But despite all those things people tend to say about romance, reading it has made me a fundamentally better author, both in and out of the genre. These books are often escapist and fantastical, yes, but I have taken many important writing skills and themes away from them. Here are just a few.
Brockmann is an expert storyteller with remarkable skill at weaving several seemingly-incongruous narratives into a single story arc, and she creates unique and deeply human characters that it is a true pleasure to read about. I have only one problem with these books and it’s not Brockmann’s fault. They’re dated.
Romance novels create a utopian relationship, critics often squawk. There aren’t any real men like this. Every reader or writer of the genre has heard the refrain in some way, shape or form and there’s a reason for that. It’s called sexism.
Romance has a problem with men. Make no mistake, this is a feminist issue and, like questions of diversity in age, race and sexual orientation, it needs to be addressed before romance can fully move forward as the progressive, open-minded genre it is.
Now, of course, removing a transmission is a wildly complicated and difficult process, a little like saying Step One: Animate the monster or Step One: Walk on the moon. In my family, the term has become synonymous with comically difficult tasks– such as writing a book.
This idea of the muse, of some catch-all messenger of creativity is delightful and fantastical. It’s also completely made up.
Will they or won’t they – it’s the most important, infuriating question of every romance novel. Will they give into their desire now, in the dark corners of the library? How about now, in the hidden coves of the rose gardens? When will they finally succumb to what they both desire most?