Monday, March 26, 2012

Romance - A Life Changing Force it chocolate box fiction or a genre so powerful, it can change lives?

If you know anything about me at all, you know I can only answer that question one way. I believe that romance fiction is bigger than entertainment, but it undoubtedly *is* entertainment. I think it is bigger than books written mostly by women for a predominately female market, though it is that as well. It is, in truth, so powerful, so big that it *does* change lives...the lives of its readers and the lives of the authors who seek to make their living writing it.

I started reading romance when I was in middle school. I pilfered the books from my older sister's room and you know, she told me the other day that she'd never realized. Go me. :) It wasn't a huge leap you know...I was a voracious reader as a child and I still am. Books have changed my life in so many ways, but romance consistently more than any others. Reading it gave me the courage to try things I never would have otherwise. It made me believe that life could be happy and trust me, back then...I needed that kind of assurance. Romance helped me to set standards for the man in my life that led to my present amazing Hubcap. Reading romance, especially Presents, planted a desire to travel, to see new places, and experience other cultures that I would otherwise have been ignorant of.

I'm not saying that romance was the only influence for these things, but it was a significant one. And most recently, reading gay romance opened my heart and my mind to sexuality different from my own. I'm still learning and growing. And I'm loving it.

My biggest goal in writing is to touch readers' hearts. I've alway said that if my books can impact a single reader the way my favorite authors have affected my life, then I will feel immeasurably blessed.

Well, I've been blessed over and over again. Letters from readers who realized they were not alone when reading about the challenges my characters faced have made me cry. Notes from others who have used my books as solace in times of grief, or learned about their own sexuality and found new ways to express themselves in intimacy, or gotten insight into the minds of their significant others tell me that I'm by no means the only person whose life has been signifcantly impacted by romance.

What about you? How have you been touch by the books you read?


marybelle said...

My emotions tend to sit close to the surface, so a great story will have me sobbing or laughing or even talking back. I have been known to yell at the characters while reading. I love that.

Judy said...

Books are definitely life changing. I hardly know where to begin. I was nineteen when I read my first romance novel. I didn't like the bickering or the way the hero and heroine seemed to hate each other, until the last couple pages. I thought it was the worst portrayal of love I'd ever seen, and yet it was better than the relationship I'd been in for three years. Within a month, I broke up with my boyfriend. I can look back now and wish I'd read the book sooner. I read every romance novel I could find for the next few years, but found myself disappointed because they didn't address abuse, unless the relationship between the hero and heroine was abusive. I knew it wasn't healthy. I stopped reading romances for about twenty years. Then a new friend I met because of our love of LOTR re-introduced me to romance. I discovered that the formula had changed, but I also discovered that different authors approached romance differently. I started my search for authors I love, and finally decided to write the stories I want to read. Thanks, Lucy, for being one of my favorites.

Laney4 said...

My cup is always half full, and I attribute that to the love that surrounds me - including romance books I have read since 1974.

catslady said...

I think every book I read touches me in some way. Romances with their HEA are always uplifting.

Anonymous said...

I love a good tear jerk-er, but really love when I finish and want to read the next one right away because it was such a feel good book.

Valerie said...

I can say unequivocally that books have changed my life. When I was six my family moved and I ended up going to a brand new school that was a bit further ahead than the old school. The school taught reading based on phonetics where my old school had been doing the old memorization technique. So in first grade I was much further behind in reading skills than my other classmates and had to attend summer school. There was a teacher's assistant there that was so wonderful, Mrs. Gallo, she spent a lot of time one on one with me - which is almost unheard of these days - teaching me to read by phonetics and really what she did was open up a whole new world to me. I fell in love with reading that summer. Soon I was reading fables, fairy tales, Judy Blume and the rest. As I grew older I gravitated to romance, because something I've learned over the years is that I need a happy ending with my story. I might sob my way through a novel but knowing that there is a happy ending coming makes it worth it. When I first read Jane Eyre, I was 13 and stayed up all night reading it. When it came time for Jane to leave Mr. Rochester my heart broke. I couldn't read on. I was consumed by the wrongness of the separation and I actually couldn't read the pages of their separation. I thumbed through to the part where he calls out to her and she hears him across the miles. It wasn't until a few years ago that I could bear to read it and I still say their separation was wrong! LOL

Books open up worlds to us. It might be a world that's just down the street, it could be medieval Scotland or modern day Afghanistan. Books allow us to explore ideas and perspectives. Most of all though, I think books give us the ability to connect with other human beings, to not feel so alone in the world, to not feel like we are the ONLY one to feel this way or that way. Aren't we all striving for our own personal happy endings?