Monday 30 May 2016

Why We Write and Read Romance

by Enisa Haines

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I fell in love with romance books at a young age, a love affair that still burns strong today. Why is that? I know I'm not alone. There are many readers, and writers, out there who love the romance genre just as much as I do. What is it about the genre that keeps us enthralled? That question has always nagged at me and kept me wondering so as a quick way to satisfy my curiosity I queried my fellow Breathless bloggers.

Our newly-published author Marilyn loves romance because it's all about love and the so-sought-after happily-ever-after ending. She says:

Why I read romance: I've always been an eclectic reader, but what I enjoy most in every book I read is the romance aspect. To love and be loved is a basic human need, and to be emotionally transported into the love stories of characters that I've come to believe are real is just so fulfilling. Plus, the guarantee of a happy ending after a ride filled with fun, despair, passion, and angst is so appealing when the world is filled with too many not-so-happy endings.

Why I write romance: I can't remember a time when I didn't write. It wasn't always romance. I began with short twist-in-the-tale stories, but after having achieved success with that (more than a dozen stories published in national magazines) the challenge was no longer there. I decided I'd write category romance. Why category romance? Because I foolishly thought it'd be easy. Trust me, it isn't! Thankfully, as it turns out, my writing style is more suited to single-title. (Thanks to the team at Harlequin MIRA for making my dream come true with the publication of The Farmer's Perfect Match). As both reader and author what I'm ultimately after is a damn good read.

Karen loves that her imagination removes her from her everyday world. And, boy, it sure does. Karen's romantic suspense novels attest to it. Karen says:

Why I read romance: I love reading romance because it takes me away to another world, sometimes locations I have never been to with people (characters) I have never met, yet get to know throughout the journey - which is the story. I think most people like a good love story - especially ones that have barriers to overcome so they can finally be together. It's not so much when or if the hero and heroine will get together... it's how.

Why I write romance: I love writing because, like reading, it takes me to another place but instead of being taken as a passenger for the ride by the author, I am the driver and can take the story wherever I want it to go, have the characters do whatever I want them to do. Creating my own world full of romance, drama and intrigue is not always easy but very rewarding. which is of course why I love to write.

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Cassandra (lover of all things Regency and author of The Scandalous Wager) tells us:

Why I read romance: Romance books are my happy place. If I'm in a funk, a good romance can lift my spirits and distract me from my worries for a while. Generally, for me, it is an escape. A little time out from life, so to speak.

Why I write romance: I write romance because there is a constant curiosity within me to figure out this whole being human thing. I love the science of falling in love versus the fate of falling in love aspect of romance storytelling, too. If I don't write something every day it starts to gather in my head and becomes a distraction. Believe me, it is better that I get the words out than try to keep them in.

Our book reviewer Miranda sure loves to read and readily reveals just what it is about romance novels that she adores:

Why I read romance: I read because it relaxes me more than anything else in the world. Some people run or exercise to relax, others shop or watch television, some cook, or eat, or paint, sew, garden or knit. All great choices...except maybe the eating one. I read. I love sitting in my 'reading chair', putting the footrest up, coffee to hand, and losing myself in a fictional or inspirational world for a little while. It refreshes and rejuvenates me for the 'real' world when I eventually surface. I've learnt so much from reading, the little incidental facts from others' research - you don't realize how much you absorb until suddenly you can contribute to a conversation that was previously an unknown subject...because you've read a book about it! In times of grief and sickness I feel stressed and find it difficult to read - and that really tells me how much I *need* the comfort of reading. I try to read a little bit every day, even for a few minutes. The bliss of an hour or two is brilliant! When I commuted to work I loved the train time. Others madly worked on their laptops or tablets or phones, emailing, Facebooking, and so on. I read. Guaranteed reading time. Driving and going for walks mean there's a chance to listen to audio books - more bliss! People ask me how I find the time to read. Simple. I just do it. Try it for even ten minutes a day, and I guarantee it will get longer very quickly.

Dee, immersed in the world of medieval romance, tells us:

Why I read romance: I read romance to keep my belief in 'happily ever after' alive. Life is tough. Relationships, too. I know books are fiction but sometimes those 400 pages of fiction keep me going in real life. If a character in a book can make the impossible possible just think what I--a real human with strengths and talents--can do.

Why I write romance: I write romance because I have stories inside my head. LOL--So many of them! For my sanity and for the world's safety I need to get them out of my head and on paper.

Sharon shares her love of the genre:

Why I read romance: I love to read. I enjoy people. I am fascinated by their actions and motivations.

Why I write romance: I write because it is so enjoyable and because I have a strong urge to do so. It is difficult for me to explain where my motivation comes from as I don't fully understand it. I think having a love of reading, a fairly strong dose of creativity, a good imagination and a keen sense of fun all contribute to my desire to write and I love playing 'what if'.

Image courtesy of: Pixabay

And lastly, for me it's all about the emotion:

Why I read romance: Happily-ever-after is what everyone seeks in life. Seeing it happen to couples in romance fiction gives me faith that love is all-powerful and can overcome every obstacle encountered. Gives me faith that love can last a lifetime and always be enjoyed. I love immersing myself in the lives of the characters and knowing that all will come good in the end.

Why I write romance: How can I not when heroes and heroines and what they're going through are constantly in my head in visual form and don't leave me alone until I'm immersed in writing their stories down.

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How about you? Do you love to read and/or write romance? I'd love to see your responses.

Love to love: knowing that happily-ever-after exists.

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Love to laugh: at myself, really, at those times when someone says a joke and I just don't 'get' it.

Love to learn: how others feel about love and romance.


  1. Wow, thanks Enisa. From comfort reads last week to why we read and love writing romance. Bliss, bliss. I love the reading and writing for ALL the reasons above! The bliss when you enter that lovely world of romance is really something special. And the happy ever after ending, even though you know it's coming, is always wonderful, because it's always fresh and different. Big sigh. I read to relax, mostly, but also because I can't think of a nicer way to spend some quiet time alone.

    1. Hi Malvina. Yes, fiction is a great form of entertainment. Romance fiction even more so as all our emotions are involved as we wait to read the happy ever after ending. Great way to relax, for sure.

  2. It's nice to know there is a common theme running through and it's all positive. I think the romance genre as a whole is there to make people laugh and cry and feel every gamut of emotion but at the end you know you will feel good.

    1. Hi Cassandra. You are so right. I love the emotion on romance novels. I also love getting my own emotions so involved when absorbed in reading.

  3. Hi Enisa, great post. I love the pictures. It's interesting to hear how others feel about reading and writing romance. Escapism, relaxation, happy-ever-afters, and mood lifters seem to be the themes. If a book can make you feel any of these things, its a good one.

    1. Hi Karen. You are so right. If a book grabs you from the first page and you're sorry to stop reading when you get to the end, that book is exceptional. It's all about pulling a reader into the story and romance novels sure do that.

  4. Hi Enisa, It's fascinating to read why others love to read and write romance. I think romance is such an important part of so many of our lives and this alone makes it an enthralling subject.

  5. Hi Sharon. Everyone loves love, as shown here, and why wouldn't we? Love brings happiness and we all want to be happy and loved. Those two ingredients help fulfill our lives.

  6. Hi Enisa (from Caernarfon in Wales). I loved reading everyone's take on why we read and write romance. A great post!

  7. Hi Marilyn. Yes, we are all a little different in our reasons but essentially the same with our love of the genre. I'm sure you're enjoying your trip away.


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