Writing and reading romance: there is no shame!

I really debated about what to write for my first blog post. Then I came across this brilliant article by Kristin Higgins, http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/67802-it-s-not-the-sex.html, and the words poured out of me.

This is, without a doubt, the most brilliant article I read have to date on why, those of us who write romance novels, do it. The love between two people while they are discovering themselves as individuals and as a couple. The emotionally satisfying ending. The list of positives of the genre goes on. The article also is perfect in discussing the stereotypes we face, the arrogance and judgements.

I shout it from the rooftops: I am a romance author and I am damn proud to be one. I am a master’s educated woman who spent many years studying and dealing with the human psyche, those with addictions, those with Axis I diagnoses. When people say they hate romance and turn up their noses to me, I ask, “Which ones have you read? I’ll bet I can find you an author or two you would like.” Invariably I get, “I haven’t read any. I just hate them and will never, ever read one.” At this point, I imagine them sticking out their tongue at me and going, “So there”, in the same one my kids did when they were three. “Oh, well,” I sigh, “Your loss.”

I remember eating breakfast on a cruise the summer of 2014 and a woman sat down at our table with a Harlequin. When I asked which author she was reading, she stammered, “Oh, this is one of those trashy, throw-away books, good for cruises and nothing too taxing while I am on vacation.” She actually turned red. I picked it up, said I knew this author, she was a friend of mine, we’d met at conference as I, too, am a published romance author. I said her books are great and she, like all of us, works very, very hard to write them. The woman then got defensive, made sure I knew she was a college-level English lit teacher, blah, blah, blah. I said we have those, I am a retired shrink, another friend is a retired ER doctor and on and on. I was holding her hand to the fire and she knew it. I told her it was too bad she was embarrassed to admit she read romance novels as they are fantastic. She hurriedly ate her food and left without looking at me again.

This is just one of the types of things we face all the time. But, we don’t stop and nor should we. We keep writing because we know romance novels have been around for a long, long time and are not going anywhere. There is a reason the romance genre is the number one read mass-market genre in the universe.
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