Author Spotlight: Juliet Madison, Sarah Belle, Jacquie Underdown and Robyn Neeley – Magical Realism Romance Novelists…


Today on the Author Spotlight, we have four authors who have previously been categorised as multi cross -genre, but now, due to readership interest and a proactive publishing team, finally have a subgenre to call home. The genre formerly known as Fantasy-Magical Elements- Paranormal twist-Contemporary-Time Travelling-Dream Casting, please welcome, Magical Realism Romance and the authors who live it!

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 Firstly, what is Magical Realism Romance?

Not quite paranormal, not quite fantasy, this genre believes that magic is a part of the every day, and that there’s more to our lives than can be explained. If you’re looking for a little mystical, a little miraculous, a little more, this is the romance for you.

As an author, how important is it to fit within a defined sub-genre?

Jacquie– In terms of being able to brand myself as a romance author and explain to readers succinctly what my books are about, I think having a defined sub-genre is incredibly important. It also provides readers with a quick reference that they will fit with my books. However, the fact that I’ve not been able to fit within a defined sub-genre, until now, also has its benefits in that I know I’m creating a new breed of romance, one that will be original and fresh for readers. And that’s the main reason I’ve persevered with the magical realism romance genre.

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Juliet – I think it helps readers the most, letting them know what there going to be getting from a book.


Sarah– Like everyone has said, it helps readers to identify what particular elements are in a story and will allow them to seek out other authors in the same genre.

Robyn– It’s definitely important to me. When readers pick up one of my books they are in for fast and funny dialogue, a sweet story, and a heart-warming ending. Magical realism fits in nicely with my brand, and I was more than eager to give it a try with Batter Up, my first book that includes one spell-binding approach to finding true love.

What were the main issues with being ‘subgenre-less’ prior to this new branding? 

Jacquie – Being subgenre-less hasn’t limited by ability to become published (that I know of). But I do think it has had a direct impact on how my books can be marketed and to whom they are marketed to. My books are normally slotted into the fantasy romance or sci-fi romance categories, which, as mentioned earlier, give readers the wrong expectations as magical realism romance is far removed from fantasy or science fiction. Having a sub-genre now, with a name that conjures images and ideas that reflect what my books are about, will make it a lot easier going forward.

Juliet – I didn’t feel so much that I was subgenre-less, but multi-genred! When you story crosses into several different genres it can be tricky to know how to pitch it to publishers, or which types of readers to target. Having a more defined sub-genre to categorise the overall type of story is better than saying ‘my book is a futuristic-romantic comedy-chicklit-fantasy-time travel-romance-scifi-adventure’! 😉


JM fast forward


Sarah– It was very difficult to explain what I actually wrote. ‘It’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that’…it was confusing to people and difficult to pitch to publishers and readers. Thankfully there are some amazing authors out there who have paved the way: Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahearn, Sophie Kinsella and Melanie Rose. For a person who struggles with marketing anyway, being across too many genres meant that my target market wasn’t clearly identified and pitched at.

Robyn– Putting a touch of magic in Batter Up, I wasn’t quite sure where it would fit. A fellow romance author recommended I submit it to Escape, knowing that they had recently acquired romantic comedies with magical elements. I was beyond thrilled to find Batter Up a home among other awesome magical realism books including Fast Forward by Juliet Madison and Hindsight by Sarah Belle.

Why do you write Magical Realism Romance ?

Jacquie – I’m someone who wants more from life than flesh and bone, and I believe there is more to this existence than what can examined under a microscope — phenomena that isn’t always explainable and is somewhat magical. Because I expect more out of everyday existence, I expect the same from the books I read and write. As an author, and as a reader, I want to be transported away, not so far as to lose sight of reality altogether, but enough to make it leave me questioning if the little magical occurrences could in fact be real.

Also, magical realism romance gives me so much more scope with my imagination and the stories I can weave.

Juliet – Because it allows the ordinary to become extraordinary and explores the possibility that there might be more to our world than we know. Plus, it’s great for interesting plot ideas – anything goes, with magical realism!

Sarah–  I read it, so I write it! A touch of magic can take a story anywhere so it’s always fresh and exciting to write. When we suspend our disbelief, we expand our imaginations in much the same way as children do. It’s nice to be a kid again for a while and to believe in magical things.

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Robyn– Faith, hope and destiny themes tend to influence my books so magical realism became a new tool for me to continue to explore these themes in an entertaining way. Also, the research on creating spells was a lot of fun. I now have a nice collection of spell books and am always tempted to try casting one!


What is it about MRR that will attract new readers? 

Jacquie – I sometimes think fantasy and science fiction is too far removed for some readers who like reality-set romances. Magical realism romance is a wonderful happy medium, where a reader can escape the mundane everydayness but still be given something MORE, something the reader wouldn’t encounter, something new, exciting, and magical.

Juliet – It is the perfect combination of realistic storylines and paranormal elements. It’s not completely realistic and not completely paranormal, it puts those magical elements into a world we’re familiar with so readers can more easily immerse themselves in the story and connect with the characters.

Sarah– Magical Realism is fun, engaging and has enough twists and turns in it to keep the plot moving along. There’s never a dull moment with the magical and unexplained! It’s also a break from the every day- nice escapism.

Robyn – These books are a unique and refreshing addition to the contemporary romance genre, offering a unique twist on popular romance tropes.


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 Magical Realism Romance is quite a niche genre. What are your hopes for the future in regards to expanding this genre?

Jacquie – Magical realism romance is a niche genre, but then so was sparkly vampire romance, BDSM erotica and rural romance. But just like those other genres, it is limitless in scope for storylines. Even on the shelves of my publisher, the variations between my novels and the other authors’ novels (who write MRR) are immense. My hope is that readers pick up a couple of books in this genre and fall in love with magical realism romance, just as much as I love to write it. Then it will bring more authors and readers out of the woodwork and we will be able to see just where this genre can go.

Juliet– I hope that more readers will discover the fun that can be had by mixing magical elements into real life storylines. I would love to see more movies made with these types of stories too, those with just a touch of the magical. Maybe an increase in books like this will help boost that.

Sarah– I would love to see this genre become more mainstream. It’s such a fresh and exciting genre, and covers from romantic comedy to true romance so there’s something for everyone. If you’ve loved Freaky Friday, Drop Dead Diva, Suddenly 30, Big, then chances are that Magical Realism Romance will make you laugh, cry and everything in between.

Robyn – Magical Realism Romance is exciting because of its potential to reach many readers of romance, chick lit, and women’s fiction. I’ve received some wonderful feedback from chick lit readers who say that they enjoyed the romance element of Batter Up and are excited to read more romances that include magical elements. That’s exciting!


If you’d like to explore the world of Magical Realism Romance, you can find a great collection at Escape Publishing.

 Escape Publishing is kindly giving away one copy of any one Magical Realism Romance novel to one lucky reader. All you have to do to be in the running is leave a comment below.

This competition will be drawn on the 15th of August, 2014. The winner will be notified by email, so please be sure we can contact you!


Leave a comment


  1. Love the new category name! Magical Realism has a lovely ring to it!

  2. So many awesome titles!
    Thanks for the lovely post and giveaway 🙂

  3. Thanks J’aimee. It is pretty cool and lovely to have a shelf to rest on!

  4. Thanks for coming by, Bube.

  5. J’aimee and Bube, you have both won one Magic Realism romance novel courtesy of Escape Publishing. I will be in touch with you via email to discuss your choice. Thanks for coming by and commenting!


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