Chemistry Romance Novel Drops Feb. 7

Courtesy of Heather Snow

Have too many long nights in the lab left you without a special someone this Valentine's Day? Has grant writing drained all the spark from your relationship? Well, debut author Heather Snow's novel, "Sweet Enemy," might be just the thing to push you over the activation barrier, if ya' know what I mean. Snow's book, available online and in bookstores February 7, is a historical romance novel with a chemist heroine. Avid Newscripts readers may recall C&EN's 2010 profile of Snow, when her then-manuscript Sweet Enemy was a finalist for a Golden Heart Award, essentially the Oscars of the romance novel world. Since then, Snow, who majored in chemistry at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, has moved up in the romance novel world, selling her manuscript and launching a monthlong blog book tour to promote Sweet Enemy. Snow sent Newscripts the book's cover--a rendering of heroine Liliana Claremont, orphaned daughter of a well-known chemist. "No cool glassware," she says. "But they did give her a quill and ink to make her look 'smart.' " Snow has also made the book's prologue and first chapter available online, so you can find out how Liliana uses her scientific smarts to outwit an intruder. From there, the drama kicks into high gear. But the heroine does get a happy ending. Snow let slip that Liliana's hero proposes not with a diamond ring, but with a matrass--a round-bottomed flask with a long, slender neck, commonly used for distillations among Liliana's 19th-century contemporaries. Clearly her lover knew the way to a chemist's heart.

Author: Carmen Drahl

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  1. “essentially the Oscars of the romance novel world.”

    Why does every award need to be compared in this manner? Can’t you just say a crappy award for a ridiculous industry? Saying it’s the “Oscar” of such and such makes it sound like people care.

  2. How exciting to have a female chemist be a main character in any sort of fiction, especially historical fiction.

  3. Hi, Anon. Just because romance novels aren’t your thing doesn’t make them “crappy” or “ridiculous.” In fact, it’s a $1.3 billion dollar a year industry (that’s over twice as much as sci-fi/fantasy), and of the few sectors that’s powered almost entirely by women. (writers, editors, and readers–74.8 million of them!) (source:

    Of course, statistics don’t apply much to matters of personal taste, but the point is that the industry itself is far from “ridiculous.” Check out what Sarah has to say at for more insight.

  4. Heroine’s with careers in historical romances are rare, especially of a scientific or mathmatical nature. I’ve seen them as artists, writers, philanthropists, and other fields, but it is nice to see that someone is attempting something new.

    It is experiments like this that have taken the romance novel industry from the bodice rippers of the seventies to the modern, respectable genre it has become today. We like our heroes to be strong, sexy, and not assholes. We like our heroines to be intelligent, witty, and kick-ass.

    I look forward to reading it.

  5. To Anon:
    Considering the profit generated by the sales of romance novels or said “ridiculous industry” I think there are probably plenty of people care about the Golden Heart Awards!

    Sounds like someone needs a little romance in their life.

  6. I’m hooked after reading that first chapter!

  7. Ha, ha. I know, because the “industry” sells >1B that doesn’t make it ridiculous. And to say it’s “double” SciFi/Fantasy doesn’t legitimize the “literature.” To Tracey: only those that read these “novels” need romance in their lives.

    My main point was: these are not “Oscars”. Maybe they should be compared to the Adult Entertainment awards?

  8. My main point was: these are not “Oscars”. Maybe they should be compared to the Adult Entertainment awards?

    Really? Why the Adult Entertainment Awards? Why not the Grammies? Why not the Hugo awards? Why not the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence?

    Every single industry on the planet has an award that’s pretty much irrelevant to people outside the industry. The only reason non-industry people care about the Oscars is that famous people and movie stars get them. So, indeed, why not the Oscars?

    To me, your main point seems to be “Romance novels are silly porn for lonely wimminz and don’t count as literature, unlike the stuff I like to read”, which is a pretty insulting point to be attempting to make.

  9. Why Adult Entertainment? Isn’t that what these “books” are?

  10. I’m clearly late to this party, but still glad I found the thread. I’m sure Sweet Enemy is a good read, but also agree with the comments regarding industry awards. Most awards are meant to reflect well on said industry. Still, writing novels is a tough biz.