Monday 7 August 2017

Exploring Genre - Rural and Medical Romance

by Nicki Edwards

This year, the cross posts between Christian Writers Downunder and Australasian Christian Writers are focusing on genre. So far, we’ve had posts on meeting genre expectations, in Space Opera and SuperheroesPortal Fantasy and Secondary World FantasyPoetryFree Verse and Verse Novels and Regency and Historical Romance . 

Today, I'm looking at the place of Rural and Medical Romance.

I like what Iola Goulton said in a previous post that book genres are like food. If we go out to our favourite restaurant and order the usual and something different is served, we are disappointed, especially if we’ve been eagerly anticipating that familiar taste.

Book genres are a bit like ice cream. I have two or three flavours I keep going back to – English Toffee, Honeycomb Crunch or Cookies and Cream.

It’s kind of funny my tastes are so narrow as I’m one of those odd people who thrive on change, but when it comes to food and books, I’m always drawn to the familiar.

For me that means romance and women’s fiction. 

So what is romance, why is it my favourite flavour and why do I write medical-rural romance?

Romance can be classified into many sub-genres - contemporary, erotic, historical, rural, paranormal, regency, young adult, medical, Christian, romantic suspense . . . you get my drift. The list is probably never-ending.

All romance novels have a central love storyline and an emotionally satisfying ending. Beyond that, they can be set in any time or place and have varying levels of sensuality from sweet to spicy.

Women’s fiction are women-centred books that focus on women’s life experiences. These books are generally marketed to woman.

My latest book, One More Song which comes out in November 2017 is being marketed as both romance and women’s fiction.

When I started writing in January 2014 I was encouraged to “write what you know” and “write what you love”.

What I know and love is medicine and nursing, and it is from this I draw my writing experiences. I also love the gorgeous rural backdrop that sits behind small town Australia. I love the people in regional and rural communities and therefore it seemed a natural fit for me to write heart-warming medical dramas set in small towns.

My books explore the realities and complexities faced by people in regional and small towns with plots involving dramatic accidents, illnesses and critical medical situations. Think McLeod’s Daughters meets A Country Practice with a touch of All Saints thrown into the mix!

People ask why the rural romance genre is popular and why my books have sold so well. I think readers have an appetite for stories set on the land and they love strong, ordinary, everyday Aussie heroes and heroines. Whether it’s the city girl finding a new life in the country, or rural characters living their lives working the land, there’s something relatable for all readers whether they live in the country or the city.

Lucky for us writers of this genre, readers can’t seem to get enough of our stories. Perhaps because there’s something romantic and almost mystical about the Australian outback. Or perhaps because many city dwellers have an escapism mentality when it comes to the idea of a tree change or ‘escape to the country’. Ironically, ask any farmer and they’ll tell you there’s nothing romantic about living in the middle of nowhere!

Obviously authenticity is crucial in rural romance as with all genres. A country person can tell a mile away if a writer is faking it. It’s the same with the medical side of my books. Anyone with a bit of medical background and Dr. Google can be my harshest critic. I have to get my facts right.

What I love about writing small town medical romance is that the story is all about the community and the people, not just my hero and heroine. The setting is as important as the story because when people in small communities are thrown together into a medical emergency or crisis situation it makes for great dramatic fiction, especially when my heroine is the medico saving the day. I love demonstrating nurses and doctors working together doing amazing things because that’s what I see every day when I’m at work.

As a medical-rural romance writer I get to tackle all kinds of interesting rural and medical issues, whether it’s the problem of depression and suicide in the bush, or the complexities of care people in small towns face such as the lack of facilities and equipment or trained medical staff. I love showing how small towns rally together and just make things happen.

Despite tough publishing markets in recent years, the romance genre continues to do well but for all its market success, it still encounters a lot of snobbery from readers. There’s a dismissive attitude towards it. Additionally, as a Christian, one thing I’ve encountered is the presumption that if I write romance it’s probably smutty. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a huge range of sensuality in the romance genre and my books are at the sweet or “clean” end of the scale with closed door, fade-to-black sex scenes.

The exciting thing for me as a romance author is our readers are extremely engaged and they’re voracious readers. It’s not unusual for a romance reader to admit to reading a book a day! I’m blessed with how the romance reading community have embraced me and my books and I’m also fortunate to be part of a group of romance authors who have a website specifically set up for readers who love rural romance. You can check it out here:

Nicki Edwards is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on a small family acreage, she spent her formative years riding horses and pretending the neighbour’s farm was her own.

Nicki writes medical rural romance and when she isn’t reading, writing or dreaming about rural life and medical emergencies, she can be found working as a Critical Care Nurse in the Emergency Department or Intensive Care Unit, where many of her stories and characters are imagined.

Nicki and her husband Tim, a Pastor, live in Geelong, Victoria. With four teenage/young adult children, life is busy, fun and at times exhausting, but Nicki wouldn’t change it for anything. Visit her at to find all her other books.

Nicki’s latest book One More Song published by Pan Macmillan Australia will hit the bookshelves on November 28th, 2017 but is available to pre-order now wherever e-books are sold.


  1. Thanks for a great post Nicki. Rural communities and medical dramas make a great combination. I enjoyed reading Intensive Care.

    1. Thanks Jeanette. I hope one day you read one of my more recent books. Thank goodness my writing has improved since book one haha!!!

  2. Excellent post, Nicki. Love your heart for rural Australia and the medical field. Being a son of a GP I too have a predisposition to all things medical.

    You should check out Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry's new medical thriller Ghost Heart which reflects on the global black market for organs and the mistreatment of albinos all set in Africa.

    1. Hi Ian. I actually checked out that book. I'm not a fan of thrillers or suspense generally but it sounded fascinating.

    2. Yes, yes. I understand. It is suspenseful.

  3. I'm pleased you appreciated my food analogy, Nicki!

    I see the appeal of rural romance and medical drama - and I enjoy reading them, although I don't know if I'd actually want to live in a small Australian town (I love the people. But I don't love the critters). And there are good reasons why I never went into a medical career ...

    I'm thrilled your books are doing so well. I've enjoyed reading them!

    1. Thanks Iola. Your support of me and my books has been amazing from day one. Thank you x
      As an aside I reckon it's not the critters that would be a problem it's the fact everyone knows everyone's business. Would be hard to have medical secrets in a small town!

  4. A very good post on my favourite genres, Nicki. Thank you so much. Have enjoyed the comments also. Your books are fantastic, Nicki, and am delighted to soon have another book of yours to read!


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