I’ve just read Eileen Dreyer’s CNN article ‘I Write Romance – So What?’ and responded on her blog but she states her case – the case of most writers in whatever genre. Why do we have to defend what we do? Even writers of literary fiction have their enemies – ‘Why don’t you write something that people want to read?’ If you do, you’re accused of selling out to commercialism. Can’t win.
I have rarely read a book or seen a film that didn’t have some element of romance. Love provides the best reason there is for going through the pain of life and sex sells everything from cars to antiseptic surface cleaners. So why do romance writers have to apologize?
Do sadistic crime writers apologize for having minds that take their readers into the darkest corners of human behavior? Hardly. Do realism writers apologize for having such life-nullifying attitudes that their readers are driven to depression? Not likely. Science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, horror – not one of them is villified in the way that romance writers are. Why?
There is a simple, straight answer: Most romance writers and their readers are women.
I made the mistake of asking in my local library if any of the staff read Romance. I thought I had asked a sympathetic librarian, one with whom I had established a rapport. ‘We can find you one of the old dears.’ One public humiliation moment later, I realized women loathe women who write Romance. The reason is simple: they loathe that part of themselves that longs for hope and joy – probably because they read too much crime fiction, most of which delights in the destruction of women.
I write Romance. I write Romance for many reasons: Life is hard enough without having to read depressing stories about it. Hope is the force that compels us forward – if our ancestors hadn’t said ‘I can’, we’d have died out long ago. We do not have to make each other miserable to show that we are smart or that we understand the way life works.
I don’t have cats. I don’t have bunny slippers. I do have a Master’s Degree in Literature and a Post-Grad Certificate in Business. My house is huge, bright and full of family and friends.
I write Romance. I have read Romance since my mother gave me her copy of Gone with the Wind as my rite of passage into womanhood. Without Romance, I would never have survived my courtship with the love of my life.
“Tomorrow is another day.”