Romance: the dirty word

When I tell people I write romances, I get a variety of responses but most of them are negative, like I just told them I have some communicable disease that's explained in detail only on the CDC website. What? Is writing about true love, relationships, what make people fall in or out of love wrong, bad or juvenile? I'm not writing bodice-ripping, lecherous tales of secrecy and seduction. Come on, it's me. If you know me, you know I'm not writing that. But some people give me such scorching looks that I think, maybe I should be writing high-brow, soul-searching literature, as if that's the only type of literature worth reading. But then who says, I'm not. Just because I happen to be exploring relationships, doesn't mean there isn't depth, meaning or a life-changing message in them. Reading is dreaming with your eyes open. If the dream is boring then you'll wake and find something else to do. I write to give my mind a little recess, a break from reality. I hope that's why people read.


  1. I hope you are not offended, but the idea that you would write bodice-ripping tales makes me giggle in my seat at the computer!
    Also, you are clearly married to a scientist, otherwise I don't think you would have mentioned the CDC in such a post =)
    Most fiction people like to read has a romantic portion to it. Your category of romance has just been ruined by the bookstores of the world that use romance to equal smut =(

  2. The label "romances" evokes a specific kind of book- usually shallow stories very self-consciously trying to be about "love."

    A lot of what you call "high-brow, soul-searching literature" is actually about love (think "Anna Karenina", "Jane Eyre", "Madame Bovary", Jane Austen's novels, and the list goes on)- but in all of them the love story is firmly developed in the context of the broader environment. The best love stories tell us something about the society in which they take place, about the protagonists' place in those societies, and frankly, about humanity itself. Love is always shaped, enabled, constrained or destroyed by the environment in which it exists. The best books about relationships and love recognize and explore that.

  3. Thanks, Padmini, that's a wonderful response. Christine, you crack me up!


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