I can’t believe how we’re already so far into the new year. If you remember, the third Saturday of each month is reserved for a reader in the community, so the title (I wrote) is a mashup – Special Guest + Reader Guest, cuz honestly, aren’t non-author guests really who are rare as blog guests? But enough of my musing – without further ado, this is what David has to say today!
Romance novels for me were the bodice-ripper types my mother read when I was a young teen. They had nearly shirtless men and women who were all boobs and no waist. The back cover blurb mentioned castles and alpha males who forced themselves on women. Being a guy that loves curvy girls, who is a decidedly beta male, and one whose least favorite subject was history I didn’t relate to these books at all and thought all of romance was like this.
When my wife and I married someone gave us a copy of Vicki Lewis Thompson’s book, Nerd in Shining Armor and at night I read the book out loud to my wife who is visually impaired. I found myself laughing along with the book and rooting for the couple. We both loved the book and soon we’d made our way through all of Vicki’s books we could find. Before long we were on to everything by Meg Cabot then Jennifer Estep’s Bigtime series (and later the Elemental Assassin series), and anything else we both would enjoy.
I discovered that the romance genre is not made up of only the books that my mother read but is, in fact, one of the most varied of all the fiction genres. I work in a library and I love recommending romance books for this reason. No matter the person’s reading preference there’s nearly always a romance novel that fits. I’ve also been able to get people that used to be like I was that would never read romance to pick up a romantic suspense book or something with a sci-fi type setting. Variety is the spice of life making the romance genre quite spicy.
Speaking of spicy another thing I love about the romance genre is the variations in heat levels. Personally I like all heat levels but not everyone is like that. Some like sweet stories where a kiss might be the extent of the passionate activity while others enjoy erotica in which anything could happen. When 50 Shade of Grey was so wildly popular we’d have people ask about the book and I’d often answer that the heat level was quite a bit more than just spicy. Some customers would turn their noses up in disgust while others would smile gleefully while turning over their library card.
No matter the heat level one thing all romance books have in common, and what defines the genre, is that there is a [Spoiler Alert] happily ever after ending. There are enough bad things going on in the news that an escape from the terrible things people do to each other is something I need. Romance provides me with that escape. I know that when I pick up a romance novel the couple will face adversity whether it’s external, which is often the case in romantic suspense, or internal due to some misunderstanding between the couple I can be assured that the conflict will be resolved. The couple will end up together or they will conquer their adversary together and all will be right in their world.
Speaking of world building the last thing I’ll mention that I love about romance is the world building. I’ve never been a fantasy reader but I did read a lot of sci-fi growing up and I loved the places authors created. Romance, especially paranormal/urban fantasy, has that in spades. Whether it’s a world that doesn’t exist or our world but it’s populated with trolls, vampires, fey, etc. I love the ability romance authors have to bring the world to life for me while still giving me my happily ever after.
I am a man who loves romance novels. That’s not a sentence I thought as a teen I’d ever write but it’s true. Romance novels entertain me, they make me feel good, they show me new and interesting worlds, and I can always count on finding a book I will enjoy because of the huge variety of subgenres.
What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing with us, Dave! So I’m curious about all of you – put yourselves in Dave’s shoes (at least for the purpose of this post!) – what kind of things would you have said? 😀 And … I can’t promise you this because I didn’t clear it with him first but … do you have any questions for him? I might try and get him to come answer. 🙂