So I read this article yesterday on nymag.com. Historical novelist Eloisa James is interviewed and she has some great things to say about being a romance writer. That inspired me to write a little bit about why I choose to write romance.
First off, I’m a feminist.
Does that matter? Yes!
I decided to write romance novels because I like that romance novels are (for the most part) written for women, by women. Like rom-coms, melodramas, chick-lit, and soap operas, romance novels are often considered ‘not artistic’ or ‘less than’ because of this fact. 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight are just the latest punching bags in the long history of women’s lit and romance punching bags, but I think it’s unfair to make these two hugely successful outliers the ‘end all be all’ of romance. There are a TON of romance novels, with lots of different characters, storylines, and messages. As we true romance fanatics know, 50 Shades is not indicative of all romance, period. But since women are the ones buying and reading romance, I do think it’s important that there be some actual feminist thought contained behind all those bodice-ripping pages.
Straight up: I wrote Kiss of Ice because I was fed up with the types of heroines that were being written in romance. I was tired of the Bellas and Anastasia Steeles. There’s obviously something attractive about those types of weak heroines for a large portion of the population, but I am not one of those readers. I like a bitchy heroine, an active heroine, a difficult heroine, a smart heroine, a heroine that knows what she wants and goes for it. I like a heroine that’s not perfect and not sweet. And I like a male hero who likes a difficult, smart, feisty, not-perfect heroine. I like the fight. I like the banter. I like the power shifts that happen. I like the clash of two people on an equal playing field.
That’s the important part: in the end, they’re equals. By the end of Kiss of Fire, Toni and O’Donovan are equals. Christophe and Annata are equals. One isn’t more powerful or any more ‘right’ in their relationship. One doesn’t dominate the other. There’s a shifting of power and a back and forth as they fall in love and they figure out how to be together, but in the end, the struggle makes it all worth it. That’s how I think relationships should be. I like when my heroes and heroines are a team. And, of course, I like the happily ever after of two people who are meant to be together. Who wouldn’t?
Not all my heroines are bitchy… but they are all complex and three-dimensional, because that’s how human beings are. Their lives are enriched by being in love, but the love doesn’t take over everything. They’re all successful and self-actualized in their own right. I like writing, and reading, about women like that. (P.S. I’m always looking for stories with heroines like that, so if you know any, comment below!)
Lastly, I decided to write romance because I couldn’t NOT write romance. Most of my writerly persuasions and inclinations lean toward romance. When I write scripts, I tend to keep the romance front and center as well, although I’ve written mostly action and horror scripts. I can’t help it! I love a good love story. By ‘good love story’, I mean a love story full of drama and stakes and real connection between two characters. When watching a movie or reading a book, I can’t stand when I’m supposed to believe that two characters are in love because I’m told that they’re in love. I want to see them fall in love. I want to see that moment when they realize that they can’t live without each other. I want to see that moment of heartbreak when they can’t be together even though they want to be. I love that shizz. I eat it up with a spoon!
Basically, I love the possibilities of the genre. I don’t fangirl everything that’s out there. Not gonna lie, I’m a harsh critic. But I live for that moment when I find a great book and a new author to stalk.
So why do I write romance? Because I love it!
To any other authors out there, why do you write romance?