Romance Is a Wonderful Life
If romance never existed…
…I wouldn’t have filled up whole diaries with tales of every “hello” between me and my crush. Before I read romances, I relied on The Love Boat and my diary.
…I would have flunked my high school Latin exam. Because my BFF Nici passed me a Harlequin Presents by Penny Jordan, I was able to focus, relax, enjoy the prose, let the information of an all-night cramming session settle before taking my test. Thanks to Penny Jordan (indirectly), I wound up majoring in Latin.
…I might not have written the world’s worst romance novel, Teacher’s Pet, which was not-too-loosely autobiographical (and now hilarious to read). This project was so all-consuming it prompted me to break up with my boyfriend at the time because I had to “finish my book.” Such is the power of romance.
…I would have continued graduate school in a field that was satisfying but not necessarily my passion or financially lucrative. For some reason, I couldn’t put those “other books” down. They helped me deal with the depressing topic of my thesis (female trauma in nineteenth century literature).
…I never would have moved to New York City for a guy (that happens in romances and in movies), who wound up not being The One, but hey, you have to take risks in romance, right? My mistake—or good fortune later (see next point).
…I never would have sprinted to my first day at Harlequin or stayed there for sixteen years. Reading romance all day long was an easy employment decision…and a perfect way to deal with just getting dumped.
…Coping with world events like 9/11 in New York City would have been harder. Imagine being able to read a romance while living in the middle of chaos. Wherever you are, these positive, uplifting stories can rebuild the soul.
… You wouldn’t find me weeping over a book. Only a romance will do that to me. Luckily, no one has caught me blubbering at my desk yet.
…I wouldn’t have that experience at conferences of being surrounded by writers who love romance and support each other. I talk about how fun these meetings are with people in other professions and they’re amazed. Pajama parties? Romance trivia? Awards ceremonies? Support networks? Dessert buffets? Let’s face it, this genre throws the best events.
…I wouldn’t appreciate how my real love story is so much like a romance novel (which will be featured in my memoir Romance Is My Day Job, available February 2014 from Dutton Books—I know, shameless self-promotion!). You could say that romance novels were educational for me. I know a good hero and heroine when I meet one in real life.
In conclusion: I don’t need Clarence to tell me that life is better with romance. It is always around, on the shelves, on my e-reader, and about to be submitted to me. Romances make me happy. They make so many people happy. I don’t get tired of reading them. They teach me new things every day. How can you ever argue with that?
* Want to see more about Patience’s adorable real-life love story and her book announcement? Read her blog post. You can also read her NY Times wedding announcement, and watch her NY Times wedding video. Great story for an event that celebrates romance, right?
Questions for Patience:
What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?
My grandmother’s bathrobe. It sounds crazy but I have such fond memories of waking up after the best sleep (because you always sleep best at your grandparents’ house), going downstairs and she’d greet me cheerfully with breakfast. After a challenging day, I need to wear that bathrobe.
If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)
Ha! Romance Is My Day Job. Maybe Jessica Chastain? I loved her in The Tree of Life, Zero Dark Thirty and The Help.
What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?
When my now-husband flew 3,000 miles for our first date, which, four years later, still hasn’t ended.
What authors are you reading at the moment?
Susan Mallery’s Just One Kiss (the heroine’s name is Patience), Kelly Harms’s The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane, Mary Burton’s Senseless, and re-reading Karen Booth’s Bring Me Back.
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!
SPECIAL DRAWING FROM PATIENCE BLOOM:
Patience is generously offering to critique FIVE ROMANCE BOOK PROPOSALS for the winners of her drawing. Since not all readers are writers, we are setting up an email address to send to in order to enter this drawing. Please DO NOT send your proposal to this address. Simply send an email with DRAWING in the subject line. Send to: PROPOSALS@readaromancemonth.com (Please note that ReadARomance Month is not responsible for any errors in transmission. One entry per email address.)
Patience Bloom has been a romance editor at Harlequin for sixteen years. After living in Connecticut, New Mexico and Paris, she now lives in New York City with her husband.