Girl on girl hate has become a ubiquitous theme in romantic comedies, novels, television shows and nearly anything catering to the pre-teen, thus creating a never ending cycle of vicious gossip, bullying and tormenting. Modern romance fights that tide.
As an author, I think it’s important to read books that aren’t perfect so we can perform more effectively in our own stories. That said, there are a few things that will make me put a book down.
I cannot say I’ve ever read a romance novel where the heroine sat around twiddling her thumbs waiting for a two-dimensional character with no name, (looking you, Prince Charming... ) to give her a new life.
The discussion is ongoing, but the panel was insightful, educational and full of actionable steps that authors, readers, and industry professionals can take to further a fully inclusive, fully intersectional romance genre.
If romance makes the changes that should have been made centuries ago, if romance opens its publishing houses and agencies and offers the same opportunity to authors of color as it does to white authors right now, we take away the excuse that it won’t work.
Why aren’t these books marketed as romance novels and why do so many stories have love-story plots or subplots but scoff at the ones that do so intentionally?
When I write strong female characters, I think of it more with the emphasis on strong character, creating heroines and female main characters that are strongly written, fleshed out and three dimensional. The character isn’t strong, necessarily, because of her physical abilities or emotional capacity. She is strong because the characterization is strong and complete.
Romance is for the women of the world who don’t get to hear their stories told nearly enough. It’s for all people whose stories are silenced, it’s a beacon of hope and optimism when things seem really, really bad.
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.
I got to sit down with Kay Blake, one of the founders of Bookish Brown Girls, to hear all about this awesome reading and writing programs!