“Well, it’s not formulaic, like romance.”
“Oh, you write those kinds of books.”
“Not interested, those are woman stories.”
Let’s be honest, romance gets a bad rap by everybody who doesn’t read romance. It’s the bad girl genre with the questionable reputation. The vapid hussy among literary types. Well, I’m here to push back on those stereotypes and hopefully convince you to give this much maligned genre another chance.
Yes, like most genres, there are certain parameters that romance adheres to. According to the RWA, every romance should have a centralized romance between two (or more) people and a “happily ever after.” However, there are an infinite number of possibilities that lie between those two points.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the vast array of sub-genres within the romance category. Sure, you have the well-known contemporary romance and historical romances. There’s also paranormal romance, sci-fi romance, sports romance, romantic suspense, lgbtq romance, erotic romance, clean and inspirational romance, Christian and Amish romance, and many others!
And why should that be so surprising? Walk up to anybody who is in a relationship and ask them how they got together, guaranteed they will each have a unique story to tell you.
“Romance is fluff. Only insipid, unintelligent people read it. I prefer literature.”
Have you ever stopped to think how challenging romance is? You’re basically taking two, completely separate people and trying to find a way for them to come together in a meaningful relationship. If that were easy, everybody would be happily paired up and the divorce rate would be sitting at zero. It takes self-reflection, communication, interpersonal skills, empathy, and courage to be in a healthy relationship. Not only does a person need to know what they want and need, but they also have to be able to express those needs, and then identify it in their partner. The romance genre explores the many diverse paths towards that success.
“It’s basically porn for women.”
Ah, yes. Many romances have – gasp – sex! Not only sex, but women who are empowered to search for and achieve mutually satisfying sex. You know what? It doesn’t stop there. Women in romances are also making informed decisions about their fate and goals throughout the book. Sex is just one aspect of their self-determination. How empowering is that? Why as a society is that considered so taboo? Frankly, I think we could use more examples of that.
And, no. Romance shouldn’t be just for women. To be honest, we could use more MEN reading romance and becoming familiar with what stories by women for women look like. Who knows, if more men were open to reading romance, we might be able to bridge the gap between “Mars and Venus.”
So next time you find yourself dismissing romance as a genre, or you hear someone with a similar reaction, please stop and reconsider! Romance has so much more to offer than a bare chest on the cover and a titillating climax.
Satin Russell was a financial advisor for many years up until she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer back in April 2013. It took her a year of saving and planning before she was able to commit to her goal full-time. Her debut novel, Secret Hunger, was published in April of 2015.
Satin lives in Massachusetts and is married to the love of her life, a man who literally flew halfway around the world for her. Other than writing, she loves reading, supporting fellow authors (especially self-published ones,) traveling, and photography. She’s also partial to a good whiskey every now and then. You can visit her website, and follow her on Twitter, Amazon, and Facebook.
GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a signed print copy of her book, Secret Hunger, to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment on this blog post. The winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.
Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo