Sunday, March 6, 2011
It continues to puzzle me why romance writers aren’t afforded the same respect as other genre writers in the literary world.
Routinely, I hear disparaging remarks about romance: Anyone can write it; it’s so much fluff; it’s nothing but sex, and on and on.
The last I heard, romance is one of the bright spots in this dismal economy. Bookstores are folding at an increasingly rapid pace. Sales figures are anemic. But romance endures.
Literary snobs would probably attribute it to the old adage: “There’s no accounting for taste.” As a writer of contemporary, erotic, and erotic paranormal romance, I’d say it's because of the emotions evoked in a well-written romance. The hope engendered. The smile or tears the plot and characters produce.
Qualities found in any excellent novel. So why then is romance so maligned? Why isn’t horror equally trashed?
One of my favorite Stephen King novels is Carrie. Not because it was particularly frightening, but because it caught the essence of what it’s like to be an unpopular teen who desperately wants to fit in – to be liked – to be accepted. At times in high school, I was that teen. That’s what made the story special to me. In looking at the reviews it received, critics couldn’t praise it enough.
So why doesn’t the same happen with well-written romance?
One of the best love stories I’ve ever read was in Emma Holly’s The Top of Her Game. It wasn’t the sex that captivated me – it was the romance between Julia and Zach. The end was so delicious and sweet tears welled in my eyes. That’s awesome writing. And yet, Holly’s novel didn’t get the same red-carpet treatment as any of King’s work. I suspect even if she’d sold zillions of copies and became a mega-star with that one book, critics would have dismissed it because it’s erotic, because it’s romance.
And yet, romance – or a love story, if you will – is what makes this genre special as evidenced by the current selection of books all the way back to the Brontë sisters’ Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Those novels have endured because of the emotional bond between the lead characters, the emotions evoked by the plot. Contemporary romance writers do that every day. Hopefully, one day others will ‘get it’. If not, oh well, we’ll just keep on writing. :)
“Heat with Heart”
THE YEARNING (BESTSELLER)
SENSUAL STRANGER (BOOK OF THE YEAR 2010)
IN HIS ARMS (SIX - 5 Star Reviews)
ADORED (award winning - 4 Stars RT)
DEEP, DARK, DELICIOUS (5 Stars NOR - 4 Stars RT)