Sometimes, I read a book and it profoundly moves me. This is a beautiful thing, but it comes with some risks. I’m one of those people who takes things to heart, carries them around and turns them over and over in my mind. A deeply wrenching tale, or even an intensely suspenseful one, can keep me awake at night, cloud my thoughts for days. It’s not bad, but it’s exhausting.
Romance is different. It is, by definition, a hopeful genre. The stories and characters are ones you either know or want to know. The ending is predictable, but that’s okay; it is buoyant. Always.
Despite reading romance–straight and queer–for years, I usually did so secretly, guiltily, or, at the very least, with a dose of self deprecation. As a woman with a fondness for intellectualism and a graduate degree in English, it felt hypocritical to do otherwise. Yet. Yet, the romances were the stories I kept in my heart, the ones I read again and again.
When I decided (for about the tenth time) to take writing seriously, I dabbled in a number of things. What I wrote wasn’t bad, but it didn’t excite me. I struggled to finish a project and everything felt a little…flat. I decided, finally, to write what I would want to read.
In doing so, I embarked on a tale that got me out of bed at six in the morning so I could write for an hour before going to work. I created characters that I loved, even when they drove me nuts. I wrote a story that made me smile, made me happy.
I also came to embrace romance, to take pride in it. In some ways, it was like coming out all over again. I’m thrilled with the result. Even in what feels like the billionth round of edits, I’m not sick of it. I look forward to sharing it with with you soon. Until then, read something you love, and don’t hesitate to share it with a friend.