What is ‘romantic fiction’? – Talking Books with author Bethany Askew

My fortnightly book programme on 10Radio is going really well. I am enjoying discussions with a wide variety of guests and if it all sounds as if we are just having a good old chinwag about our favourite subject – books, poetry, reading and the written word in all its forms – then that is pretty close to the truth.

out of stepTwo weeks ago I spent a really interesting thirty minutes in the company of author Bethany Askew. Bethany has been writing women’s commercial literature for twelve years and has completed four novels; The Double Life of Jemma Langford, Out Of Step and Counting The Days and The Time Before. The first two are currently available on Amazon Kindle and Bethany also writes poetry and short stories.

So how do you define fiction that is, mainly, read by women? We came to the conclusion that what one person might call ‘romance’ is actually what is often, somewhat disparagingly called ‘chick lit’, or ‘women’s popular fiction’. Do we want pure escapism? As my lovely friend Lucy said ‘ I like a happy ending! If I need s**t romantic f**kups then I can just stick to my ACTUAL LIFE.’ I used this quote in the show, but missed out the rude words for fear of being taken off the air….

Many people did want a challenge though. The books and authors we discussed more often wrote about relationships than romance. Life does not have neat and tidy outcomes and even happiness can come at a price. The authors that were recommended to me on social media were not necessarily the ones I expected, we ranged across the last two centuries and we had an interesting discussion about women’s fiction that is most popular in libraries…

So do listen to the show on the link below.  Bethany was a great guest – knowledgeable and willing to share a lot about her writing life. She read a passage from her work and chose the most wonderful piece of music to end the show.

I must apologise for a few ums and ars as it was a month since the previous programme and I actually wasn’t very well, but we soon warmed up.

Bethany has a great website at http://www.bethanyaskew.co.uk/ which offers full details and some examples of her work. I would like to thank her very much for joining in the conversation. Talking Books is a pleasure to do and I am so glad to have the opportunity to spend 30 minutes talking about my favourite subject every fortnight!


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