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Romance Writers And Their Shame… Why?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

You know what, I get sick and tired of some romance writers having this almost obsessive need to be taken seriously by the literary world.

Everywhere I turn, there seems to be some author or other moaning about how they are ashamed to write romance books, because of this reason, or that reason. I suspect this is mainly because they feel that the Chuck Palahniuks of this world will probably never read what they write. And so what?

Some even have the gall to blame it on other authors who don’t act maturely enough! According to Brenda Coulter anyway, (sorry, not linking) who in one of her blog entries, lambasted authors at a convention who were ogling a bunch of firemen like teenagers. Apparently she thought this mode of behaviour was one of the reasons why romance writers can’t be taken seriously. Go figure.

But she does write inspirational romance, so perhaps this viewpoint is par for the course anyway.

Of course Brenda isn’t the only ‘bah humbug’ romance author out there, it wasn’t that long ago that Kassia Krozser had her little Rant about being ashamed of reading and writing romance. I had my little say on that of course, and suggested that maybe she find another career that didn’t shame her as much.

Yesterday’s Romancing The Blog column was written by the Two Scott’s, Scott Pomfrett, and Scott Whittier. They are the pioneering authors of gay romance stories.

It was gratifying to see that instead of whinging about how they would never make it onto Oprah’s book list, they wrote about the pride they experience as romance writers, in a genre that seems to be full of shame and blame.

Why can’t all other romance writers have their attitude?

This is what I wrote in response to their column:

Bravo guys!!! At last, romance authors who aren’t ashamed to write and read romance books!!

As a reader, I’ve gotten quite sick of the sometimes self-absorbed, woe-is-me attitude, of some of the romance authors (yep some of them are columnists here) who are quite happy to tell us that they are ashamed of the genre, and that A, it’s the fault of other romance authors behaviour, B, It’s the fault of some of the Barbara Cartland type books that still exist today.

I’ve never understood the need for romance writers to gain acceptance from the literary world.

We all know that there are critically acclaimed authors out there, who just can’t sell their books to the average joe, despite the proclaimed brilliance of their work. Their books may tap into the social consciousness of the world we live in, but in reality, their sales figures sucks ass, thus they starve.

As a British woman, in the aftermath of the London bombings, what kind of book am I likely to pick up? Am I likely to pick up a book about people getting murdered, or will I want to escape the harsh realities and indulge in a good old fashioned romance? For me personally, the romance novel wins every time.

Some romance authors need to learn that the books that they write can impact people on a more fundamental level, than the latest Tom Clancy blockbuster.

Kudos on being pioneers who show no shame. You are a great example to other romance writers out there.

For me it’s simple, if you don’t like what you read, either don’t read it, or write something better. If you’re ashamed to be a writer of romance, then how about trying your hand at accountancy?