To paraphrase the New York Sun from years ago, Yes, Virginia, there is a need for romance books!
If there is one thing I tire of when I tell someone I write, it's that look on their faces when I say I write romance. The expression is a cross between surprise and disappointment. You can just see that they thought they were going to meet a writer, a writer of books. Real books, not fluffy, silly romances, which everyone knows are all formulaic and anyone with half a brain can write.
When I first started writing, I sort of lowered my voice and changed the topic when people asked me first what I did and then what I wrote. That didn't last long, however, and now I defend my chosen genre vigorously. I love reading romances and definitely love writing them. So, for all of my friends—old and new—who wonder why, here's the answer.
When we read our favorite romance authors, we’re carried away to a place where anything is possible. In them, we envision ourselves as the beautiful heroine who always has an interesting job and dreams we know will come to fruition by the end of the book.
The hero is handsome, rakish, alluring. He might not understand women any better than our own SOs understand us, but he’s always stalwart and dependable and willing to pledge true, undying love by the conclusion of the story. *sigh*
Instead of bludgeoning us with the contrast between real life and fiction, romance novels spark a deep sense of comfort, and release us for a time from the worries found in normal life. Distilled to its base, a romance novel is positive emotion. Even the most pragmatic among us longs for a happy ending. Yes, despite a plot everyone knows rationally could never truly exist, and even when the reality of the daily grind remains to be handled, reading about two lovers who come together and find happiness makes us feel better about ourselves and our lives. It lowers the blood pressure and reduces tension. For a while—sometimes for days, weeks, months—we smile more.
What's better than losing yourself in a story of forever love? Nothing that I know. Especially in this day, when everywhere we look there's doom and gloom. Lord knows I need a little escapism, and I love finding it reading about love.
So I don’t feel guilty when I choose to read a hot and spicy erotic romance, or a sweet Regency, or even an old-fashioned bodice ripper. I certainly don't feel embarrassment about writing them. I'm only answering the undeniable need to counteract what I'm thrust into every day in the “real” world. Resist? Heck no. I give in and enjoy!
What's the last book you read that made you feel exquisite? I just enjoyed Tangled in Time by Barbara Longley. I really liked it. For a day it took me away from bills, deadlines and an unfinished manuscript, and made me smile. What a great thing to say about anything!
Dee S. Knight and Francis Drake are husband/wife erotic romance writers. They have been married for nearly fifty years and know all about the stress of real life and how to alleviate the worst of it. Visit them at their website for sweet romance (Ann Krist), historical romance (Amber Carlton), ménage and shifters (Jenna Stewart), erotic romance (Dee) and beyond erotic (Francis). Find out more about Dee's latest romance, Naval Maneuvers on Amazon.
Naval Maneuvers by Dee S. Knight
Men and women of the armed forces experience love and desire pretty much like everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of "duty, honor, service" as a man might apply them to a woman's pleasure. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which you'd better be armed, whether weighing anchor and moving forward into desire, dropping anchor and staying put for passion, or setting a course for renewed love with anchor home.
Weighing Anchor (allowing a ship to move forward by retrieving the anchor): A professional woman sworn to avoiding all things military finds herself in love with a lieutenant commander in the Navy. Love won't conquer all if she allows her childhood memories to eclipse future happiness.
Dropping Anchor (securing movement by dropping the anchor): Two people find (surprisingly) that they are both in the Navy and love their chosen professions—until one turns out to be an officer but not a gentleman and the other is a gentleman but not an officer.
Anchor Home (safe, smooth sailing): When two former lovers find each other after more than a decade, will a long-hidden secret threaten the course of a rekindled romance or be the cause of it?