Skip to main content

Romance is icky. But I like it.


I cheated this week and asked if my fabulous critique partner and writer friend Emma Jane (aka E J Tett) would like to blog about love and romance, and what makes her so good at writing it. And she is good, she has two novels coming out this year: Otherworld with Liz Powell from Torquere press in November and Shuttered in December from Dreamspinner. Em's writing is amazing, I couldn't shout loudly enough to recommend them. And now I'll stop waffling, and hand over to Em:

Romance is Icky. But I like it.

A question I see often on book forums is, "what genres do you read?" and you'll invariably get answers along the lines of, "I'll read anything! Except romance." I can almost hear the sneer through their written words.
It's a weird kind of snobbery. "Oh I don't read romance! Urgh. That's just for the silly wimminz."
But… is it? I'm fairly confident the writer of the most famous love story of all was a man.
Romance novels aren't all old-fashioned bodice rippers any more. They're no longer all filled with square-jawed brooding gentlemen and swooning ladies. That fantasy novel you're reading? I bet there's a love story in it.

Some people will happily read about a knight slicing someone's head off, but God forbid that knight should get naked with someone.
I used to be a romance-hater. Why do I want to read about something as boring as love? Bleurgh. I want excitement! I want adventure! I want tragedy and emotion and… wait. All those things happen in romances?
I like reading about people, and relationships – all kinds of relationships. I like character experience - I want to be close to the action, sitting on the character's shoulder rather than flying overhead worrying about the state of the galaxy. I want to read about people doing things for others. And people in love do stupid, dangerous things.
Romance isn't just for books. It's not all chick-lit and rom coms. And it's not just for women. Men think about finding partners too, don't they? They go speed dating, they get their friends to set them up, they join dating sites… I'm sure I've heard about men wanting to get married too. And sometimes, it's not even about wanting to be with someone, or finding someone, it's just about emotion – how much are you willing to go through for the person you love?
Not all love stories are told from the woman's perspective either. Take the TV show How I Met Your Mother. The whole show is about finding love! It's from a man's POV and, I'm fairly confident that guys enjoy the show too.
And Game of Thrones? Yeah, there's even romance in that. I will admit I got more excited by Jaime pulling Brienne out of a bear pit than by him shoving Bran out of a window for Cersei but the things we do for love.
So romance isn't all marriage and babies and ditzy women folk. It's epic and tragic and life-changing.
My name is Emma Jane, and I write romance.
Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
~ Romeo and Juliet

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A NATURAL HISTORY OF GOBLINS - a guest blog by Teresa Edgerton

Some fantasy writers like to write about elves, others prefer werewolves, vampires, or zombies. I have a penchant for goblins.

In folklore, the word "goblin" has been applied in myriad ways. A goblin might be a mischievous sprite like Puck, a hideous, vengeful ghost, or even a beneficient house spirit such as a brownie. Sometimes it was used as a synonym for fairy, sometimes applied to a separate race: small, ugly, and malicious. I've taken advantage of this ambiguity, and in each series of books I've written where goblins appear, I've reinvented them.

In the second Celydonn series (sequels to The Green Lion Trilogy) they are fuathan, bad fairies if you will. I like writing about fairies. Even the best of them are not nice; they are not benevolent. On occasion they may be extravagently generous. Grateful for small favors, they return them with magnificent gifts and spectacular rewards. But you cannot trust them. Their morality is not our morality, their laws…

Getting hearts racing, an interview with fantasy-romance novelist Suzanne Jackson

Today I'm chatting with Suzanne Jackson, whose debut novel has been picked up by Venus Ascending, a new fantasy/sci-fi romance imprint headed up by Teresa Edgerton. I'm lucky enough to be a critique partner of Sue's, and can confirm that this book is something special with a great, unique world, sumptuous writing, a fantastic female lead, and the so-bad-he's-irresistible Nicholas Jarrett.
So I thought I'd be the first to nab the elusive Suzanne and find out what makes her - and her world - tick.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Firstly, tell us a little about your world, and how you've managed to marry fantasy with romance?


Hi, Jo. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog for my very first interview. I’m thrilled to be able to talk a little bit about my book and characters.
The Beguiler is set in a fantasy world similar in many ways to Georgian England. Many people are superstitious, with goo…

What happens at the John Hewitt Summer School....

...stays at the John Hewitt Summer School. Mostly.

Rarely do I feel daunted when tackling a blog post but for this one I want to both capture the experience - warts (however few) and all - for others thinking of such an experience, and also try to put into words how the week has got me thinking about my writing and reflecting on lots of things. But anyway, nothing ventured etc etc, here goes.

Firstly, why on Earth did this little sff writer pop off to a literary festival for a week - apart from the small matter of the generosity of the John Hewitt Society in granting me a bursary. I could cite lots of things, like that I have a degree in humanties (I do - theatre and english), or that I do, actually, read the odd poem (MacNeice, Longley and Years are favourites as well as, added this week, Jane Yeh), or even that I've written a fairly literary fantasy book ( I have - coming in 2017.) But that's all just part of why I wanted to go. I also struggle to see why genre writing shoul…