Everyone wants a little romance in their lives. First kiss. True love. Summer fling. Puppy love. Holding hands on the beach. Hot sex. Steamy affair. Wedding bells. Happily Ever After.
A lot or a little, we all like to have it, right? So why is it that when I tell people I write romance novels (or romantic suspense) I get THAT LOOK. You know, the one that's saying "Oh, that kind of writing. Not real writing."
It's still real writing. My butt is still in the chair, hands on keyboard. I still have to do research and check facts, not all of it under the sheets (although, obviously, there is that as well!)
In my first novel, I had tons of medical questions to look up and find answers to, as well as information about illegal drugs and hospital procedures... I spent hours on the Internet following clues and gathering information. I sent emails to friends who are doctors and had them read through whole sections to make sure I was making sense. I'm not a doctor, but I know a few who helped me get it all right.
I know there are authors who write historical romances, and engage in intense research, worrying about whether certain words are even appropriate or authentic to their eras. I know there are authors who write intense romantic suspense, and spend hours pouring over police procedures and criminal profiles to try and make the grit as authentic as possible. Which makes it more enjoyable when the female detective and the hot fireman do finally fall into bed. Believe me.
Romance is also an ever-growing category for book sales, despite the current economic downturn. Which means more and more people are reading romance novels, whether they want to admit it in public or not. Sales figures don't lie.
People need the escape that romance provides. It does seem that there are a lot more "dark" romances than there used to be, but most still provide the catharsis of the Happily Ever After that people are also searching for in their real lives.
So why the smirks? Why the lack of respect for the authors struggling to make it in the genre?
Are you a romance reader or writer? What do you think about romance, specifically or generally? Like it, hate it, secretly read it at the beach? Can you explain the "attitude" some people have about the genre?