Love – The Most Vital and Visceral Emotion of All
Romance makes the world of fiction go ’round.
Think about it. Mystery, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, horror; it’s common to find romance story threads in every other genre, as well as finding every other genre represented in romance novels. Romance is universal. It can be set in the past, present, or future. It can include suspense or the paranormal, comedy, drama; the possibilities are infinite.
As a reader, I adore this fact. I can pick up a romance novel to satisfy my every reading mood. There are many reasons to read fiction, but the first and foremost is to experience emotion vicariously. Fear. Longing. Anger. Love. Novels allow us to understand the world around us, not from an intellectual standpoint, but from a visceral one. Every genre gives its readers the chance to explore experiences and feelings we crave. But romance allows us to experience or relive the most vital and universal emotion of all.
After all without romance, the human race wouldn’t have survived. The longing for love is a universal, a biological force, and romance novels allow us to work through feelings that can be all too complicated, confusing, and disappointing in real life.
As an author who started writing romantic suspense and now concentrates on thriller novels, I must confess that romance is my secret weapon. Introducing a romantic relationship into a story immediately raises the personal and emotional stakes, shows the characters’ humanity, and makes any kind of plot matter more.
Stories are about change. Characters are like diamonds; they need great pressure exerted on them before they become multi-faceted and unique. Conflict provides pressure, but not just any conflict will do. We need something worth sacrifice. Something larger than the individual. Something universal and visceral. Something that matters.
And that’s why for me, as a reader and a writer, there’s nothing better than a little romance.
I have to recommend romances by Carol Voss. Her books are totally different from mine—inspirational family stories instead of thrillers—but she just happens to be my mom and my best friend.
Questions for Ann:
What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?
When I was a kid, I loved to make up my own wild and complicated stories and act them out with action figures. Unfortunately at that time, Barbie couldn’t hold a gun nor ride a horse, so I spent my time playing with G.I. Joe, a bit bummed that only males got to have exciting adventures.
Well, times have changed. Now I have female action figures patrolling my bookshelves. And call me crazy, but I even play with them sometimes.
Shh! Don’t tell!
If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)
My life would make a pretty boring movie, so I would have to embellish it a bit. Titled THE SILVER LINING GAMES, it would feature Jennifer Lawrence both fighting for her life and dancing. Lots of dancing.
What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?
People who believe in me even more than I believe in myself.
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?)
My scene isn’t from a romance but from a thriller called Pushed Too Far where the romance storyline develops over several books.
The heroine is Val Ryker, the first female police chief of a small Wisconsin town. Val doesn’t take care of her own needs, instead focusing on the job, the town, her family, justice. And there’s a scene in the second half of the book where she is simply unable to carry on, where she nearly dies and her deepest secret is discovered by her niece, and she finally allows herself to turn to firefighter David Lund. The scene shows the restorative power of love.
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!
Ann is generously donating six autographed trade paperbacks copies of of Pushed Too Far to U.S. readers (apologies to international readers). U.S. readers, to enter, 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 19 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.
Ann is also setting the price of the e-book of Pushed Too Far to $.99 in honor of this post. (Regularly $3.99. Thanks Ann!) You can find it here.
Award-winning author Ann Voss Peterson wrote her first story at seven years old and hasn’t stopped since. To pursue her love of creative writing, she’s worked as a bartender, horse groomer, and window washer. Now known for her adrenaline-fueled thrillers and Harlequin Intrigue romances, Ann draws on her wide variety of life experiences to fill her fictional worlds with compelling energy and undeniable emotion. She lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with her family and their border collie.
Buy Ann’s Books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble