By Barbara Longley
I’ve been teased plenty about writing romance. Mercilessly in fact. Misconceptions abound about my chosen genre, not to mention generalizations and stereotypes. So, why do I write romance you ask? Here’s why: Romance guarantees a satisfying resolution. In other words, when you read a romance, you know up front there will be a happily-ever-after. Besides, good writing is good writing, no matter the genre.
I began reading and writing romances shortly after going through a very painful divorce. So devastating in fact, that I went to a therapist and told her I never wanted to be in that kind of pain ever again. She tactfully suggested some good books to read, all of which were to be found in the “self-help” sections of bookstores everywhere. Let me tell you, I worked my way through the entire self-help aisle at Barnes & Noble. When I got to the end, I realized reading books was not going to change my life. Only I could do that.
So, naturally, I migrated over to the fantasy/science fiction aisle. And yes, I worked my way through that entire section as well. After reading everything I could in that genre, I was still dissatisfied. In many stories, my favorite characters were killed off! That bugged me. The endings were not always happy or satisfying. I needed something different. What is a miserable divorcee to do?
Reluctantly, I wandered over to the romance aisle. My own romance ended painfully, and I’d bought into the generalizations regarding romance. To be honest, I hid. Crouching behind the shelves, I hoped no one I knew might happen by. The first thing I did after picking up a book was to flip to the last chapter and began reading. See, if the ending sucked, no way was I going to buy the book. The ending didn’t suck, and soon I was hooked. I’m a happily-ever-after junkie, and the romance aisle has been my home ever since.
Today our country is extremely polarized. Mass shootings, the threat of nuclear war with North Korea, accusations and name-calling, pending investigations . . . kinda reminds me of the divorce that sent me scurrying to the bookstore in the first place. I’m not suggesting we all bury our heads in a book and ignore or disengage. As citizens, we bear a responsibility for our democracy. I am suggesting, however, that we all need a break now and then. I’m suggesting now more than ever we need happily-ever-afters to remind us of the good stuff. I’m proud of the genre I write, because romances are uplifting, and who couldn’t use a little lift now and then.