Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why do we love romance novels?

Wordplay and Witticisms: In 15th and 16th century England, people found guilty of being religious heretics were sentenced to death by burning...this term evolved from those judgments. What is it?

As writers it is important to know our target audience…my guess is that most of us are also members of our target audience…The only thing I like more than writing a romance is reading one!

Supposedly, a large percentage of women who read romance are happily married or in otherwise committed, monogamous relationships. Is that true? I happen to be, but I would be interested to know where that theory came from and if there is any truth to it…

If you fit into that group, why do you love romance novels? Is it because it gives you an escape from your own life for a time? Or do you read romance to become re-energized? Grateful (as in “Thank the stars my life isn’t as complicated as …. – insert name of current heroine here)? Or is it something else? Author Alicia Blade has this to say in her blog, Ali’s Blog, last week:

“…I wonder now if women who are in happy, satisfying relationships don't read the novels not because they're missing something, but rather as a means of reliving those first few weeks or months of passionate excitement that almost inevitably fades. Women often say that they feel more intimate with their mates after reading a romance, and I think that this is possibly because the romance reminds them of those feelings once-experienced—not necessarily lost, but harder to recapture now that the relationship has settled into comfort and security.”

Falling into the category of happily married-romance novel lover, I have to agree with Ali’s musings. I find a stengthened connection physically and emotionally to my husband after reading a good romance. I am reminded of what it was like when I first fell (hard and fast, I might add) for him. We were completely absorbed in each other, constantly thinking about the other and putting the majority of our energy into our blooming romance. Now, ten years, three kids, several houses and numerous jobs later, we can’t do that; but the blossoming relationship between a hero and heroine takes me back to those crazy, giddy times. I think it is more than just fond remembrances, though. It is actually recapturing the feelings that were so strong when our love was new. I felt a graciousness and gratitude toward the whole world as a giddy, love-sick twenty-five year old. My faith in goodness and love was renewed. I get those same feelings from reading a great romance. My love with my husband is renewed but so is my faith in the world…

Sappy? Yeah… Cheesy? Maybe…Do I keep going back for more…and more…and more? You bet I do! And my sincerest hope is that the novels I write leave my readers with the same feel-good fuzzies.

That leaves me with a whole handful of questions…Are you in a relationship? Does that influence whether you read romance or not? Why do you read romance?

W & W Answer: Rake over the coals
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