Posted On September 25, 2013 by Print This Post

Avon Romance Editor Lucia Macro’s Wish List for Historical Romances

I’m very excited to welcome back Avon Romance editor LUCIA MACRO.
brand Lucia will be out of her office for a few days — she will come back to respond to questions on Monday (or possibly sooner). Don’t forget to check back!

Lately I’ve been wading through the pages and pages of tattooed love boys (yes I stole that phrase—bonus points if you can identify the source!), hard-luck waitresses with drug-addled parents, college dormitories, and backstage passes known as New Adult. It seems the contemporary romance is hotter than ever, leaving our quick-witted earl’s daughters and dangerous dukes in the dust.

But all is never lost in the ever-changing world of romance. Trends change, tastes change, and what’s most important, everyone can take tips from each other along the way. Now, I love a contemporary romance (or New Adult) romance as much as anyone—my background is in contemporary romance. But I also adore the occasional waltz around the ballroom. So, with that in mind, here’s my personal wish list for historical romances…at least for now. (Disclaimer: The opinions here are my own.)

1) Lighten up everyone: by that I don’t mean your romance has to be funny. But I would like to see books that faster-paced, more intensively romantic, more hero-pursues-the-heroine because he has to have her. Lately the submissions I’ve been reading are dense and wordy. Get some air in there!

2) A word about those heroes: lately, contemporary romance heroes have been super-sexy, self-assured, and single minded in their pursuit of the heroine. And while she can give as good as she gets, these men know who they want and they stop at nothing to get her. And readers are responding—in droves. It might be worthwhile to take a page from the contemporaries and give us heroes to swoon over.

3) Let’s bend—but not break—some of those historical “rules.” Readers might not admit it, but I see the numbers: they love certain kinds of stories—marriage plots, governess heroines, matchmakers and heartbreakers. So if you’re determined to have your 40 year old heroine or hero-without-a-title, give yourself some insurance and add something old to the something new.

4) The Rules of Society: I think it’s interesting that so many contemps feature characters who are somewhat outside the rules of society. (Strippers! Rock stars! Bikers!) But these people still act with a definite moral code. I’ve always loved that historical romance characters must also navigate society’s restrictions—and also break those restrictions. Add a bit of danger to the dancecard.

Ok, I’ve gone on long enough for a blog post. I’ll be out of the office for a few days, but I’d love to hear your comments—agree? Disagree? Anything to add?—and will respond when I get on line. If it takes a few days be patient. Because I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.


What Avon Romance books are you waiting for? Don’t miss this one, which is out now:

Katharine Ashe

Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?

On the way to marry a prince in a castle, a lady should never:

1. Bribe an infuriatingly arrogant and undeniably irresistible ship captain,
2. Let him kiss her senseless on a beach,
3. Battle thieves at his side,
4. Exchange wedding vows with him, even under the direst circumstances.

But daring, determined Arabella Caulfield isn’t just any lady. And Luc Westfall is no typical ship captain. He’s the new Duke of Lycombe, and to defeat a plot that could destroy his family he must have an heir. Now he knows just the woman for the job . . . and he’s not above seduction to turn this would-be princess into a duchess.

And this one, which is coming out soon:


New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell returns with a delicious new series, The Brides of Wishmore What happens when a bride says no? He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publicly jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens’ pride isn’t about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar. What happens when the heart says yes? He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit’s sister! Lady Aileen Davidson’s reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she’s buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass. And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love?

Join us on Friday when ADAM FIRESTONE, RU’s resident weapons expert, discusses Terminal Ballistics.



Lucia Macro is a Vice-President/Executive Editor for Morrow/Avon Books, whose career path began with an English degree and a vague sense that she could type very quickly. An article told this budding CosmoGirl that she could “…work in a publishing house! Meet sexy, smoldering authors who will woo you with wine and words!” She ended up as the assistant to a textbook editor. After a few years she wised up, took a job in the romance department of Berkley, and never looked back.
Lucia has worked at Harlequin, where she was the head of the Desire line, and presently edits many New York Times bestsellers and Rita Award winners. In 2006 she was the honored recipient of the Vivian Stephens Career Achievement Award. In addition, she is part of the team that created both the Morrow Paperback and Avon Impulse imprints and is constantly on the lookout for the next bestseller

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11 Responses to “Avon Romance Editor Lucia Macro’s Wish List for Historical Romances”

  1. Hi Lucia,

    I submitted an historical romance to a contest. It got slashed to pieces. My main “problem” my widowed heroine had no interest in marrying again and propositioned the destitute hero.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | September 25, 2013, 8:34 am
    • I’m finally responding! Contests are great to enter, but different judges have different tastes, so what’s important is to take the constructive criticism or the feedback you get that seems consistent.

      Posted by Anonymous | October 17, 2013, 9:21 am
  2. Morning Lucia!

    Oh I do love me a good historical as well! The dresses, the ballrooms, the scenery….ahhh. =) I can totally get lost…

    I do like the hero that’s self-assured and know just what he wants – as long as the heroine gives him a merry chase before he gets it. =) And a few moments of self-doubt as well.

    Thanks so much for posting with us again Lucia – we always love having you!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 25, 2013, 8:42 am
  3. GREAT post! I totally agree about the first one! Those are my favorite romances in any genre 😉

    Posted by Emmy Neal | September 25, 2013, 9:09 am
  4. I’m a pretty recent convert to historical romances, and I’ve been discovering them author by author. When I find an author I like – and there have been a lot of them so far – I try to read their back list, too. Some of these authors have written a LOT of books!

    I like the way historical romance series go back and tell the stories of other characters in the books. I like the epilogues that seem to be more common in historicals, even though they aren’t popular with writing instructors.

    And I really like the way authors – Eloisa James, for example – take classic stories and fairy tales and re-tell them. I can’t seem to get enough of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | September 25, 2013, 9:41 am
  5. Forgot to say THANK YOU for a great post!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | September 25, 2013, 9:42 am
  6. The Pretenders!! right on! now that’s what I call contemporary! 🙂

    Posted by Cheryl Rae | September 25, 2013, 11:30 am
  7. Thank you for an encouraging post! I am working on a regency and have been disheartened by many of the comments I have seen lately regarding this genre.

    I haven’t read Kathrine Ashe, but this sounds like a great story and I’ll look for it. And you can’t beat Cathy Maxwell.


    Posted by Di R | September 25, 2013, 7:18 pm
  8. Excellent suggestions! In historical I also like the danger and brutality of life associated with Medieval and Renaissance periods. I’d like to see Avon compete with titles by Monica McCarty, Elizabeth Chadwick and Maya Banks’ historicals.

    Posted by Amy Jarecki | September 27, 2013, 9:21 am
  9. Good post. I do write historicals. They’re not your usual suspects either, which means they get a variety of reviews or the “not real Regencies, historicals, etc” comments. I’ll keep this info in mind for future submissions to Avon 🙂

    Posted by Sandra Sookoo | September 30, 2013, 1:46 pm


  1. […] what publishers frustratingly claim readers want: I don’t need this to be engrossed in a book. I DO want a slower […]

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