That's one reason for the rerun blog post I'm about to give you, but it isn't the only reason.
The single most common feedback I've been hearing from people reading Making Waves is something along the lines of this:
I normally don't like romance novels, but I loved yours and laughed all the way through it.
It's one of my favorite compliments to receive, and I'll admit I'm proud of the fact that so many non-romance readers seem drawn to my book.
But there's a tiny part of me that feels defensive on behalf of my genre. That's the part prompting me to resurrect a post I originally wrote last May. Maybe you already read it, maybe you didn't. It bears repeating in any case, so without further ado, I give you...
Friday, May 28, 2010
The other night, I went to a dinner party with a 2004 Jardiniére Rosé Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
That’s a complicated way of saying I brought a bottle of pink wine. A damn good wine, but pink nonetheless.
There’s a stereotype associated with pink wines, and it’s not a good one. People think of the sickly-sweet rotgut sold in gallon jugs as “white zinfandel” and think pink=cheap. Unless you’re a starving college student, cheap is not a good thing in wine.
I was recently at Firesteed doing research for LET IT BREATHE, and the tasting room associate lamented this as he poured their fabulous 2008 Pinot Noir Rosé.
|A most excellent Rosé.|
It’s not hard for me to draw a parallel between that and the romance genre.
I’ll proudly tell anyone from my grandma to the paperboy that I write romance. Though most are supportive, I’d be delusional if I said I didn’t see the occasional sneer. It’s a look that suggests I’m either a sexual deviant, an inferior writer, or some combination of the two.
My instinct is to stammer something about how I write quirky romantic comedies that are way different from the stereotypical bodice rippers with Fabio on the cover.
And then I get mad at myself, because so damn what if I wrote bodice rippers? Is there something wrong with that?
Statistically speaking, the romance genre generated $1.37 billion in sales in 2008, and remained the largest share of the consumer market at 13.5 percent (thanks RWA for those stats).
And yet, as the creators of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books noted in their hysterical book BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS, “romance is easily the most well-hidden literary habit in America. Millions of dollars are spent on romance novels, yet few will admit to reading them.”
I’m not sure what’s behind that. Is it the desire to be seen as intellectual who would never read escapist tripe? Is it the fear of being branded a sexual deviant along with the author?
Or is it something else?
As the recipient of a degree in English Lit, I am qualified not only to serve Happy Meals, but to point out that romance is part of nearly every great work of literature. The Illiad, Hamlet, Don Quixote, Anna Karenina…frankly, you’d have a shorter list if you just tallied up the books without romance (and then skipped them entirely, because really, who wants to read anything without nookie in it?)
While most modern romance novels probably won’t find their way into the literary canon anytime soon, that doesn’t make them any less worthy of respect and admiration. The romance genre is popular, it’s enjoyable, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of – for readers or for writers.
So on that note, I lift my glass of pink wine in a toast to everyone who loves romance. Cheers to all of you – the sexual deviants, the good and bad writers, and anyone who just craves a damn good love story.