Yes, it’s here – the Love Day! Romance readers and writers are experts in matters of the heart, and boy do we ever take flack for it. How many of you have had to put up with snarky comments or sneering looks from your fellow commuters, just because you chose to read a romance novel on the bus? Or how about the elitist bookstore clerk who can’t help making a rude remark about that historical or paranormal romance you intend to buy?
Romance writers aren’t immune to that kind of snobbery, either. I was doing a book signing in a mall a few years ago, and a perfectly normal looking woman made a point of crossing the very wide corridor in front of the store, just to tell me that she didn’t waste her time reading “books like that.”
Well, in the words of New York Times bestselling author Lani Diane Rich, “screw that!” I saw Lani in a workshop yesterday, and she reminded us that writing romance is a truly awesome thing to do. We get to write wonderful, heartfelt stories that bring joy to people’s lives, and help them through what might otherwise be a pretty crappy day. We write about love in all it’s wonderful, mysterious permutations. We write about a force that is invisible to the naked eye but is as powerful as a category five hurricane, a thing lacking in physical substance but which can remake the world in the most positive, life-affirming ways.
Romance novels seek to capture the essence of that force, and shape it into a story that will have an impact on the reader’s mind and heart. And make no mistake – romance novels do make a difference in people’s lives. I recently read a wonderful blog post by the uber-talented Teresa Medeiros, who also happens to be a lovely person. The name of the post is “SAY IT LOUD AND SAY IT PROUD: I READ AND WRITE ROMANCE!” In it, Teresa talks about why she writes romance:
People often ask me why I write romance. I write romance because the ever expanding boundaries of the genre allow me to express my own heartfelt beliefs in optimism, faith, honor, chivalry and the timeless power of love to provoke a happy ending. In a society gutted by cynicism, we have found the courage to stand up and proclaim that hope isn’t corny, love isn’t an antiquated fantasy, and dreams can come true for women still willing to strive for them.
If you doubt this, you must read about some of Teresa’s friends and fans and the impact of her novels on their lives. They are truly moving examples of the power of the written word, and of how love and hope can see us through some very dark times. Trust me. You owe it to yourself to read Teresa’s post.
To all my readers and friends I send you my gratitude and love, and I wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day. May it be an awesome one!