Thursday, May 7, 2009
"Most Maligned of Literary Texts"
This is America. I respect the opinions and the rights of readers who won’t touch romance with a ten foot pole. For them, the happily ever after ending is just too predictable, the hero too chiseled and perfect and the heroine just too damn beautiful and flawless to be believed. Because I have my own no-fly list, I understand their position. Some stories are not for me. I’m not paying good (or bad) money to be depressed or disgusted. That’s what cable news is for.
Notice I said stories and not genres. However, I still give credit to those readers who have tackled romance and decide it’s just not for them. The people who give me pause are those who have never read a romance novel but speak with authority on the simplistic story lines and alleged “purple prose”. How the heck do they know the color of the prose (excuse my sarcasm) if they’ve never cracked open the book? And then there are the snobs who’ve decided that romance writers suffer from limited intelligence, as if we need flashcards to remember our own names.
To my many reader friends, I do understand. Romance, like many other genres, is not for everyone. But to the misinformed, I offer a quote from Joanne Rendell, an attendee at Princeton’s symposium on romance fiction. “...as the Princeton conference continued, I realized that it was too hasty to rush to this conclusion. Romances are not one kind of thing. Neither are their readers. And to draw fast conclusions about the genre and its audience is to perpetuate the kind of stereotyping which has always made romance the "most maligned of literary texts." The entire article (which includes our own Beverly Jenkins) can be found in the May 3 edition of the Huffington Post. And to my fellow authors, I paraphrase a favorite phrase from the 60's: "write on, write on!"