Is Falling in Love Really So Trivial?
By Sharon Clare
I write romance. I chose to write romance because falling in love feels good, and as important as it is to me to entertain readers, I also want them to feel good.
I read this sentiment recently expressed on Joan Swan's blog, by M.L. Buchman, a man who writes romance, yes, a man! A brave man, I think, after reading his post. This is a little snippet of what he had to say as to why he writes romance:
'First off, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want a love story in your book, even if it’s not a romance per se. What’s the most fun I ever had? Courting my wife.'
Romance has gotten a bad rap over the years. Stigmatized by Fabio-like shirtless men on 'bodice-ripper' book covers, romance stories were seen as little more than girl-porn.
I didn’t need to study writing craft for a decade, and attain a professional writing degree, and a college certificate to write dirty letters to a magazine.
Please, all those other genre readers, give us romance writers a break. Is falling in love really so trivial?
As romance writers, we must not only carry a plot forward, we must also delve into the psychology of relationships and what qualities bring two people together to conquer page-turning conflicts and fall in love. Heroines are savvy, discerning, multi-faceted, well-rounded, capable women these days. Shirtless Fabio's, no matter how ripped, just won't cut it if they don't impress these heroines.
Another reason I write romance: romance sells more books than any other genre—more than mystery, thrillers, historical, science fiction or literary. Okay, falling in love is not trivial at all.
But I don’t want to preach to the choir here.
Let’s get back to the romantically uncomfortable. I imagine every romance writer has been on the receiving line of a squeamish look when they admit they write romance. You know the one. Teeth clamped tight, tarnished glaze in eyes backing off in haughtiness. The look that says, ‘I don't read that frivolous stuff. Let's talk about that best-seller, the one on dysfunction, abuse, regret, rape, depression, terror or murder. Now, we're talking substance.’
I wonder . . . really? Do people really get squeamish over romance? To be romanced is not as satisfying as being terrorized? Not to suggest there are not incredibly well-written books on these subjects, thought-provoking books, I read them, I enjoy them. I just don’t think it’s necessary to pooh-pooh romance.
So what is it? Is it the sex in romance novels that makes some women squeamish? I have a few thoughts on this, but I better save them for another day.
I love spending my time on what goes into making a hero. What do women want? In my new paranormal romance, Love of Her Lives, I decided that while Calum the hero is very much an old-world man, and this causes great conflict between him and the contemporary, strong-willed heroine, he also excels at making a woman feel treasured.
This is a small excerpt from a scene where Calum wants to know why Beth is okay (at that moment) being with him:
His gaze softened as his thumbs started to twirl circles on her neck.
“No, Calum, it’s not just your physical appeal. You’re considerate and chivalrous, yet sensitive too. You’re kind and fun–loving, and oh wait, persistent, let’s not forget that one. But the thing I like most about you is you make me feel treasured, as if there’s nothing you want more than me.”
He laughed softly.
“What’s so funny?”
“It’s not that, m’eudail. Do you know what it means? M’eudail?”
“I hope it’s something nice since you keep calling me that.”
“It means my treasure.”
“Oh,” she said faintly. “You’re making me melt again.”
What kind of responses do you get if you admit to reading or writing romance?
Sharon Clare lives in Mississauga with her husband and three wonderful grown-up kids who come and go from the nest. Her favourite place to write is outside under the maple trees beside the trickling pond and blooming lilies.