I love reading romance. I believe in the strength of the romance genre. But I’m going to start with the word genre. Genre is a promise to deliver, to you the reader, a type of literature, so we know simply by the label what we are going to get. So what are we going to get in the romance genre? An interesting heroine, a fantastic hero, a story that has you turning the pages and a happy ending.
Now here’s the mystery? Why is the biggest selling genre in the publishing industry totally ignored by the Sydney Writers Festival? If anyone else tells me that Fifty Shades is so badly written….I ask them how can a book where people continue to turn the pages – and there are a lot of pages – be badly written?
A lot of people read romance and I put it all down to pleasure. We recognise a chocolate when we see it. The shape, the colour, may change from chocolate to chocolate but boy do we know the taste. No chocolates disappoint, some are just better than others.
I came on to reading Mills and Boon late in life. My fortieth birthday I was given my first Mills and Boon. I’d finished it before I slept that night and I was hooked. I went to my second hand bookshop and started with the old, old Mills and Boon – they were the cheapest – and made my way, through the ages, to the modern day books. I read and devoured them.
Now that was fascinating. It was like documenting the establishment of the feminine movement. The characters reflected the women of their day and how they changed to modern times!
I’m not the only one. In 1991, Jennifer Cruisie, an American writer, was teaching literature when she decided to challenge herself and research the difference between how women write and men write. Her plan – to read one hundred romance novels and one hundred adventure books written by men. She never got on to the men’s novels, she fell in love with the romance genre then and there and started writing her first book before she’d even finished the first hundred romance. She’s gone on to write over fifteen novels. Apart from loving her books I really love that story.
So I believe a Romance novel is a promise to you of the chocolate satisfaction, an intense pleasure. One that you want repeated. They don’t disappoint, some are just better than others. They deliver.
I couldn’t resist putting in this picture of Frisco, our ram lamb, who won his class. And guess who got Supreme Corriedale? Elsworth and Abbey was Champion Woolly Ewe. We were very pleased with our sheep.