Your recent piece on the Romantic Novelists Association summer party was a pretty terrible piece of journalism. I will refrain from commenting that this may be because you're a pretty terrible newspaper. Sweeping generalisations aside, several of the authors quoted have no recollection of saying the words attributed to them. Your piece was not only immensely patronising, it was clichéd, lazy, and inaccurate.
"All around me are middle-aged and elderly women in their pearls and support tights. They look like the kind of ladies you’d find working in charity shops or arranging the church flowers — can they really be penning the sort of racy novels that would make a convent girl like me blush?"
"Just when I’m beginning to think that everyone in the room is a sex-obsessed pensioner, I meet Trisha Ashley from St Helens, in Lancashire, who is not only a mere whipper-snapper at 49, but is also something of an oddity here tonight as none of her 14 books features any X-rated bedroom antics."
Oh...I can't even be bothered pointing out what's wrong with that paragraph. Suffice to say that were this a drinking game--one sip for every mention of 'bodice-rippers', 'swooning', 'steamy novel' and other clichés; another for basing expectations on the last romance novel you read, in 1974; one for each clichéd hero name made up; a whole drink for each mention of Barbara Cartland, etc--we'd all be plastered halfway through.
"It’s a world where heroines swoon with alarming frequency and heroes, with names like Troy and Cassius, must have permanent bad backs from forever scooping fair maidens into their manly arms. So why does it feel like I’ve accidentally stumbled into the Annual General Meeting of the Jam Makers and Knitted Toy Association?"