Love at First Swipe: How Technology Is Updating the Romance Genre

Posted by Hayley on July 8, 2019
"Not long ago, if you wanted to meet someone new, you’d have to attend a singles mixer or get a friend to set you up on a blind date," says romance author Kristin Rockaway. "This involved getting dressed up and having slightly awkward getting-to-know-you conversations. It was a lot of work."

Here's what is not a lot of work: downloading a dating app while you're in your pajamas.

From online dating to instant messaging, the way people find and fall for "the one" has changed. What does this mean for romance novels?

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Release: July 30
For Rockaway, the relative ease of modern dating creates new challenges to explore and new types of stories to tell.

"Dating apps can reduce complex, interesting people to a couple of selfies and pithy one-liners that are easily swiped away," she says. "Technology may have expanded the average person’s dating pool, but I’m not so sure it’s leading more people to an HEA [happily ever after]."

How to Hack a Heartbreak, Rockaway's new book, is about Mel, a weary romantic who makes JerkAlert, an app to help her fellow online daters avoid terrible people. In the process, Mel falls for "the only non-douchey guy" at her company, but even they have a sea of misunderstandings and missed messages to work through.

It's a theme that comes up again in next month's The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai. Cynical dating app creator Rhiannon protects her personal and professional life with a set of strict rules, from how to handle being stood up (block them forever!) to when nude pics are appropriate (invitation only).

Can you feel the frustration? If technology has delivered hundreds of potential soul mates, it also has created thousands of headaches.


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But it's not all bad. Take it from Penelope Ward, whose 2018 romance Love Online is about the life-changing bond two troubled strangers make in an internet chat room. Ryder and Eden know nothing about each other in real life, but their anonymity encourages them to open up in ways they never would have face-to-face.

"Today’s technology allows for people to connect more intimately without being physically together, enabling the progression of a relationship much faster than would normally be possible years ago," Ward says. "In addition, many of today’s stories aren’t afraid to tackle serious subjects and flawed heroes and heroines. I like when my characters have to work for their HEAs."

Of course, the old ways are never really gone. If you're missing the sweetness of old-fashioned courtships, you're not alone.

"I love letters," Ward admits. "There’s something so romantic about handwritten correspondence."

The good news is that in our brave new world of texts and sexts, swiping and ghosting, we can have a little of both. No one's stopping us from using snail mail instead of email. And for every modern hero on our bookshelves, there's also a cowboy, a duke, and a vampire looking for love offline.

Check out these recent romance books that explore the highs and lows of modern dating!


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How do you think technology is changing relationships? Let's talk in the comments!


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Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Kaitlin (last edited Jul 08, 2019 07:00AM) (new)

Kaitlin After years of horrible first dates, jerky guys, and wasted time, I was about to give up on online dating. Then a man caught my eye and I decided to give it ONE MORE date before deleting the app. Welp, we are now engaged and getting married in October! He is the best, sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most perfect man I've ever met. Don't give up!


message 2: by Aline (new)

Aline Kaitlin wrote: "After years of horrible first dates, jerky guys, and wasted time, I was about to give up on online dating. Then a man caught my eye and I decided to give it ONE MORE date before deleting the app. W..."


That's so cute. Congrats! :)


message 3: by Shorouk (new)

Shorouk Abd Elhamid Kaitlin wrote: "After years of horrible first dates, jerky guys, and wasted time, I was about to give up on online dating. Then a man caught my eye and I decided to give it ONE MORE date before deleting the app. W..."
Congrats !!


message 4: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Uh, I strongly recommend removing a book Santino Hassell co-authored from this list. That book is not even available to purchase anymore.


message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Kaitlin wrote: "After years of horrible first dates, jerky guys, and wasted time, I was about to give up on online dating. Then a man caught my eye and I decided to give it ONE MORE date before deleting the app. W..."

I one hundred percent agree with you about online dating. I was about ready to give up when I got a real, genuine message from a man that I've been dating for 2+ years. He made all the duds I had to wade through worth it because we ended up drawn together. He was about to delete the app, too, until he saw my photo and clicked on it to view my profile. He hasn't proposed yet, but we've talked about where our relationship is heading so I'm sure it'll be coming soon because it's the next thing on the timeline.

Congratulations on your engagement and I hope you two live happily ever after because it sounds like you already are there.


message 6: by Marlyn (new)

Marlyn Great article, Hayley

I'd love translating it into the Spanish and featuring it here.

That would be possible?


message 7: by Corina (new)

Corina Amanda wrote: "Uh, I strongly recommend removing a book Santino Hassell co-authored from this list. That book is not even available to purchase anymore."

yikes, I thought I knew all the books he wrote and co-authored. Which one am I missing?


message 8: by Anna (new)

Anna So happy to see the first couple comments being online dating success stories. <3 I love books about it, but personally, all I got from it was a creepy dude staring at me and my date half a night, then walking up to me and exclaiming "I know how I know you, we matched on tinder!" in front of my date. One of the most mortifying moments of my life so far.

At least the date still ended well, we got engaged in May. :)


message 9: by HookUp (last edited Jan 08, 2020 04:34AM) (new)

HookUp Geek I like such romantic, quite "pink" books! They suit perfectly to relax my mind and they do it better even my favorite adult dating sites review!


message 10: by Bianca Webster (new)

Bianca Webster what


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