Day 20 Tessa Dare – Romance? My Pleasure

Refusing To Feel Guilty

As a writer, I don’t like the idea of censoring words. If a word exists, there’s a right time and place to use it.Romancing_the_Duke

But there’s one phrase I wish I didn’t hear so often in connection with romance, and it’s this one:

“Guilty pleasure.”

How many times have you heard (or said) that phrase about romance? “Romance novels are my guilty pleasure.”  I’m sure I’ve said it myself.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m so happy that readers take pleasure in reading romance! Romance novels are all about fun. It’s the addition of “guilty” that gets to me. Because it comes loaded with the implication that we shouldn’t be reading for fun. Maybe we ought to be picking up something informational or improving, or at least something that’s on a celebrity’s book club list, or else we’re squandering time we should be spending on our other obligations.

The phrase “guilty pleasure” suggests that reading a book for no other reason than that we want to read it—well, that’s a reason to feel bad.

And in response, I want to say… to heck with that!

It’s no secret that most romance readers are women, and most women have busy lives. We have jobs, families, pets, community obligations… endless demands on our time.  It’s hard enough to find a spare hour or two to read anything. We shouldn’t feel the least bit guilty about spending that time on a book we know we’ll enjoy.  For those who love the genre, reading romance makes our hearts happy—and in my experience, a happy heart makes me better at everything else. Taking time for our own pleasure and enjoyment IS taking care of our families, jobs, pets, and communities.

So if you catch yourself with that phrase “guilty pleasure” on your lips, or hear it from a friend, I hope you’ll strike that one word and feel proud to say, “Romance novels are my pleasure.”  Period. And anyone who has a problem with that? Send them to me.

Refuse to feel guilty.

Celebrate romance!


Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

Probably going overseas in my mid-twenties to work as a volunteer librarian in the Philippines. Not only was it a great chance to travel, learn, and experience a new culture, but it’s how I met Mr. Dare! Unfortunately, much of the area where I lived was destroyed last year by typhoon Haiyan. Next summer, we are planning to go there as a family, and I hope to help restock the library where I worked.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

Like many authors, I have enjoyed writing stories since I was a child. By the age of 30, I had a dozen or so abandoned novels and a bunch of fanfiction.  The event that encouraged me to get serious about writing for publication was the Avon FanLit contest in 2006. I ended up winning the grand prize – a trip to visit HarperCollins headquarters in New York – and I decided I’d better write a book! Now I write for Avon, and I couldn’t be happier.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

It’s always the same answer: Pride and Prejudice.  It’s the book that began my obsession with Regency-era romance. I wouldn’t be writing today if not for that book.

Tessa is generously giving away two print copies of Romancing the Duke to U.S. readers (entry below) and one copy to international friends (enter here).


Tessa Dare color photoTessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eleven historical romance novels and four novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award and multiple RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards.  Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and their two children.

 Buy Tessa’s Books: 

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