The Benighted Romance Novel

I actually meant to write a little bit about my work-in-progress this week. Perhaps touch on some of the reasons I created the type of heroine that I did, but a recent post I read changed my mind.

I think I was around 14 the first time I picked up a romance novel at my local library. I felt no trepidation or embarrassment taking it up to the counter or walking outside, carrying it in my hand for all the world to see. As I got older that started to slowly change.

The more I listened to those around me, to what society was saying, the more embarrassed I became about my liking for romance novels. When I went to the library I began scoping out the area, making sure no one I knew was around, before I ducked into the romance section. I started placing books from other genres that I also read on top of my book stack as I carried it outside.

I have never been the most extroverted person in the world and I struggle with shyness, but this is not an issue solely relating to me. It appears that many romance readers feel they must hide their choice of reading material.

“The New York Times” even published an article about the subject entitled “Lusty Tales and Hot Sales: Romance E-Books Thrive.” Well technically, the article was about how well romance books were selling in e-book format, but one of the reasons given for this was because it enabled romance book lovers to read in public without anyone being aware of what they were reading.

How did this happen I wonder? When did such an emotionally satisfying, optimistic,well-selling genre become so maligned?

This isn’t a question I can answer, but I know that it’s something we need to change. We need to be proud that we’re writers of romance, candid about our love for them.

Last year, while I was working in a Goodwill, an older gentleman came to the check out with a basket full of romance books. The cashier asked him who he was buying them for. He looked at her with absolute aplomb and said, “They’re all for me.”

I wanted to applaud.

 

(If you want to look at “The New York Times” article I mentioned follow this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/books/09romance.html?_r=1&emc=eta1)

Some of the e-book publishers they list are looking for submissions if anyone is interested.

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