My darling husband and I are in the Texas Hill Country at our weekend house. On the way up here, we were talking about Shania Twain's comeback with the song Still The One being the centerpiece of her career revival.
I love that golden oldie song because that was the whole theme of my novel of the same name. Ally Fletcher and Burke Winslow are still The One for each other despite everything. Every time I think of their story, I hear the refrain of that song playing in my head.
We love it up here at Rancho Reeves. The sky seems bigger, and the air sweeter than in the Houston area where we live.
My husband reminded me that I was supposed to write a post for the blog for Saturday. So it's midnight, and I'm pecking away at the laptop. We're having a glass of Signature Red from Red Road Vineyards and enjoying the sound of the wind buffeting our house on the hill.
Larry has been traveling back and forth between Texas and the Big Apple for several weeks now. Just about every time he's on the plane, he has a seat mate who is reading on a Kindle or a Nook. Wonderful man that he is, he makes a point to ask what they're reading, and he eventually works the conversation around to the fact that his wife has several romance ebooks available.
The reactions of the women readers have become nearly predictable. The younger generation of readers get excited about the prospect of meeting the husband of a romance author. They freely admit to loving romance novels. They make note of my name and vow to look me up and get my books. Some must follow through because my sales keep climbing, even on my older books like Just One Look and Still The One which are low priced and are good introductory books to my writing.
Interestingly, the older women readers -- usually professional women -- just about always say that they don't read romance novels. They read the classics or nonfiction or business books. women's fiction. Anything but romance.
This is where it gets interesting. Airline seats are close together. One can't help but see what someone else is reading when you're seated that close. Just about every time a woman professes to reading only serious books, my husband has, at a glance, seen that she's really reading romance. (He's a smart man and being married to me has taught him about romance novels.)
Same Old, Same Old
Since romance took publishing by storm in the late 1970's, the world has changed a lot. Apparently something that hasn't changed is that many women are still reluctant to admit -- at least to a man that they have just met -- that they read romance novels.
I guess a lot of women still feel as if they're judged by their reading material. How unfortunate. The public doesn't judge a reader who likes serial killer thrillers as a psycho because of his choice of books. A murder mystery reader isn't accused of being homicidal. Yet, a romance reader is often disdained as being unrealistic and unsophisticated because she likes to read stories about courtship and love.
Romance -- true romance, not any of the sub-genres that differ from the courtship, love, and commitment story line -- celebrates falling in love, monogamous relationships, and fidelity. What on earth is wrong with that? Why should anyone be embarrassed to admit they read these novels?
Bad Gets The Press
Like any news story, bad news leads. We hear all about every bad thing that happens. Every high-profile marriage or relationship that bites the dust. The fact that people have exciting marriages and love lives that last for decades doesn't make the news, but guess what? They happen, and a lot more often than one might expect according to the bad news pundits.
Every romance writer I know who is a close friend is in a decades-long relationship with the love of their lives. Most of my friends, writers and non-writers, are married and have been married many years. Sure, a lot of us had short-lived first marriages, but when we found the guy who was The One, we latched onto him and loved him with all our might.
The Good News
That's what romance celebrates. No, it's not unrealistic as our critics claim. No, we don't suffer from delusions of fantasy. We, all romance readers, know the difference between fantasy and real life. We know from experience, either our own or from observing others, that real life includes love, commitment, fidelity, sex, happiness, fun, and a relationship that endures.
Just in case you're wondering, after more than 30 years of marriage, Larry is Still The One for me.
Life-long love. Now that's true romance.