I write romance for the same reason I’ve read romance for years: I love the genre. I love losing myself in the challenges and trials of two characters who are destined to be together.
I guess I want to believe that there’s somebody for everyone, and that under just the right circumstances and with a bit of that magic we call romance, happily-ever-afters are within our reach. Before you scoff and call me a Pollyanna, I assure you I’m enough in tune with reality to lock my doors and warn my children of strangers. I watch the news and I see the state of our world. But what do we have if we don’t have hope?
Romance is all about hope.
Several years ago I received the most memorable letter I’ve ever received from a reader. She told me how much she’d enjoyed my book, how she identified with the characters and how she’d cried for the heroine. Like the character in my story, she’d been stalked and beaten by someone who should have loved her. Unlike my character however, the reader has permanent nerve damage to her arm. Her story touched me so deeply that it made me cry. Her true story forced me to consider what I was doing.
I sat at my desk thinking how shallow my work is. I mean, I make all this stuff up! I order peoples’ lives about and manipulate them to suit my plots -- but it’s all fiction. While I sit in my comfortable office with every convenience at my fingertips, sipping cup after cup of coffee and tea and munching M&Ms, out there in the world people are experiencing devastating hurts and losses and traumas. What I do seemed so inconsequential in that light.
That thinking lasted about, oh, ten minutes. And then I realized why this young reader had been touched so profoundly by my story. She said she hoped that some day she would meet a man like my hero, a man who would love her that same way. She had hope. And romance is about what? Hope.
We invest our time in the characters in these stories because we know that no matter what dilemmas befall them, no matter what obstacles they face or which conflicts arise, in the end love will conquer all; good will win over evil; and a happily-ever-after will prevail. Each of us hopes there is a special someone out there, a special man or woman who will love us unconditionally and fill that place created in our heart just for them. Romance brings our hopes to life. Through these stories of love and commitment, we experience the fulfillment of the human dream.
What better reason do we need to love romance?