In the wake of #MeToo and Time’s Up, how do authors write a good sex scene? How ‘bad’ should the bad boy be? Romance writers and editors reflect on how the genre is changing
In early November 2016, Sarah MacLean was 275 pages into writing her latest historical romance novel, The Day of the Duchess. She had hit all the right buttons – a titled (and entitled) duke; a beautiful, estranged wife touched by scandal; and an insurmountable challenge the pair had to mount before they could, well, mount each other. And then Donald Trump was elected. And MacLean couldn’t bear her hero any more.
“I woke up on 9 November and I was like, ‘I can’t write another one of these rich entitled impenetrable alphas. I just can’t,” says the New York Times bestselling author. “It was the story of that horrible impenetrable alpha evolving through love to be a fully formed human, which is a thing we do a lot in romance. And I just couldn’t see a way in my head that he would ultimately not be a Trump voter.”