with the Scottish thing. I find their accents pretty annoying to read.

Otoh, your romance title is perfect! Best get to writing before some Harlequin or Avon writer snatches it up! ;-)