In response to the comment I received on yesterday's blog... If you take a close look at current romance novels (from this century), you will find that the stories run the gamut from rosy fairy tales to gritty, realistic stories that could've been taken from real life... and everything in between. For instance, in the first Scottish historical I wrote, set in the early 1600s, the heroine has a very hard life. She was an English earl's daughter who fell from grace by becoming pregnant six years ago and was abandoned to poverty in the Scottish Highlands by her family. She had little choice but to marry a poor man who turned out abusive. Fortunately for her, he was killed in battle. She has an illegitimate son to raise, whom she loves more than anything, and she wants the best for him. A short while after the story begins, she loses her home (fire), her only friend (murdered) and has to run for her life. She struggles long and hard to get what she wants. She deserves the love of a good man who will treat her right and respect her. She deserves her happy ending.
My reasons for writing romance are to make readers feel uplifted and inspired, to give them a few minutes or hours of happiness away from their everyday lives. To show them that even though they may be down, they can drag themselves out of that pit if they try hard enough, if they want it badly enough. They can take control of their lives and go after what they want just as my romance heroines do. I want to make people laugh or cry because they're touched by my characters and their triumph when they win in the end.
The movie Walk the Line was taken from real life, but it could've just as easily been adapted from a romance novel. The structure, characters and events are very similar to romances I've read. I haven’t read any romances where everything was perfect, nor would I want to.
Romance novels are entertainment, just like other genres of fiction, TV shows or movies. If they are not entertaining, if they are like hum-drum everyday life, no one would want to read them. People see romances as less valuable because they are not "realistic." Mysteries, science fiction and fantasy, action and adventure books/movies are not realistic either, yet they are not discredited nor disfavored because of it. Jurassic Park, Star Wars, James Bond, King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman...are these real? No. Are the characters larger than life? Do we love them? Yes. They are entertainment and a lot of fun just as romance novels are.