So I had a thought and who knows it may turn into a book or a series of short stories about why the best book genre is Romance. It’s a totally unbiased option, obviously, with years and years of research to back up my rock-solid hypothesis.
This is in no way a smut shaming exercise. I will staunchly and happily advocate the value of the genre, of its long history (Jane Ayre was a romance, as was Pride and Prejudice). Romance entertains, promotes literacy and community among readers (fierce and strong is the romance reader community and I’ll cut you if you tell me otherwise). Whether you read A Brief History of Time or The Hungry Catapillar if reading gives you pleasure you shouldn’t need to defend it…ever. And let’s not forget this golden nugget; the majority of romance books are written by women, for women, where the hero is the heroine and she always, always gets her Happily Ever After. #forthewin
Romance readers should never feel the need to justify their choice of books. And if ever you find yourself in that position, do what I do, retort with the sweetest smile and a brow raised high with judgment, and ask,
“What’s your problem with women and sex?”
No, I’m not going to add to this particular discussion.
I’m going to propose that the romance genre is actually an essential element for any relationship, a key-worker if you will.
What makes me such an expert I hear you ask? Since “because I said so” might not cut it with you and probably hasn’t done for a while, I will just say I’ve written 16 romance novels, (erotic romance, romantic suspense/thriller and rom/com), have sold over 250K books, which I know isn’t in the big leagues by any stretch but it’s not to be sniffed at and I have a very dusty bachelors degree in Communication. Enough? No, I agree, not remotely.
OK, how about I try to explain by way of my own personal experience. I have been married for over 30 years…yes I know, where’s my medal? I’m a grown-assed woman who knows the difference between the possessive sexy alpha hero and a crazy psycho-stalker in real life. I know the difference between being thrown up against a wall and ravaged to with an inch of your breast-heaving breathless life and assault. I know the difference between insta-love and insta-lust, I know the difference between the super hot billionaire in books and the actual billionaires (not mentioning any names….oh wait…Mark Zuck and Mr. Bezos ahem.) But in the books I and millions of others love and devour, the lines are not only a little blurry, but I’ll happily smug them out completely in order to fall head over heels in love with my next book boyfriend.
I often get asked, “I’d love to know what Daniel & Bethany are up to now.” But do you really? I don’t think so. It’s never a good idea to go back, visiting characters you’ve been through the mill with only to learn that Daniel does in fact leave the toilet seat up or that Bethany isn’t such a fan of anal. In order to go back, the drama would need to be re-introduced and in romance that can only mean one of three things: cheating, an illness/amnesia, or death, and frankly where’s the romance in that?
However, there have been many times when I’ve smirked, rolled an eye to the heavens at the impossibility of the bedroom gymnastics, or winced at the sheer stamina of both the hero and heroine. I’m just as guilty as a romance writer but do I care? Heck-to-the-no. Do I want to read that? Duh…yes, of course, I do.
So with my tongue firmly placed in my cheek, I want to explore a flip side, where reality meets romance. I don’t want to simply expose poorly written smut, which cloth can be hilarious I want o to create some fresh scenarios that need the reality treatment. I need some help though. I need to know the type of scenes that drive you crazy, that have you puzzled or incredulous, and while I’m at it, give me those words you can’t stand to.