Saturday, May 10, 2008

What is True Romance?

Happy Saturday all,

I'm so excited about Eyes of Fire and how well it's doing. It was the very first book I ever submitted and as I've said, the reviews are great so far. I hope that everyone is enjoying it because I think it's one of the most romantic books I've eve
r written.

Which leads me to our discussion for the day. What is romance and how has it changed over the years?

Now this can be a hot topic for some people, and those who read romance have strong opinions on the subject. At the risk of alienating some people, I too have a strong opinion, but I'm pretty
sure if you've read one of my books, you'll already know the answer.

For me, Romance is a story between two committed people and will always , always, always end with a Happily Ever After, or at the very least, a Happily Ever Now.

Now I know that others feel differently, but for me, I feel cheated if a book that is touted as a romance, doesn't have these elements. I remember Nora Roberts said during an interview that no
matter how the genre may change, an HEA will always be a must. And I have to agree with her.

I will fight to the death the right for authors to write any type of book they want, but for me as a reader, I want a happy ending and I always
write what I would want to read.

So that being out of the way, what is it exactly that makes a book romantic? Sex? Em
otion? Committment? Love? Or is it all of the above.

In my humble opinion, a true romance book needs to have a couple who fall or are deeply in love with each other. While sex can be a wonderful addition to the story, I've read some truly wonderful books that weren't erotic in the slightest.

It's the emotion that drives a true romance book. Love, pain, angst, however you want to say it, we read these types of books to feel along with the characters. When the heroine weeps, we want to weep with her, and when the hero takes out the bad guy, we want to feel his passion and his anger. And when they finally celebrate their love, whether it's with a kiss or hot sex, we want to feel that triumph and satisfaction.

Has romance changed over the years? I don't think so. No
t really. The stories are still about couples finding each other and falling in love. There are still problems and angst with them being together, and there will always be some type of resolution, that Happy Ever After I mentioned earlier.

The only difference I see is the way it's being told. Books are more explicit and sex is a big part of the equation. The types of couples have changed. True love can be found with those who are of the same
sex. And now you can find true love with a vampire, a witch or a shapeshifter just as easily as you may find it with the boy next door.

Romance is the one genre that accepts everything and ignores nothing. Look around at the books available and you'll see a crossing of genre lines in our stories that is rarely seen in any other. I love being a romance writer because I can explore parts of myself and my imagination I might not be able to anywhere else.

So what do you think? What does romance mean to you? Has it changed in your opinion? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Hugs and have a wonderful weekend!

CJ England
Never anger an elf... we have very long memories.


Tamsyn said...

I agree with you. I could never read a book without a HEA. I was bred on Mills&Boon, Harlequin, etc when young before getting my hands on more spciy books. While romance is not all wine and roses, I like to see how the hero and heroine finally get together, and if there is some spicy sex in between, all the better!

beth kery said...

Interesting blog, CJ. There are so many components that go into a romance and you mentioned many of them. I'll just add that on a subjective basis, a romance is a romance if it makes me feel...well, romantic. Sorry to be circular but really...we all know when we've been transported to the realms of romance. We may have been intellectually stimulated along the way, emotionally stimulated or sexually stimulated, but we also know if the book, movie, etc. hit our personal romance button full on or not.
Congrats on the re-release of Eyes of Fire!

CJ England said...

Exactly, Pollyanna. I was as well, but it drove me crazy when it stopped just short of consummation. When I discovered those books that took it the next step, I was totally hooked.

I like all heat levels, but they have to have a committed relationship and an HEA.

CJ England said...

Excellent point, Beth.

And that feeling of romance can be very different from feeling sexy or aroused.

And it is a very individualized feeling, which is why we all have our favorite authors or ones that do absolutely nothing for us.

And thanks. Eyes of Fire being out makes me feel very happy.

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