As many of you know, besides being an editor, local feature writer, and generator of many Facebook status updates (#timewaster), I also write romance for Woman's World magazine and even have my own historical novel brewing on one of my laptops. When I tell people I write romance, their first (and quite involuntary) response is raised eyebrows (I wait for it). I can almost read their thoughts instantly: OMG... Dana must have the best sex life EVER!
While that I will neither confirm nor deny, I will say that your reactions and assumptions tickle me to pieces. Some romance writers don't get "the love" I get, though, and must suffer the stereotype of the typical romance writer, that we're all just looking for a long-haired, sword-wielding Fabio lookalike to sweep us off our feet (and it doesn't escape me that I am furthering that stereotype by including the photo of one of my favorite novels of all time). Regardless, here is an excellently written article by someone who has far more published works than I:
I write romance novels -- so what?
I write romance novels.
That obviously means that I am a sexually frustrated loser dressed in a robe and bunny slippers who lives in a dreary apartment with my cat and lives vicariously through my devastatingly beautiful heroines.
At least that's how I'm portrayed in most media.
OK, maybe I do wear bunny slippers. But that's only because my daughter bought them for me as a joke, and they keep my feet warm.
Oh, all right, I also have a couple of cats. And yes, in fact, I do have a libido. But that's as far as I go in resembling the caricature.
I actually don't write or read romances because I'm lonely, or because I feel inadequate, or want the chance to sneak a peak at dirty words. If you want to get political, I write romance because I like to remind myself (and everyone else. Writers are compelled to make other people listen to them) that I deserve everything I want in a relationship. I deserve to be happy, to be satisfied, to be safe, to be an equal. I deserve to be solvent and for my children to be taken care of.
As a genre written by women primarily for women, it is our promise to each other that life is worth reproducing. It's our commitment to the future. Pretty heavy stuff for heaving loins, huh?
If you think about it, though, we're in the business of hope. No matter what happens in a romance (and trust me, after 26 romances, I've had absolutely everything happen, from attempted suicide to the battle of Waterloo), everything comes out all right. We romance writers say, "If we just commit to each other, if we work together, we can get through anything." Very powerful message, if you ask me.