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The Writers' Room: Flying high and loving deeply with romantasy

Antique books line the shelves at Maggs Bros antiquarian booksellers in London.
Antique books line the shelves at Maggs Bros antiquarian booksellers in London.

We’re going on a magical quest to fight evil and find true love.Imagine we’re making our way through a forest of fairies. Or we’re heading to our first class at a college for elite dragon riders.As we struggle to learn to control our magic, or wield or weapons, we’re told time and time again that we don’t have what it takes.

We soon meet a darkly handsome dragon rider. Or vampire. Or Elf king. But we don’t know if he’s here to help or harm us.On our quest to save the world, we discover in ourselves a power we didn’t know existed and defeat our enemies. 

 Oh, and that cute dragon rider? It turns out he’s not all that bad.

If you’re intrigued by this tale, you may have a soft spot for romantasy. That’s a popular literary genre that blends elements of fantasy and romance.It’s also one of the fastest growing. Between 2022 and 2023, romantasy novel sales increased by 42 percent. That’s according to the market researcher Circana.

What’s driving this surge in fantastical romances? And what can they teach us about dreaming big, loving deeply, and not giving up hope even when the odds are stacked against us? 

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Haili Blassingame