Today is the inaugural post for Romance Weekly. A bunch of us romance writers have gotten together, where we link to one another’s posts. In each post, the authors will answer three questions, which are different every week. So here are my questions/answers!
1. What made you start writing romance as opposed to any other genre of literature?
Honestly, it’s because every story that I ever loved had at least some element of romance to it. Part of writing romance is about the HEA. We don’t always get those in real life–sometimes, the best friend dies. Sometimes, the hero stays dead. Sometimes, you won’t get your happy ending, no matter how hard you try or how much you beg your higher power for it. There will be times when the answer you get from heaven is no.
But in romance, that answer is always yes! No matter what obstacles stand in their way, the hero and the heroine will live out their happy ending. Every. Single. Time. There is something comforting about that. These are books that you will read over and over again, books that are an escape from the tragedy we are so often dealt. I write romance because I want that escape–my life is complicated enough. When I read for pleasure, I want to know that things are going to work out. I don’t pick up a romance because I want an ugly cry–I pick up a romance because, when I turn the final page, I want to think to myself, “Darn right. As it should be.”
2. Why do you think romance continues to be a market leading genre?
Well, first, I think it’s that people want a happy ending. In this age of high speed communication, we are inundated with bad news: kids shooting each other at school, people killing doctors in hospitals, flu outbreaks across the nation, starvation in Africa and the Middle East, war, famine, poverty. Bad things. I think, after awhile, people just get tired of it, drained of compassion and hollow inside.
I think romance balances that out. When someone picks up a romance novel, they know they’re getting a happy ending. That love will conquer all, despite all the bad stuff that happens to them. What romance novels offer, and what so many major critics of the genre fail to understand, is that romance is the one genre that consistently offers hope. It’s not all pain and blackness. In the end, the characters find real joy. There is beauty in that message, and in it, an implicit promise that, no matter how bad things get, everything will turn out as it should. I love the optimism in that. It’s why I started reading romances in the first place.
3. In what way do you see romance today reflecting the way women’s role in society has changed?
Well. That’s a good question. I suppose it could be summed up this way: in the past, women had to wait for the men to rescue them. Now, the women can rescue the men. We expect our men to be strong and brave, but we expect the same thing from our heroines. We don’t expect our heroines to be able to punch out a bear (all the time), but we do expect that they will behave in a manner that will allow her to solve her problem for herself. When I think of the older romances, the women were relatively helpless. Certainly this was part of the zeitgeist–women were supposed to be domestic, young, virginal, subservient, and generally well-behaved. Romances today allow for poorly behaved heroines, older heroines, and working women and single mothers. Instead of having only those two infamous depictions of femininity–the Madonna and the Whore–most heroines today are painted with shades of gray, with flaws and strengths. Not every heroine is a virgin, but neither is she a fallen woman. Not every heroine is young, nubile, and sublimely beautiful, either. I think this reflects society’s changing values, where we are honoring people who are like ourselves rather than some idealized, false notion of perfection.
I really hope that answers that question. Shucks, that was hard!
Want to know what other people think on these topics? Follow the link to read more! I can’t wait to read what she has to say!