posted on January 19, 2016 by Joanne Rock

The Most Romantic Thing

His-Secretarys-Surprise-Fiance_coverThere’s a misconception about romance among people who don’t read our genre. The name “romance” implies a happy state of mind, a glowing time of falling in love. But readers of the genre know that’s hardly the full story.

I thought about this over the weekend while finishing up my third book for Harlequin Desire. The heroine is a ballet dancer, and I wrote painful scenes about dancing on stress fractures and broken toes. Then I wrote scenes about the confusion that comes when you don’t know how much of your heart to reveal to someone you care about. Scenes about misunderstanding, miscommunication and misery. And, of course, that black moment scene of betrayal when it feels like all is lost.

So my story contains a lot of fear, panic, worry and heartache. This is romance, my friends. Falling in love is often fraught with obstacles, the kind we run into and the roadblocks we raise ourselves. Shakespeare wrote that the course of true love never did run smooth, and it’s that course that we write about—and read about—in a romance. The bumpy, difficult, misunderstood days of angst that happen while we try and forge a relationship.

Because at the heart of it, that’s what we’re really interested in—what it takes to build a relationship. We want to read about the gritty strength it takes to make a relationship work. The kinds of sacrifices we can make in order to solidify our emotional bonds. The battle to get out of our own way so we can give and receive love. We’re interested in this dynamic our whole lives because it remains relevant to us no matter where we are in life’s journey.

We read romance, not to see the hearts and flowers of perfect relationships. But to better understand the give and take that makes good relationships work. I am uplifted and hopeful about my own relationship after I read a romance, and I hope I can give that to a reader when they read a book of mine.  I like to think a romance teaches younger readers how to recognize a good potential partner when they meet one. JoanneRockRomance shows what unselfish love looks like. For more seasoned readers, romance reminds us why we are in relationships that can take a whole lot of work. We seek romance for the emotional pay off, and in doing so, find a greater one in real life.

***In the spirit of optimism, shared joy and lifting each other up, tell me one happy thing you’re grateful for this week. Share with me on the blog or FB and I’ll give one random commenter an advance copy of my very first Harlequin Desire story, His Secretary’s Surprise Fiance.



Joanne Rock

Joanne Rock

Four-time RITA finalist Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn't like. The USA Today bestselling author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small-town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly---love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she's not writing, Joanne enjoys travel to gather new ideas.

18 thoughts on “The Most Romantic Thing”

  1. b. Lane says:

    I have been reading more and more “romance” themed books but I am troubled by some writers and readers complaining about the “male” intrusion into their genre. I have never complained about “female” intrusion into SciFI, westerns, etc., what gives?

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      As in there are more male writers? I’m not sure, Lane…. love to see men writing romance and focusing on romance. Also a great fan of men *reading* romance. I hear from the most male readers on my sports books… whether they pull a greater percentage of male readers OR if male readers are just more inclined to comment on sports, I’m not sure! But I’m very glad to know they are out there. So glad you stopped by the blog!

  2. Natasha Persaud says:

    I’m grateful to have my hubs by my side he’s my rock and without him I’m no one so I’m always thankful for him and also I’ll be seeing my mom this year since we live continents apart so that’s another good news for this week so far.

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      So glad you’ll get to see your mom, Natasha!

  3. pam hamblin says:

    I am grateful every day for my oldest daughter, who lives at home with us. She has had three open heart operation’s since she was a baby. The last one was when she was 22 yrs old.Mandy is now 36 and has grown in so many way’s yet as that inner child that hasn’t grown up. She keeps me young because of it. We get to spend almost every day together with her. We go shopping, to the mall, eat out at places, visit family or friends. She reminds Doug to take his medicine since he does tend to forget, she will on occasion ask for his help when needed, if I’m busy she will go to him. There was a time when I didn’t think she would ever accept him into our life. Doug is my third husband so for her it was very hard to come around to asking anything of him. She’s my everything!

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      Pam, I’m so glad your daughter has been in good health since that last operation.

  4. susan says:

    I am thankful and grateful for my family…….. I don’t know where I would be without them. Their Love lifts me up

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      It’s a lucky blessing to be close to family. Thank you for stopping by the blog, Susan!

  5. Christy Ray says:

    I’m grateful for a family who supports me even though they live on the other side of the country.

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      Christy, I can tell your family is close from the posts online. What a wonderful, supportive group.

  6. Trudy Miner says:

    I went to my first Scottish Highland Games over the weekend at the Central Florida Highland Games. When I walked down the rows of tents for each of the clans, I felt as if I stepped back in time several hundred years! My ears picked up the brogue from Scotland, Ireland and Wales everywhere I went. Pipe bands marched past the tent I was volunteering in while they played the theme from Outlander! I met many people from all over the country and many places in Europe when they stopped by the tent. It was so much fun and made me so glad I went there.

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      How fun that must have been!!!! I didn’t know there was such a thing, Trudy. Must check it out next year for sure :-).

  7. Teresa Fordice says:

    That they are correct and the big snow misses hitting Indiana this weekend

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      I talked to a friend in PA with over 27 inches of snow! Glad you didn’t get slammed, Teresa!

  8. Jennifer Craig says:

    I am grateful that my husband and I have survived 24 years of ups and downs and that he is still my best supporter.

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      That is a lot to be proud of, Jennifer! A 24 year marriage says a lot about your ability to negotiate and find compromises, doesn’t it? I’m happy for you!

  9. Angela Crockett says:

    I love reading a book that makes me “feel”. When the emotion is so intense that I have to set my book aside and take a deep breath. Whether it’s because we feel the breaking heart or we like the character are hiding in the closet so we won’t be found. It is part of why books are so appealing. Tomorrow we are expecting horrible weather. I am grateful that I could reach out to my elderly neighbors and help them prepare. Just a reminder that I am available if needed. I haven’t always been in a position to reach out. Today I was.

    1. Joanne Rock says:

      Aw! That’s so nice of you, Angela.I hope you are coping with the digging out and congratulations to you– the thread winner!! I’ve emailed you privately but all you need to do is send a mailing addy to me at

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