My confession is simple, but I don’t believe I’m alone in it. I hid my enjoyment of romance novels because I was worried what other people would think of me. I was a serious, educated, professional female. I couldn’t enjoy something that fluffy, that “demeaning to women.”
Why is it that people want to point at the end of a romance and call it less of a story because the characters end up happy? Don’t we all look for happy endings? We want good to triumph over evil, the castaway rescued from the island, our football team to win. No one ever says, “rescues demean all stranded castaways,” or “overtime touchdowns demean all running backs.” Do we ever look at our own lives and think, “Gee, I wish I wasn’t so happy”?
It’s taken me a long time to realize I don’t read romance – or any book – for the happy endings. I’m incredibly goal-oriented – getting to the end of something is satisfying. But if the ending of a book was all that mattered, the story could be two chapters. However, it would be like attending a wedding where I didn’t know the couple at the altar. I would be detached from the entire event.
Romance novels don’t normally follow characters from birth to death. The story doesn’t encompass their entire lives. It’s only a snapshot of an incredibly stressful and dramatic time in their lives. Authors explain what got the hero and heroine to this point, and I think they hint at what will happen afterward.
I also think well-written characters encourage readers to believe there is an afterward. I believe that is why fan fiction and romance series are so popular. Readers get to see their favorite characters “after” their happy ending.
I read for the journey of the characters. I want to see how they’ll grow as they confront obstacles I’ll never have to face. I write for the same reasons.
So . . .
Hello, my name is Harriet and I write romantic fiction. If you’re looking for something fun to read, I don’t have anything published yet – but let me tell you about the romance novel I just finished reading.
Have a great weekend. Read something fun!