Day 25 Ruthie Knox – Taking Love and Women Seriously

Hi friends! Due to some scheduling miscommunications on my part, Lucy Monroe is not posting today. We will try to post her later in the week. Apologies to Lucy’s fans! For today, Ruthie Knox has graciously stepped in. Thank you so much, Ruthie!

Not Settling for Less Than We Deserve

I was invited by the moderator of National Read-a-Romance Month to post today about why romance matters.

I will be honest and say, first, that this isn’t something I ask myself very often. I take it as a given that if something is important enough to hold a giant swath of my attention over a span of years, it probably matters. After all, I matter. As a person, as a human, as a thinking, breathing being, I have value. My interests have value. And if you multiply me times all the other beings who enjoy reading and writing and thinking about romance — and there are an awful lot of us — then of course we matter. Why wouldn’t we matter? Who would be stupid enough to argue that we don’t, or that our interests MIL-Webare unimportant, trivial, worthy of ridicule?

Oh. Right.

So then I remember, yes, we live in a world where romance novels are trivialized, romance itself is trivialized, women and women’s interests are routinely, thoroughly, oppressively trivialized. Yes. There is that. And given that — given that being a romance writer and a romance reader can in fact be an embattled position, what do I have to say in its defense?

Romance novels matter because they take love seriously, and love is serious business. It binds us together. It makes marriage, family, and intergenerational networks of emotional and financial support all possible. Without love, there is no glue that can hold a society together over the long term. We need love. The Beatles have suggested that all we need is love, and while I wouldn’t go that far, I do think love is pretty darn important.

Romance novels matter because they take women seriously, and they do so in the midst of a culture that often looks down on women’s accomplishments, women’s thoughts and feelings, women’s passion, women’s sexuality. Romance novels aren’t necessarily vehicles for self-transformation, but they can be. Romance novels have helped women decide to leave abusive spouses, to demand more from their relationships, to claim their sexuality, to go after what they want in life and not settle for less than they deserve. All fiction has the power to do this. Romance novels have the power to do this. They matter.

And, finally, romance novels matter because we write them, and we read them, and we matter. Whoever we are. Whatever it is we want to say. Diverse women and men, diverse perspectives, diverse stories to tell. They all matter.


Questions for Ruthie:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

I have a Hummel figurine of a girl reading a book. It sits on a shelf in my office. I’m not a figurine person at all, and if I were, I wouldn’t be a Hummel figurine person, but my grandma picked it out for me to have when I was young, and I always knew that when I grew up it would belong to me. Now it does. I like to have it there to remind me of her.

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

How To Be Good. I would be played by Claire Danes. Or possibly Natalie Portman. It would be an extremely boring movie.

What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

Last year, when I went to the RWA meeting in Anaheim, California, my husband stayed at home with our son and repainted and rearranged my office for me, just to be nice. It was very sweet of him.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

Hmm. I’d suggest that a first-time reader of my books might want to begin with the meet scene between Tom and Lexie on the beach in Ride with Me. Because if you’re down with Tom and Lexie, you’re probably down with Ruthie Knox, generally.

As for a first-time reader of romance overall? Oh, gosh. So many good books to pick from. I think I might recommend the infamous lamp-throwing scene in Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome To Temptation. It’s so much that is sexy and awkward and great in romance writing. Plus, it’s a little bit kinky, and if you can hang with the kinky, you’re probably already part of our crowd.


You are reading this essay at ReadARomanceMonth.com. Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are participating in celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.  Also visit the Awesome Contests page to see how you can register each week to win “A Month of Romance” (31 books), e-readers, and even the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!

Ruthie is generously donating two ebook copies of Making it Last for the domestic drawing and a signed paperback of Along Came Trouble for international readers.  International readers enter here. To enter the domestic contest, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 25 to be eligible, though winners will be announced at a later date.


6_smaller_colorUSA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing.
Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life.

Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website at www.ruthieknox.com and drop her a line.

  • Mary McCoy

    I love that scene with Tom and Lexie! Thank you for your post and your books, and I doubt a movie about you would be boring, especially if knitting, motherhood and romance writing are involved!

  • Laura

    Your writing sounds great.

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    I lol and loved Tom and Lexies story. And you are right, I was hooked ever since i read that first book.

  • Kim Cornwell

    Romance does matter. During times of stress an sorrow it helps so much. I love romance and read everyday. I try to read at least 2 books a week! I don’t know what I would do without them. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Love meeting new authors!

  • Bette Hansen

    You are so right Ruthie….romance does matter…it lightens our days and gives us hope. thanks for sharing.

  • MK

    I’m so glad that you feel writing romances is important- thank you for your wonderful books!

  • mariannewestrich

    It took me many years to come to the realization of what you summed up so well … I matter … what I like matters … and so my love of romance matters!!!!

  • Britney Adams

    Thank you for this wonderful essay! I can’t wait to meet Tom and Lexie!!

  • Ann

    “Romance novels matter because they take women seriously, and they do so
    in the midst of a culture that often looks down on women’s
    accomplishments, women’s thoughts and feelings, women’s passion, women’s
    sexuality.” – So live this statement!!

  • Patty Vasquez

    “Romance novels matter because they take love seriously, and love is serious business.” Thank you for this essay and your powerful statements about how romance novels validate women and those who read them. Even in humorous romance, maybe especially in humorous romance, love is serious business.

  • Joanne Ozment

    I love your thoughts on women. Women still don’t make as much as men and we still don’t have enough women in position of power whether in business or politics. I love books with strong women characters. I haven’t read one of your books but you have been recommended by several on different sites. Will be getting one of your books.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I look forward to reading your books. You are so right, love matter.

  • Ann Mettert

    I look forward to reading your books.

  • Nancy Huddleston

    I love this. Romance is wonderful. Thanks

  • Kathleen O

    If I didn’t have a romance to read in the house, I would be like a smoker without a cigarettes. The withdrawal would be catastrophic. All “hail” those who write romance books…

  • suepeace

    Great post and very true!!

  • Beautiful words about self-transformation! Thank you so much, and thanks for the international opportunity too!!

  • Kristy Birch

    I am not a bike rider or a fan of seeing bike riders on narrow winding roads slowing down car traffic, but after reading Ride With Me I changed my mind (not about the riding, I lack balance and coridination)! I think your latest novella, Making it Last, is testament to why romance matters; what a wonderful reminder of why love and partnership is so important. Can’t wait for your next book.

  • rebecca moe

    Great post–and very true!

    I have a Hummel figurine of a girl reading too–also from my grandmother. She collected them, and though they’re not my thing either, it was a way to have a piece of her with me after she was gone. Plus, she’s READING.

    Welcome to Temptation was my first (and still my favorite) Cruisie! I love your Camelot series, and am working through your backlist soon 🙂

  • ki pha

    Welcome Ruthie! It’s so great of you to stepped in to join us. I don’t think everyone think about why romance or any other genre matters on a daily basis. It may have zoomed by a couple of times but once we get questions about it that is when we really think about it. For romance, it really is about the love, the forgiveness, the finding one’s self and the realization of how love is meant to be and give people, readers, the strength and power to go forward.

  • thank you for this so meaningful post ( and for including international readers in your giveaway!)

  • Melanie Backus

    Romance always matters and so do we. I am looking forward to meeting Tom and Lexie!

  • Kim

    I just downloaded Ride With Me. I’ll have to watch for that scene.

  • Pamby50

    Thanks for stepping in for Lucy Monroe. I enjoyed reading why romance matters to you. Looking forward to reading Ride With Me.

  • M Kuxhaus

    My mom and I like to call figurines “dust collectors.” Since we don’t like to dust, we don’t have many knickknacks. Luckily, my books repel dust.

  • Jen C

    Inspiring piece for me. Thanks so much!

  • Marcy Shuler

    I really doubt that your movie, How To Be Good, could ever be boring since it’s about you, Ruthie. LOL

  • Kareni

    Thanks for your thoughtful post, Ms. Knox.

  • Sue G.

    My husband’s grandma collected Hummel’s. She had one of a girl holding a bunny. She always said I got that one when she died because I love bunnies. It’s the only Hummel I own, but I keep it out for everyone to see!

  • Larena Hubble

    I think romances matter especially since they have the power to take you to another world or time and you can get lost in the story.

  • leah g

    Thanks for sharing your essay, I completely agree the older I get.
    Its so weird but I have a similar figurine and story. For some reason when I was little my grandmother decided a pair of her Hummels should be mine someday. I don’t even remember why. A few years ago when I bought my own house she sent them to me. I am not a big fan of that type of knick knack but it means a lot to me anyway.

  • BookLady

    Thanks for sharing your meaningful thoughts on romance.

  • Barbara E.

    I loved the essay Ruthie, and I think it is amazing that we have to even say that romance matters, because of course it does, just as all of us romance readers and writers matter. I’ve never been ashamed of reading romance and I don’t ever try to hide it. I just try to get more converts over to our side. 😀

  • Vonda M. Reid

    Your words are so on target. It’s frustrating at times when family and friends consider me “less than” because I prefer “romance” to “the great classic”.

  • Pam Pennell

    It’s been a while and many many books since I read Ride With Me. I think I may have to re-read it.

  • MooMoo Cake

    I love your post and will definitely get a copy of one of your books. It’d be really great if I won a copy here, but if I don’t get that happy news, I’ll definitely purchase a copy. Thanks for the wonderful post and the chance to win Making It Last.

  • Meredith Richardson

    You are a new author for me and I’m looking forward to reading your work. That figurine sounds awesome 🙂

  • Evelyn S

    I really enjoy your books!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  • Valerie

    My grandmother was a hummel person as well…. I can completely understand that attachment

  • Glenda

    Great post. Maybe one day the world will grow up and realize that the billions of women who love romance do so for good reasons.

  • Hi Ruthie! Thank you for stopping by…I really enjoyed your post. 🙂

  • Laurie W G

    I haven’t read any of your books yet . Thanks for your take on romance.

  • Karin Anderson

    I think Claire Danes is a new pick! She’s great, though. 😀

  • Kim

    I love your post! Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Brenda E

    Thanks for sharing this, Ruthie. I agree, the written word has a lot of power, and romance does matter!

  • Cherish Y

    What a great Post! I have yet to read your books but I will give it a go. Thanks for the recommendation too!

  • Anne

    Thanks for the great essay. I just put you on my new author list.

  • Lyn Oxyer Sellati

    I love the down-to-earth characters of Ruthie. Tom and Lexie are my favs. Happy writing!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    You are so right! Thanks for putting it so well.