I didn’t want to watch Outlander. Bodice-rippers generally make me roll my eyes.
Then I learned that Diana Gabaldon, who wrote the book series that inspired the Starz drama, wasn’t a huge fan of romance either. Gabaldon recently told Buzzfeed that her agent encouraged her to bill the first Outlander book as a romance novel, even though it also dabbles in historical fiction, science fiction, and other genres. The idea was that a science fiction best-seller usually sold around 50,000 copies, while romances could reach 500,000. So Gabaldon reached a compromise with her publisher: she’d agree to file it under “romance,” but if the book did well, they’d recast it as “general fiction.”
I totally understand the impulse: unfairly or not, “romance” seems to imply that the book belongs on the shelf alongside this guy. Therefore, it probably doesn’t appeal to the most intellectual readers.
So imagine my surprise when a sex scene was what actually made me take Outlander seriously.