Romance — Good For Us!
In recent months, we’ve heard a lot about why romance is bad for us. In recent months. Who am I kidding? Romance readers have been hearing this for a lot longer than that. We’ve heard that romance is bad for us. That it, like candy, is too sweet. That it sets terrible expectations for relationships. That it is silly. That we should be investing our time and energy and brainpower into eating our literary vegetables.
As my heroes would say, “Bollocks.”
Romance is good for us. It has been for centuries. For millennia, even (after all, surely somewhere right around standing on two feet and creating fire, man learned to smooch. And surely when he started painting on cave walls, he did it to impress a girl).
I could tell you all the “eat your vegetables” reasons why romance is good for us: Sure, it’s a genre written by women and for women and about women, which gives us a look at who we are, at how we are, and at how we might be; and sure, the moment when readers say “we choose romance,” is a powerful one–one where we choose pleasure and happiness and satisfaction in a way that we don’t always in life; and sure, the time we spend on our couch or in our bed or in our car reading or listening to romance novels is a much needed break from the world–and rest is something we have needed for millennia, right next to love.
But that’s not why romance is really good for us.
Romance is good for us because at its core, it’s about hope. Hope that someone will see us, and accept us, and perhaps—after all that—choose us. Hope that our future holds happiness. And satisfaction. And yes, pleasure. Hope that, when it’s all said and done, we’ve made the world better, not worse. That we’ve lived fully, not in fear. And that we’ve loved thoroughly. With courage. And with gusto.
If that’s not good for us–and for the world–what is?
I’m wild about Tessa Bailey and Charlotte Stein these days — both write tremendously sexy, tremendously compelling contemporaries with sexy heroes and smart heroines. (Tessa did a RARM post you can read here.)
As for historicals, I’m so excited that Lisa Kleypas is coming back to historical in 2015 — I can hardly wait for whatever it is that she’s cooking up! (Lisa Kleypas – RARM 8/30 yay!)
Questions for the Author:
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I quit my job to write romance novels.
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?)
I wrote my first book on a dare. I was out with a good friend who worked in publishing and, after one-too-many drinks, I proclaimed that “I could write a book!” To wit, she replied, “I dare you.” And because I’ve never met a dare I wouldn’t take, I did.
Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
I didn’t know it then, but the day I found a copy of Jude Deveraux’s The Black Lyon tucked beneath my older sister’s bed, dog-eared and well-loved, was a red-letter day. It was the late 80s. I was young. Ten, maybe eleven—old enough to know there was something decadent and scandalous about romances, but not old enough to entirely understand why.
I can still see that book, a gorgeous, red-haired Lyonene in her pink negligee, and her dark Ranulf de Warbrooke, the eponymous Black Lyon, eyes closed, massive arms clasped around her . . . worshiping her. The book was touted as “the magnificent love story of a fearless lord and the woman who tamed him,” and magnificent it was. Ranulf is dark and tortured, an unparalleled warrior feared by all—all except our intrepid heroine, seventeen and scrappy . . . and stunning.
After that book, there was no going back. I was hooked. Forever.
Sarah is generously giving away 3 print copy sets of the Rules of Scoundrels series to U.S. Readers, and 2 print copy sets internationally. (Each set includes the three already-published titles: A Rogue By Any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves A Lover, and the 2014 Rita Winner, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished.) U.S. readers may find the entry form below, international readers enter here.
Sarah MacLean is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and nominated for numerous awards. She also writes a monthly romance column for the Washington Post. When not writing, Sarah travels the country to discuss the romance genre and its place in both gender and cultural studies. She lives in New York City.
She also just won a Rita. Yay Sarah!
Buy Sarah’s Books: