Monday, June 05, 2006

I Write Romance

Some people would probably prefer to write the word romance like this '*%$#@*)' and then nobody would know what they really write. Or maybe in Japanese or Korean? That might make it easier to admit?

What is so wrong with writing
romance? Seriously, I don't get it.

I recently went to a book signing by a Historical Romance author and as I queued up to get my copy signed, I overheard this conversation.

Fan: What do you like to read Mrs Author?
Mrs Author: I like Sara Paretsky, Michael Connelly. I read mystery. I don't read romance. My novels aren't romance, they're full of other stuff, like murders and mysteries.

Sheesh--I wish me and Nora Roberts had thought of that.

She seemed genuinely ashamed to be a romance writer. I bought her book anyway, even though it galled me to do so. Why did I bother? Because
I believe in supporting my fellow romance writers. I believe in their story-telling skills, their writing skills and I believe in their stories.

I've read a lot of other stuff, and apart from the occasional biography, crime, mystery, thriller, Sci-fi, fantasy, I only read romance ;-) I read the other stuff because there are great stories out there and we can all learn from our fellow authors. I rarely read 'literature' anymore. Generally, it bores me. Take me out and shoot me now--I've admitted it.

Now it is one thing for me to say literature bores me, having read masses of literature, and quite another for someone who has never picked up a romance novel to say
romances are crap. We are all entitled to our opinions, but they should be based on fact, not inaccurate perception.

There is a good article on writing Scottish romances by Maggie Craig. The only thing I might add is that this isn't a Scottish phenomena. In the western world,
romances are treated with that slight nose curl of distain.

Except by the fans who know what's inside. Who know they're going to get a feel good ending and a damn good story.


  1. I'm sorry - I believe in supporting romance authors too, but I wouldn't have bought this book. Anyone who writes romance and has such disdain for it doesn't deserve my support. But that's just me.

    And yes, most books considered "literature" do bore me. But at least I've read them. And being boring doesn't mean that I have disdain for them. They're just a different kind of story that I simply don't enjoy. I do read some mystery and fantasy too, but the majority of my reading time is confined to the world of romance. And I read mostly category - I've read some scathing remarks about them too, which I don't understand.

  2. How can someone write for a category and not stand up for it? Is she delusional? I, too, read literature when I was younger in an effort to broaden my mind. However, now, I read romance and a few others subjects/categories as well. I am not ashamed to admot it either. Too bad she felt differently.

  3. ""The day my heroines don't get good lovin' is the day I hang up my hat.""

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jane. This is her quote on the same subject, Toni. You're in waaay good company.

    ""But gratuitous sex? And romance roots showing?
    Baby, those ain't no roots.
    That's my frickin head of hair.""

    Check out her blog -- -- it's not the most recent one, you have to scroll down to the one before.

    And yeah, I too am proud of what I write. In fact, I'm going to emblazon it on a T-shirt and wear it!!!


  4. I'll read anything---just as long as there is a romance somewhere in the storyline.

    It could be that this writer really does not see herself as a romance writer. Curious to know what author it was.

    But I agree, the romance industry needs to receive a heck of a lot more respect than it does. They are, after all, the leader in all book sales. Perhaps the other genres think if they bad mouth us enough, people will stop buying out of embarrassment.

  5. I'm guessing it's because of the male dominance of society. Men aren't supposed to be sensitive, and romance carries with it a prejedice that no man would willingly be attached to. I doubt many have even read what they so wholeheartedly dismiss. I'm very suprised at Mrs. Author.

  6. I think it is easy to brand people in a bad way, so I'm not naming names. I think some of the problems with admitting to writing/reading romance are attached to religious aspects. They don't want their church group to think they might actually enjoy reading/writing about sex (and romance doesn't have to include sex)

    For other people it is a problem with intellectual perception. They think romances somehow make them look dumb.

    I wonder if this is all a lot deeper than we believe and actually rooted in political freedom and womens rights? I don't want to get into all that, but you have to wonder where the whole bias originated.

    I love Jane Porter's views. She's a smart lady :)

    I'm not against writers who move on and write different things. People grow and change and suddenly find they're actually much better at writing one genre than another. But the slant on romance is always as the ugly child who had something wrong with it, hidden away in some backroom--something to be ashamed of. Something to be ignored when the pretty kid arrived.

    Well, I love ugly kids!

  7. Scott, I think you might be right, and not just male, but a certain type of male. Doesn't sound attractive, does it?

  8. I agree with this post 110%! What's wrong with reading romance? It's great fun. And I read other things as well, like the other authors, but I think it "belittles" them in some way to admit they actually read the genre they write. STUPID! They expect others to buy it and read it.

    It's a form of snobbery. They want to be "literature rich" in their reading selections. Funny, I picture a pipe, a smoking jacket, and a fireplace. heh.

    And I might add that men write some of the most heart-wrenching romances. Nicholas Sparks? Shakespeare for goodness sakes (although no happy ending.) The romance between Romeo and Juliet is timeless.

    It's like with acting. Sometimes there's a stigma behind soap opera actors/actresses not being "real actors" that's just horse *(*#@$%#@. That's where a lot of actors get their start. Same as romance. Some mainstream authors began in romance.

    The smart ones stayed ;) *wink*

    Wow, I posted a lot today.

  9. Hear ye, hear ye! Proud to be a romance reader and writer! I see in in excellent company. :D

    I've yet to meet one person who've thumbed their nose at what I write. In fact most men seem envious of DH in that he gets to be on the receiving end of all that love (snicker, yea right) and woman are usually very interested to know that I'm persuing my dreams. All in all, my experiences have been positive.

  10. I'm not embarrased about reading and writing romance. I wear tee shirts all the time which identify me as a romance writer courtesy of the OCC/RWA. I am ashamed of the fact that I know a great deal of the dialogue from the movie "Smokey and the Bandit."

  11. Um, Rene - maybe you shouldn't tell too many people that ... LOL

  12. I'm afraid there will be always be those who thumb their noses at romance. I try not to worry about them because hey, I've got enough stuff on my plate. They're going to believe what they want to. If they have read a romance and still feel that way, well, then, not much I can say to that. But if they've NEVER read a romance and say that, I hope I'll have the courage to respond to their criticism.

  13. Category romance is extremely difficult to write. I'm surprised this author has been published. Surely, her disdain shows in her work? I agree with Peggy that the genre needs to receive much more respect. The Romantic Novelists' Association in the UK has done a lot over here to improve the image. Check out their website at

  14. What is so wrong with writing romance ... inadaquacies and jealousy!

  15. sheesh - I meant the ones who say - "I don't write/read them..." not those who love them like us... sorry, coffee wore off.....

  16. LOL Dennie--I understood.

    Siobhan, she isn't a cat writer. Cat Rom is very hard to write.

    Glad we all agree :)