Genre Classification of Romantic Suspense Novels

Posted on Posted in Publishers and Pitches, The Writing Life


Dilemma. How to fit a book into a recognised genre slot?

I am trying to work out where my new idea for a Single Title Book would be classified – by a literary agent, a publisher and  a bookseller.


Here are the key aspects of the idea:

* Contemporary city location – not small town

* The heroine is the amateur female detective trying to solve a puzzle which is very personal to her – while holding down a normal job in which she is skilled

* Witty but not laugh out loud dialogue and hero/heroine banter- intended to be a fun read. [Think Jenny Crusie and some Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson etc.]

* Romantic – hero and heroine meet and form a relationship by the end of the book, but no closure

* No violence and medium sensuality rating – no detailed sex scenes for example.

* Intended to be first book in a series for this amateur female detective.

*Not a hard Romantic Suspense Novel aka Tami Hoag, Nora Roberts et al but more of a Light Crime Fun read.

At first I thought it would qualify as a Cozy Mystery but then no, more of a contemporary Single Title Romance with some amateur detective work as a plot device.  But not a Romantic Comedy.

I recall speaking to a UK literary agent several years ago and her view was that in the UK a light style of Romantic Suspense would definitely be pitched as a Romance, while in the US..?

Clearly a lot more research needed! LOL.

5 thoughts on “Genre Classification of Romantic Suspense Novels

  1. I like a good mystery with a lot of suspence. I also like happy endings. I have the same problem with my books. I write adventure novels with a lot of romance. However I have a problem fiting them in a single category.

  2. Such a good post, Nina. I struggle with this too, have 3 manuscripts done but they don’t quite fit the standard romance fare, too much suspense, but not of the standard type(eg. seals or spies), so not suitable for intrigue line.
    Let us know who likes it! (So I can bombard them with stuff too!)

  3. Lacey, the suspense element is the main plot device – the heroine has more baggage than Victoria Beckham and the crime throws her out of her comfort zone – enter the hero stage left.
    And as I type this I think I have answered my own question – Thanks Nell – I suspect you are right. The romance is NOT the main conflict.
    All I have to do now is write the book… LOL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *