Wednesday, July 26, 2017

In Defense of Romance Novels

I write romance. It’s more than romance, there is suspense, there is mystery, and in many cases, there’s a touch of the supernatural to give my stories a little bit of extra flavor. I’ve had people I work the day job with snicker when they find out what I write {wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more}.  I’ve had people be shocked and horrified. “I keep imagining this is you in the story.” For the record, it isn’t. My characters are made up. Fiction. The things they’re going through are made up. Fiction. This is not an autobiography. That isn’t to say I don’t include one small piece of my life experience into each of my books. Like walking in a French market in Aix-en-Provence (Heart for Rent, with an Option).

Part of any author’s journey is using those life experiences. How can we write about pain if we’ve never felt it? The loss of a loved one if we haven’t lost someone? We have to draw on our very human emotions.

Another thing that often makes me uncomfortable is talking with people and admitting that I’m on husband number two. I was raised to believe divorce was never an option. Until I got divorced.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will tell you I didn’t want to fall into the same trap a second time. For the people who thought my first husband was a good choice, he never was. For those people who didn’t understand what I saw in my second husband, maybe you don’t understand me. He does. I’m living my happily ever after. Is he perfect? A story book hero? Heck, no. But then, I’m not a Disney princess, either. Or maybe I am. Maybe we’re more like Shrek and Fiona.


A romance novel does not give you unrealistic expectations, as much as people would have you believe that. Women might want a Prince Charming, but along those same lines, men are also looking for their perfect Barbie doll. It’s an ideal that doesn’t exist, and I think everybody knows that. Romance novels empower women to grow, to be who they are, and if a handsome hero happens to show up, all the better, as long as he gives the heroine room to be herself and to grow. A healthy relationship. Romance novels provide strong female main characters. Wonder women, even if they are only a wonder in their own small world.

When I write, my goal is to remind women we don’t have to be afraid of who we are, and not to settle for less than we deserve. Prince Charming isn’t always wearing a crown. Sometimes he’s a big, green ogre who is waiting for someone who can see there’s more to him than Fe-Fi-Fo-Fumming. That’s the realistic side of romance.

No comments:

Post a Comment