Welcome to the Nickel Nasties series! In celebration of my first scathing Amazon review for A Ranger's Tale (1 in 58 ain't bad), I've decided to devote February to the stories that garner so much stereotype and ridicule, but still comprise one of the world's best-selling genres: ROMANCE! I hope you'll enjoy this series. Please leave comments for the wonderful contributors. And...don't forget to check out their books!
My interest in romance began with my earliest readings. No, not the David and Ann readers. Please! But Nancy Drew. For her times, (this series first appeared in the 1930’s) Nancy was pretty kick-ass: a teen female solving mysteries that confounded the adults. Where was the romance? Nancy’s boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. Make no mistake, it was Nancy who solved the mysteries. At best, Ned was her assistant. But his presence in the books had a much more crucial role – he made her human. Vulnerable.
Doesn’t love do that to us all? (Aaaah. You say I’m using the word ‘love’ in place of ‘romance.’ My friend Webster defines romance as a love story.)
As in real life, love interests in books attach us to the characters. We yearn for their successes; we suffer with their failures. Good authors today take advantage of this ploy to hold their readers. Look at Harry Potter, the biggest literary phenomenon in the last decade. Rowlings’ young readers have Harry and Jenny, Hermione and Ron, and the love story that started it all – James and Lily.
This trend is not unique to female authors. Not at all. Male authors, even those that write the ‘lone wolf’ type detective series use romance to bond their readers more deeply to their hero. (Although I do believe some of these ‘lone wolves’ should wear neon disclaimers such as: “My last five relationships ended in Disaster!”)
Why is romance so prevalent in writing? Because it’s organic. It is one of the defining characteristics of the human animal. Humans are born with two instincts: the will to survive and the will to propagate. Stripped of all social niceties, we are creatures who will fight for the right to live, and we will have sex.
Once we’ve established peace in our lives, when survival is no longer a daily battle, humans look to belong. In a group, in a one-on-one relationship, we all have a need for belonging. For love.
Most of us live and struggle somewhere between the raw basic and the totally fulfilled, ethereal aspects of love. Seeing it in print is natural. It’s an affirmation that we are all on this same path.
It’s what draws me to read romance. It’s what draws me to write romance. And why, for the month of February, we celebrate romance.
Lisa writes contemporary YA romance.
You can follow her on Twitter or at YAFusion@blogspot.com