Saturday, August 29, 2020
Unapologetic Romance ~ by Christina Alexandra
I write Romance.
There. I said it. I am not ashamed, or scared, or sorry about what I write. My name is my own and I am proud of the genre I write.
I didn’t start out that way. In fact, I didn’t start to read Romance until about eight years ago, and only started to write it seriously six years ago. At the time I started reading Romance, I was one of those people; the ones who scoffed at Romance as “florid” or “simple” or “pornography” and all the other clichéd stereotypes that float around about the genre.
Then I read my first Romance, Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake. That quickly led to another, and another, and...well, you get the idea. Not only did I rediscover my love of reading, but I discovered a few things about Romance along the way.
I discovered was that Romance is not florid, it is more often than not a well written emotional rollercoaster; it is not simple, it is well thought out with complex characters and story lines; it is not pornography, but the intimacy, whether graphically on the page or not, is used to strengthen the relationship between characters. Not only that, but by definition, it has to have a positive ending. I finally found what I had been waiting for, seemingly my entire life.
I devoured as many Romance novels as I could, and it didn’t matter what subgenre they were--contemporary, paranormal, or erotic, I read them all. But my first love (no pun intended), and the one I always go back to, is Historical Romance. Specifically those set in the late Georgian and Regency eras. I loved it so much, in fact, that when I started writing Romance, the Regency period is what I gravitated to.
Most Regency fans love it because of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. But I have a confession to make: I have never read a Jane Austen book I enjoyed. My appreciation for the time period came from the modern Romance novels, and when I started to research it for my own writing, I fell in love with it. As I dug deeper, I realized it wasn’t so different than the world we live in today.
Oh, sure we have modern conveniences and attitudes, but underneath it all, the struggles are very similar to what we face today. There were concerns about the environment, veterans returning from war, questions about the leadership of the country and gratuitous spending while the majority of the population struggling to make ends meet, racial and religious tensions, and men trying to control women. Romance made me aware of the society around me, giving me a way to relate to current events in a way that wasn’t so contentious.
Now, when the world becomes too much of an overload, I can always turn to romance. When I’m burned out on politics and the pandemic, I can escape for a bit while still feeling connected to the world. When the fear and stress of the Day Job gets to be overwhelming, I can feed my endorphins by reading a guaranteed uplifting ending.
That is why I am, and always will be, an Unapologetic Regency Romance Writer.
So if you’re feeling down, or overwhelmed by the state of affairs, and you haven’t yet read a Romance, give it a try. There is quite literally something out there for anyone. Don’t know where to start? Drop me an email or DM on Facebook, I’d be happy to recommend one that will fit you. :)
Listen to Christina Alexandra's podcast episode here.