I recently heard an interview with Nora Roberts, aired on PBS. Ms Roberts writes romance. Yeah, I think I heard half of you gasp that I would even mention THAT genre. Why? What is your objection to romance novels?
It’s written for women? I suspect that – like most novels – it’s written for whoever enjoys reading it. There are some men who read romances, and some women who wouldn’t be caught dead with one in their hands.
It’s written by women? Not exclusively. Anyway, can you name a genre that doesn’t have women writing it? Fantasy, science fiction, mystery, horror, paranormal, thriller … they all have women writing them. The most likely genre I can think of that might not have any women writing it is western. Since I’ve dabbled in that genre myself, I’m not sure there are no women-written westerns.
It’s pure escapism? What genre isn’t? I read fantasies about witches and dragons to escape the drudgery and stresses of my real life. The truth is that any novel I pick up and read offers an opportunity to set aside my life for a few hours and escape into somebody else’s life. It helps me put my mundane problems in perspective.
Women who read romance are missing something at home? Where does that come from? It’s true that when I read about witches and dragons, I don’t have any of those at home. When I read a western, I don’t have gun fights at home. But love, romance and a loving relationship are different. I have a husband, and we’ve been together about three decades. We have our ups and downs, like every couple, but the current state of our relationship has no bearing on whether or not I choose to read a romance next. When I do read a romance, it’s nice to have the literary confirmation that relationships require work.
Ms Roberts has over 200 romance novels out. She has sold so many copies, I understand that she is one of the most popular authors in the world. And romance, as a genre, comprises more than half the paperback fiction sales. That means less than half the fiction paperbacks sold are the other genres, including mainstream and literary. Evidently, there’s a lot of people out there who like to read about love, romance and relationships.