I love romance fiction. Crazy, stupid love it with a mad passion. I want to grab it with both hands and twirl it around in a field of daisies until we both fall to the ground, dizzy, giddy and breathless, the sky swirling above us as we lie on our backs, resting until we can do it all over again.
Romance is a huge, huge umbrella. Historical, contemporary, time travel, paranormal, science fiction and fantasy romance, steampunk, romantic suspense, single title, category, series, stand-alone, inspirational, sweet, sensual, sexy, erotic romance (which is different from erotica,) long dormant subgenera like Traditional Regency and Gothic Romances, new genera like Young Adult and New Adult, and new forms that spring up seemingly at will. Hardcover, paperback, mass market, trade size, electronic, and no signs of stopping there. The only thing all romance fiction has in common is that the love relationship is center stage, and that it will end happily. How it gets there, however? Different every time.
I get the twirl around in daisies feeling every time I visit the romance section of a brick and mortar bookstore or library, every time I get notice of an ebook release by a favorite or exciting new author, every time I power up my Kindle, and when I open a notebook or file to write a romance of my own.
The first historical romance novel I ever read was The Kadin, by Bertrice Small, pilfered from my mother’s bedside table when I was eleven, but the warning signs were there long before that. I loved the happily ever afters in classic fairy tales, and devoured Andrew Lang’s fairy tale collections, each with a cover of a different color. Barbie and Ken, and for those of a certain age, Dawn and Gary as well. I was miffed that I was too young to have actually had Barbie’s friends, Midge and Alan, too, but then along came Cara and Brad, and all was well. Disney’s foxy version of Robin Hood and Maid Marian gave me a lifelong love of that couple and the musical, Camelot, saved a special part of my heart for a great love triangle. When I was five or six, my parents got me Jane and Johnny West, what we would now call twelve inch action figures. Jane and Johnny were cowgirl and cowboy. I made them act out Romeo and Juliet, but without the suicide. I was wired for romance even then, and it never wore off.
I combined my love of romance with a love of favorite tv shows while writing for a former newsletter and zine run by E. Catherine Tobler. The story that became my first published novel, My Outcast Heart, set in my childhood hometown (Bedford, New York, which oozes Colonial history) began as a timed exercise in a writing group that included fellow authors M.P. Barker and Melva Michaelian. Since then, I have had stories set in sixteenth century Cornwall, turn of the twentieth century England and Italy, and the end of the English Civil War. I write about romance fiction and television for Heroes and Heartbreakers, and am currently flitting between Georgian and Regency England on two separate projects while finding a home for my postapocalyptic medieval novella.
If you love romance, too, feel free to come twirl with me.