I’m stepping out of the literary closet to say–I’ve written a romance! Not only have I written a romance, I’ve read A LOT of the genre this past year (47 and counting to be exact,) and the more I read, the more I am amazed how what a bad rap it has amongst the group who claims to be “the masses.”
Most of those “rappers” are probably tucked in bed with a book and a flashlight or a Kindle, reading love stories like crack, but too embarrassed to admit it. But why? Romance is happy. Romance is hopeful. Sometimes hot, but always satisfying. In a world that desperately needs more HEA’s (happily ever afters,) it consistently delivers in spades. And the truth is that if you take $1.6 billion dollars in romance sales out of the publishing industry, if you banned it, blotted it out altogether, the PUBLISHING INDUSTRY would fold, doors close, case closed. Not to mention that rioting women and men (so I hear although I’ve never met any men who avidly read the genre) would take to the streets demanding their fix of love stories.
I am in truly love with this new book. The kind of love that is a culmination of that first crush I had on a blond with a Beetles hair cut in the fifth grade, the kind of love that mimics the huge crush I had on my hot high school English teacher Buck Asbill, and the “oh my God, I can’t live five minutes without you” kind that came after my first kiss with the man who would be my husband six years later.
My new book feels like all of that and more. As friends and critique partners read it, I wait with the same anticipation any girl gets after introducing the love of her life to her besties. The difference is I can actually fix the things I don’t like about the new book or the things that are consensually wrong. Every time I revisit the story and revise, I add a whole new layer of giddiness to the feelings I already have for this romance that doesn’t have a title yet.
But somewhere in all my euphoria, I feel a little sad that I’m a more of a storyteller than a writer. If I didn’t have a long line of colorful mouthy Southern people in my head patiently waiting their turn to tell their stories, I’d be a romance writer. I’d write only about love, which is a lot harder than “the masses” want to believe. This very real force in, yes, I’m going to say it–LITERATURE is intimate; it’s like borrowing the author’s favorite pair of shoes or sharing their chocolate.
So let it be known; I’m declaring my own independence from giving a rats behind about what the nay sayers say about the genera–I many never be able to do this again, but by God, I’ve written a romance and I LOVE it. Here’s HEA’s forevaaah!