Hi, My Name is Mary…and I Write Romance Novels.
I don’t know why, but it took me a long be able to say those last five words without either a measure of embarrassment, or an inward cringe.
Actually, that’s a lie, I know exactly why it took me so long to be able to own the fact that I write romance novels. Because people, inevitably, think romance can’t also be smart. That it’s not real literature if it’s got Fabio or heaving bosoms on the cover. That it’s just smut. That anyone could sit down and pound out a romance novel in the space of a weekend. Just toss in some sparkling vampires or fifty shades of something and BAM you’re done.
When I first started writing, I wrote fantasy, paranormal, science fiction…anything but romance, even though I loved reading romance. I was a closet romance reader. But then I struggled with finishing anything I set out to write. Part of it, I’m sure, was because I was trying to write what I thought I should, instead of what I liked. After six years of barely finishing anything, I finally caved and wrote what I wanted. And it was a romance novel. And it was the best thing I had ever put to paper.
It doesn’t really make sense. Most songs are about love. The Beatles started an empire with a song about holding hands. No one bashed Robert Plant, called it fluff or not real music when he wrote a song about a girl with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair. Artists, as a rule, create things that make them feel, that incites emotion in the reader or viewer or listener. After all, what do we all relate to more than love and relationships? Not much. There’s no mistaking the fact that romantic books sell, and sell very well. The romance genre produces billions of dollars every year in revenue. It sells more than any other genre in the market and has for years.
So why the bias? Why are romance writers creators of “trashy” novels, and why are readers embarrassed to admit they read them? Honestly, I don’t have a good answer for this. There are sociologists who have been studying the phenomenon for years (Joanna Gregson and Jen Lois, check them out on Twitter @RomanceSoc).
Maybe it’s sexism. Maybe it’s our society, devaluing something that millions of women (and men!) enjoy. Maybe it’s Fabio’s fault, with his flowing hair and rippling abs. All I do know, that the only way to fight it is to stop diminishing it in our own minds, speech, and actions. When someone asks what you’re reading, don’t be ashamed to admit you’re reading Say Yes to the Marquess, or Penny Reid’s latest smart romance. Embrace it. Own it. We can only beat the stigma if we take the power back.
Even though it took me too long to come to terms with it myself, I know that I can now admit to anyone and everyone that I am a romance writer and reader and I’m damn proud of it.
About the Author:
Mary Frame is the author of Imperfect Chemistry and the Imperfect Series. She is a full time mother and wife with a full time job. She has no idea how she manages to write novels, except that it involves copious amounts of wine. She doesn’t enjoy writing about herself in third person, but she does enjoy reading, writing, dancing, and damaging the ear drums of her co-workers when she randomly decides to sing to them. She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband, two children and a border collie named Stella. She LOVES hearing from readers and will not only respond but likely begin stalking them while tossing out hearts and flowers and rainbows! If that doesn’t creep you out, e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on twitter: @marewulf Like her Facebook Author page: www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryFrame
See her website: www.authormaryframe.com