Avery Easton Explains Why Romance Matters...
When I wrote my first romance novel, Love Me A Little, I didn't intend to publish it or show it to anyone. I wrote it just for me. I thought people might think it was silly or bad or unworthy.
Then, I was bolstered by the Hot & Bothered podcast. Their first season treated romance writing as sacred, something I had never considered. After listening, I decided to go for it. I pursued publishers, and found a home with the wonderful people at Uncial Press. (And if I may, shout out to Jude, my incredible editor. She took a chance on my mess of a manuscript and helped me make it shine.)
Once it was published and I began telling people I'd written a romance novel, I encountered one of two reactions.
1) "That is awesome! You wrote a book! Where can I get it?"
2) eye roll side eye smirk "A romance novel?"
My response is generally "I'm very proud" and then a teensy little rant about romance being a billion dollar industry that isn't taken seriously because it's largely written by women, for women. But many folks (far smarter than I) have written on the subject, so today I digress.
Those responses have led me to a question, though. Why is romance so popular? Besides intriguing characters and laugh-out-loud moments, and yes, those steamy scenes, the answer is simple, really. It is much the same reason that I wrote about last year regarding musicals.
It gives us escape.
Romance novels offer us a beautiful reprieve into worlds where there may be trials and tribulations, but there is always a happy ending. We enter into these worlds to be swept away by a handsome hero, or in my next book's case, a beautiful hero with a husky voice who loves with her whole heart.
And no one should be shamed for reading them. That eye roll side eye smirk is completely unnecessary.
Whether you're into ripped bodices, or abs on the cover, or contemporary romantic comedies, romance novels matter. Perhaps you seek to escape a crappy love life. Or seek to feel the thrill of first love again, even after you've been married to the world's most wonderful human for years. Maybe you want to experience a relationship unlike one you've ever had, or wrap yourself in the familiar feelings of falling for your co-worker. Perhaps you're the quirky best friend who is finally getting their own story. Or maybe you're the accidental villain who deserves love, too.
If I Told You, the second in my Hearts of Broadway series, follows the story of Paige Parker, who did not come off rosy in my first novel. But in romance, even villains can have their redemption. And that aforementioned husky-voiced hero sweeps her off her feet.
Romance matters because it's the best of us. It's humanity, it's perspective, it's love. And who could deride putting more love into the world?
Whatever reason you pick up a romance novel, and there are plenty, you shouldn't feel ashamed or judged for it. Wanting to escape into a love story is a wonderful thing. I love a lot of genres: mysteries, autobiographies, thrillers, essays...
But when I really want to check out for an hour or seven? Give me the fluttery feelings, the heartache in the third act, and the happily-ever-after any day.