When I talk about Tomboy Romance, I’m not thinking of the modern concept of girls in pants shunning all that sugar and spice and everything nice. I’m thinking of tomboys in a historical context. Old dictionaries from the turn of the 20th Century define tomboys as “a wild, romping girl” or a “hoyden” referring to a “rude, bold girl.” Essentially, the history of tomboys is one of girls and women stepping outside the strict social bounds they were expected to live within.
That means historic tomboys were writers, abolitionists, suffragists, businesswomen, medical doctors, soldiers and more. In short, women who refused to stay confined within society’s stuffy strictures. My favorite heroines are strong women who stand up when others walk away or break social barriers. Naturally, these types of activities in most historical contexts put women on the outside of “socially acceptable” and make them hard to love for who they are. There are no “well-behaved” women here.
Finding historical romance stories that are deeply satisfying on all levels is difficult for an unreformed tomboy like me. Writing them is a challenge I take on for readers who find little to love in overdone ballrooms, impossible gowns, and stuffy social expectations, the only purpose of which seems to be getting in the way of finding love.
I cannot say I’ve never found a book that qualifies as Tomboy Romance. To the contrary, I’ve found a few over the years. But they are rare, and rarer still is the agent who wants to sell them or the publisher who wants to print them. In the midst of our quickly changing publishing world, now is the best time for a Tomboy revolution.
”Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” As an author, that’s my goal, writing Tomboy Romance. I also want to find those unique Tomboy Romances already out there, old and new, and share them with you. And I’ll throw in regular posts about real women who broke molds, challenged expectations, and inspire me to write Tomboy Romance.