I learned about Bronwyn Clarke through our very own RBtheBook Alpha Nerd, Eric Selenger, Ph.D. Yeah, here at RBtheBlog, we kinda claim Eric as our personal Romance(Scholar) hero, and I think we also feel close to the whole idea that studying readers' issues and inclinations is good thinkin' on the part of the smarty pantses we so admire.
Bronwyn Clarke is one of those smarty pantses who thinks the way we like -- like us -- and is fascinated by the phenomenon of online romance communities and their importance to the vibrancy of the genre. Today, she welcomes us to help her in her noble cyber-quest. Please, a warm Bella buongiorno for Bronwyn, scholar, writer, romance lover...
Hello, Bellas! I'm delighted and honored to be here at RBtheBook today. This being my first time as a GuestBlogger, I thought I'd bring along Hugh and Clive for moral support :-)
I've been reading romance since I was about 12 (a scary number of decades ago!), and about 6 years ago I started seriously writing it - and probably might have quit, were it not for all the wonderful friendships and information from the online communities I became involved with. So, when for career reasons I needed to start a part-time PhD, I decided to research online romance genre communities, and their perspectives on the genre. I figured if I had to give up sleep to juggle work, writing, and PhD, it better be for something fun and interesting, as well as valuable!
The active part of my online research is happening this year, through 3 main activities - an online survey, a research blog, and a series of online focus groups. And yes, I'd LOVE the Bellas to participate!! The online survey and research blog are both 'live' now, and I'll be organizing the focus groups from June. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, and asks questions to provide some quantitative, contextual data about online activity and reading/buying activity.
At the research blog, I post discussion questions and ideas every week or so, and anybody with an interest can make comments. We've discussed topics such as romance hero 'types', romance's reputations, our online lives, why we read romance... and more. All the questions are left open for comments, so anyone can add their thoughts, anytime. In the focus groups, we'll use a chat tool to discuss some topics in more depth. I'll post more info about the focus groups on the blog when they're organised, so interested people can sign up. My research website has more information about the project, including the official info required by my University.
It is very exciting, being part of the new groundswell of positive, academic interest in the genre, which includes researchers such as Eric Selinger, Laura Vivanco, Pamela Regis, Sarah Frantz, and Glen Thomas. I was delighted to see Professor Bill Gleason's class here at RBtheBook last week, and the marvelous responses to their questions.
So, Bellas, since I'll be doing a couple of chapters in my thesis on specific issues/aspects of the genre in depth, what do YOU think those should be on? What are the important things, from your perspectives, that the academic and literary worlds need to understand about romance, and reading it?I'm looking forward to reading your responses! And because it's important in this type of research that you feel you can trust me, if you have any questions you'd like to ask me, please go right ahead