More and more I’m raising eyebrows when someone asks, “So, what do you write?” and I say, “I write romance. I’m a romance novelist.” There’s even occasionally awkwardness following this statement–not from me–from them. Some people behave as if I’ve confessed to a much more *cough cough cough* way of making a living. But, you know what? There is no shame in writing romance–and I’ll tell you why…in three reasons.
(You knew there’d be three reasons. Even if there weren’t to begin with…there’d be three reasons. I’m actually trying to think of a third right now. Just kidding.)
1. Love is what we’re all searching for. There are many variations on love. Love of self. Love of a higher power. Love of others. Familial love. Romantic love. If you think you’re not searching for some form of love right now–you’re fooling yourself. Every book is a love story…and romances are about finding that love. We’re honest about our intentions in that. We’re going to focus on the individuals searching for love rather than the path.
There’s this common misconception that writing romances is easy–that there’s this formula we just drop our characters into and magically there’s a story. Nothing could be further from the truth. With character-driven stories, you have to show growth in individuals–in their emotions. Each character has their own arc of growth they’re following that inevitably joins with the person they’re falling in love with. They overcome conflict. They have dark moments when all is lost. A good romance is an emotional journey.
2. I write romance because I love the emotions of falling in love. If you’ve read my Twitter bio, you know it says I’m HAPPILY married. While this was primarily to keep the creepers away, it’s also true. I’ve fallen in love. I’m in love. Argue all you want–nothing compares to those first heady days where your heart pounds and you get butterflies. You can’t recapture some first times with the same person. Well, maybe with a massive head wound, but I’m not willing to go to those lengths. I’m in the sequel to my love story…maybe the epilogue, though that sound depressing. Writing romance gives me the chance to feel that again.
Sometimes when I people watch, I run across new couples. Couples who spend time memorizing the other person with their gazes. Couples who appreciate being in love because they recently remember being alone. Couples feeling the magic. And I look at them and it takes me back to those first days with my husband. Romances are that opportunity.
Once upon a time when I was single, I read romances all the time too. Why? For the same reason. That moment of magic when two people connect is an amazing gift of hope to someone struggling to find it. You see two people who weren’t in their happily-ever-after on page one. They had things to get through–conflicts to resolve. A romance is a glimpse into the human psyche as they work to deserve the love they’ve found by page 193.
Reading a romance gives you the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes…and maybe escape your everyday life–those stupid dishes and the never-ending laundry…and fall in love. Writing a romance let’s me share that escape with you. It’s a powerful gift. You can fall in love for the first time or maybe all over again. I write those books.
3. I write romance because everyone deserves to be loved and being loved brings out the best in us. I write flawed characters. Some of my characters might even be broken. They make mistakes. They stumble. They trip. They fall. My characters aren’t perfect.
If you’ve read On His List, you know the main character in it has OCD. Writing that story was validating because everyone deserves to be loved. You know what’s been really validating? The positive response to Owen. Universally from what I’ve seen, everyone loves Owen. I’m curious if, without Remy as a foil, there’d have been as much Owen adoration. I don’t think there would be–partly because he grows and gives a little to be with her. That character growth in the short span of that book is not only endearing, but it reminds readers of how love can change someone.
Everyone deserves to be loved. If you don’t believe me, I can prove it to you in roughly 5 to 200 pages.
Those are three reasons I write and read romance, but I’m sure other writers and readers have their reasons too. The point of this blog post is: Yes, I write kissing books. I write books where people fall in love. I write books where love really conquers all. I can take you away from laundry or a long lonely night and make you smile. I can help you escape.
Yes, I write romance. No, I’m not ashamed. I validate what you’re looking for right this minute. I’m the one telling you that love is worth occasionally taking ridicule and taking risks.
I’m not saying I deserve an award…well, a little one…maybe a plaque. Or, you know, just throw money at me.