Lately I’ve been asked by a number of readers, and some authors too, to define a “sweet” or “clean” romance. While there seems to be some discrepancy within the publishing industry around these terms, the general consensus is that sweet romances emphasize the emotional intimacy between the hero and the heroine. Although these stories may contain sexual tension, they do not contain sex scenes—think of G to PG rated movies. It is possible for the hero and heroine to have had a sexual history, but it’s not shown on the page. Kissing is okay. Everything else is frowned upon. The same thing applies to offensive language.
These stories have internal and external conflicts, like any romance, but the sweet romance doesn’t contain violence. While the characters struggle and eventually find their happily-ever-after, it’s done with an underlying sweet theme.
Sweet romance is often confused with Inspirational romance. However, the two are different. Faith may play a role, but if it does, it’s not a key factor in a sweet romance, as it is in an Inspirational.
Because I follow the principles above, most of my books are sweet romances, even though I write in a variety of genres.
If you’ve been confused by the term “sweet” or clean” romance, I hope I’ve helped to define this very popular genre.
USA Today bestselling author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, along with paranormal and romantic suspense. She’s a Daphne du Maurier Award winner and a Golden Heart finalist.