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Well, if one went by some of the dedications in some of the romance books that I’ve read, the answer would seem to be a resounding yes, however, I’m just not convinced.

I’ve read some of these dedications and often wondered what really lay behind them. Did the author really mean it, or was it just for show, or perhaps a marketing ploy?

When I read things like, “To my own special hero, blah blah blah” I can’t help but think in my head, “Who are they trying to kid?”

That’s very cynical of me I know, but more often than not, I wonder if the author does indeed consider their other half, their very own ‘hero’.

A while ago, I read a dedication from a well known author, that thanked the hubby for his unwavering support etc, etc. Yet, according to the grapevine, and according to people who’d met the hubby in real life, he was an arsehole in every way.

Now of course the rumours may have been untrue, but in my mind, there’s seldom smoke without fire. And as romance readers, I think we’re desperate to believe that our favourite romance authors really do have the types of heroes that they write about, so why lie?

Anyhoo, I think it would be interesting to get some stats on the divorce rate amongst romance writers.

What do you guys think? Do you, like me, wonder at some of the sugary sweet dedications to the author’s other half, that you read?


  • I can’t believe I’m the first to comment. I read your blog all the time, but most times I just keep my mouth shut. lol

    Dedications! Yeah, I have dedicated one on my books to my significant other. Did I mean it? You bet I did. He’s proof-read almost all my manuscripts, even though he reckons he doesn’t read romance. More than that, he pimps my name to anyone who will listen.

    Does this mean we don’t ever have issues. lol We have as many issues as the next couple, but we manage to work them out. We’ve been together 37 years. That’s not a bad innings in this day and age.


  • SarahT
    March 23
    11:11 am

    Yes! Thanks for this post, Karen. The dedications are something I’ve always wondered about, too. I guess people have expectations that romance authors must be living their own HEA in order to write about love so convincingly.

    I recently read an interview with author Pamela Clare where she mentioned she was divorced and a single mother. I remember thinking it was atypical that a romance author would openly say she was divorced and admiring her for it.


  • Fae
    March 23
    12:42 pm

    I mean all of my dedications. The problem being, as I get more and more published, I’m running out of people to dedicate books to. I have no idea how Nora does it, I’m on book 8 and going “I’ve dedicated a book to everyone who deserves a dedication…”

    I almost dedicated the last one to my cat, just for lack of anybody else lol. I’m a very “A few tight knit friends and no family” kind of person so the pickings are slim. I’m not gonna dedicate a book to an acquaintance or something.


  • I definitely mean my dedications. My husband is my rock, though certainly no romance hero (Thank God!)


  • M E 2
    March 23
    2:03 pm

    I have to say that is something I have never given any thought to.

    I *generally* take everything at face value.

    In cyber-land, some would say that was foolish and/or naive. However, if I stated that I took everything with a grain of salt and/or believed very little, I would be called a biotch and/or hard-@$$.

    You just can’t win.


  • Anon76
    March 23
    2:09 pm

    My dedication to my hubby came straight from the heart. We’ve been together 29 years, and I still wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. In fact, my hero is very much based on my own hubster, quirks and all.

    Do we have ups and downs? You betcha. But I don’t think we’d be “real” people if we didn’t.

    And honestly, a romance hero would be pretty boring without a few flaws here and there. Who wants to read about a perfect human being? (If there even is such a thing.)


  • While I’m on my second time around, I can tell you that the story of how I came to be with my partner (boyfriend) reads just like a friends to lovers romance novel. 🙂 We were friends for many years, ships passing in the night that sort of thing, and then the timing was right. While we will most likely never marry, I consider it a HEA ending for me. 🙂 So yeah, I believe those dedications. I’m a hopeless romantic that way.


  • MB (Leah)
    March 23
    2:26 pm

    I believe them, although dedications aren’t high on my list of things to notice or bother about too much.

    Even if a writer is married to someone who many think is an ass, it doesn’t mean that SHE sees him as one, or that he hasn’t played a huge role in what she writes.

    More to the point might be, does a romance author have to be living an HEA to write credible romance? I don’t think so.

    I don’t care if a romance author has divorced 10 times, is a spinster, lives by themselves with animals, or is still with their high school sweetheart after umpteen years. If they write convincing love and a good story, that’s what’s important to me.


  • I dedicated my first book to my husband (and parents and kids). Between the ebook release and the galleys for the print release, I split with him, but changing the dedication would have felt weird. So I left it as it was. Of course, now it feels weird that I left it, but whatever. Of course, I never referred to him as “my rock” or “my real life hero” or anything like that. Not my style.


  • Anya Delvay
    March 23
    3:53 pm

    Are romance writers more likely to live a HEA? No more so than anyone else, I think, and why should they? People are people, no matter their chosen professions, and the stats on divorce, etc. are probably the same for romance writers as anyone else. There is even a possible strike against them, since writers are not usually the easiest people in the world to live with! Besides, a writer doesn’t have to have killed anyone or been stalked or chased by bad guys to write a great suspense novel…

    On top of that, most romance novels stop at what we assume is a HEA. In the real world life after the “I love you, lets be together, forever,” (no matter what others think, or think they see) is more of a Happily (Sometimes, sometimes not) Ever After. Those dedications, sappy and sometimes downright smarmy as they seem, could be an acknowledgement of that reality, or window dressing. Either way, not a big deal. SEP, (Somebody Else’s Problem) as Douglas Adams would say!


  • Can I be honest and say that I mostly skip the dedications?

    What makes me go WTF? is the author photo taken in the bedroom. You know what I mean.


  • What makes me go WTF? is the author photo taken in the bedroom. You know what I mean.

    oh man, I so didn’t need that stuck in my head this morning…


  • Hmm well if the alternative were “to my husband, the biggest asshole in the world” I can see going with option A. *g*

    But hey, what do I know about romance. My husband’s nickname is Luigi (pronounced Loo-gey, though) (long story) and we bicker like two children on the playground. 🙂


  • I have been married a grand total of three times, which means divorced twice–obviously. The first two, not so good matches. The third (and final) is my hero. I started writing before him, got published before him, but he’s the only one to be with me while I’ve bee writing. I guess you could say I started writing with it in mind as a career between men. :^P

    He truly is my hero, though. He makes me believe in the things I write. So yeah, I tend to get all mushy and gushy in my dedications to him. He supports me like no other. Helps me hash out ideas when I’m having trouble with a scene and pushes me to get things done when I’m procrastinating too much. And he loves me. What more could a gal ask for?


  • The timing of your post is amazing, Karen–just yesterday I blogged about my milestone wedding anniversary. I was 19 and Mike was 20 when we got married. He’s my lover and my best friend. I’ve been married longer than most of my readers have been alive. And, yes, I sincerely mean every word when I dedicate a book to my husband.

    I don’t honestly think divorce statistics differ for romance writers as compared to the rest of the population. What matters isn’t what you do for a living but, rather, how hard you work, and how wisely you prioritize, to make the relationship sound, lasting and loving. A good happily-ever-after marriage doesn’t just happen because you want it to happen. It’s not that easy.

    No romance writer is going to have lasting success if she fails to put enough effort into her writing. If she slacks off or takes her position as an author for granted, her writing will suffer and readers will know it. The same goes for a marriage.

    Along with effort, building a good marriage takes patience, good communication, mutual respect, support, encouragement, a good sense of humor, the ability to laugh at yourself, and unconditional, unselfish love. Authors, or anyone else, can pretend; they can lie to themselves or others but they can’t truly hide the fact that their marriage isn’t happy–not for long, anyway.

    There was plenty of divorce in my family, including my mother (twice) and my sister. Serious dysfunction galloped wildly through both my family and my husband’s, creating seemingly insurmountable obstacles for a happy marriage. But we were determined to break the cycle. We survived and thrived and, for this romance writer, at least, it just keeps getting better.


  • Sorry Maya, I was having a Rosemary Rogers flashback.


  • When I dedicated a book to my husband I meant it. I love him and he’s my best friend and he’s supportive of what I do. We have our ups and downs like regular couples. One minute we’re cuddling and the next I’m yelling at him for putting an empty container of orange juice back in the fridge. He’s just an average guy and I’m an average gal and we have average problems, we have fun together and the good outweighs the bad by far. I think that’s the real HEA. Romance is my favorite genre of book but I have yet to meet a guy like any of the romances I’ve ever read.


  • The last person I dedicated a book to was Captain Kirk because I’m as fond of split infinitives as he is….’to boldly go’…. But apart from that, I never look at dedications and people will believe what they want to believe. That’s the beauty of writing and reading.


  • Heh. I think I dedicated two of my books to the house hunk. We’re over forty years together. I think that the romance doesn’t have a lot to do with sex. That’s there all the time.

    Romance has to do with coming home from a long day at work and babysitting the four kids every night so I can go to work so we can buy groceries.

    Romance has to do with buying me a gigunda screen because the vision is going… so I can keep writing just because I love it.

    Romance is crawling under a car in freezing sleet to fix a muffler in the middle of the night (together, always together!)

    Whether an author divorces or stays married or was never married, doesn’t really matter. What they feel in their heart matters. And what they feel comfortable putting out there for public consumption is just that.


  • I’m a confirmed spinster so no HEA of the romance sort here.

    And I’ve only done one dedication, to a real-life acquaintance who inspired a hero of mine. He had no idea, nor do I expect he’ll ever know since I don’t see him as a erotic m/m romance fan.


  • I also think you have to assume there’s a possibility that the person meant it at that moment. Even arseholes have their moments and might end up the recipient of an effusive dedication when a writer is riding high on the wave of successfully completing a book.

    You know, endorphins.

    Wendy Writer forgets all the times he interrupted her while she was at her “little hobby,” and instead recalls the time he made her the cup of tea. Suddenly, he is: My gallant knight, Wayne, who is always there with love, support, and a bracing cup of tea!

    Um, why is there a picture next to my name of some mystery person?


  • My dedications to my hubby are completely heartfelt and I am living my own HEA still after 23 years.

    That said, no, I don’t think romance writers are more likely to have great marriages than anyone else. I know quite a few who don’t.

    One of my favorite dedications was from my good friend Cami Dalton. Her Sept 09 Blaze dedication mentions the magnet she has on her fridge that says something along the lines of, “Life’s too short to live with a psycho.”


  • Every dedication in my books have been written from the heart. As for my hubby, after 26 years of marriage, I mean everything I say about him. 🙂

    I never questioned another author’s dedication. But now you have me checking the books in my TBR pile. LOL! Darn you! LOL!


  • I once dedicated a book to the biggest jerk I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. I meant every word : )


  • I’ve only written one dedication so far, but I meant it. “To my husband and best friend.” It fits with the friends-to-lovers story I wrote, yes, but is also very true. Doesn’t mean we don’t want to strangle one another sometimes. But he is truly the only person on earth I don’t mind being around ALL the time. I always think of Paul Rudd in “Knocked Up”, when he says, “Our biggest problem is that she wants me around.” LOL, that’s probably our biggest problem, too.


  • DS
    March 24
    12:16 am

    Definite grain of salt taker here. However, the three years that three romance writers were killed by their respective spouses– 1996 to 1999, I think, made me more curious about authors who wrote really asshat alpha heroes and announced at some point that their husband had inspired the character. I’m referring only to one of the three women. I had never AFAIK read anything by Pamela Macaluso or Ann Wassall the other two.

    And in all fairness to the memory of Nancy Richards-Akers, she was in the process of obtaining a divorce when the tragedy happened– the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship.

    I went around for weeks boring people by talking about whether romances might be encouraging women to stay in abusive relationships by encouraging them to think that this behavior is that of a hero.

    I’ve been over that for years BTW– I’ve obsessed on a lot of things since then.


  • Well, let’s look at the slightly tarnished flipside of this coin. Maybe there are some romance writers who weave tales to compensate for their own lack of that HEA. You know — vicarious satisfaction and all that.


  • I don’t dedicate. I do acknowledge.
    My Mudd got an acknowledgment in my latest for aid in world-building. He won’t get one in the next, because he didn’t help much.


  • This doesn’t strike me as a reliable way to get the information you seek. Would anyone really fess up to glossing the truth on this issue?

    As a person who has been the subject of such dedications (not in the romance genre, alas), I am positive every word is the unvarnished and complete truth. 😉

    The best dedication I ever saw was a former colleague’s who “dedicated” his first book to his ex-wife with the words “in spite of” before her name.


  • “in spite of”


    (love it)


  • Nicole
    March 24
    1:49 am

    If the book was a guide to a healthy and happy marriage, than maybe, just maybe, I would give a hoot. But a work of fiction? Nope. Don’t care.


  • I thought all romance authors married the epitome of male perfection. You know, the kind of guy who serves up breakfast in bed and plans romantic weekends (a couple of times each year). These are the men who provide endless plot ideas along with some fantastic dialogue for pillow talk. Was I wrong?


    P.S. This post is dedicated to the man I love. Without him, blogging tonight would not have been possible. :))


  • When I do get published, I plan a dedication to my husband.

    It’ll read as lovey-dovey to those who don’t know us. But the truth is there’s a statement underneath the obvious that will make sense only to us and our friends.

    You can’t believe everything you read. And you certainly can’t take it at face value.


  • I don’t do dedications. I’m not that type of person. One day, though, I might do something along the lines of the following:

    “To XYZ, thanks for chapter ten” where XYZ are the initials of the hero.

    Just to throw readers off because I am THAT type of person.


  • I dedicated one book to my husband because he told me the story that kicked off the idea. But for the most part, authors that guide me through the writing moments get my dedications. Some stay the same, some change. Editors get the nod because they’ve had to deal with me and the story more than anyone else.
    As far as an HEA being a requirement? Um no. I think romantic fiction only requires one thing. Imagination. My husband is NOT like my heroes. Our marriage is not a topic for my fictional bedroom scenes.
    I don’t know that the romance writing and divorce rate is connected. Relationships are complicated and authors are no more likely to be able to “figure it out” than the rest of the population.


  • When I read dedications like that I tend to believe the authors are really that happy with their mates. Maybe I’m just a romantic at heart? Who knows, but its better than reading something like inspired by the worst f*ck this side of the mannequin at Macy’s. Now that would make me wonder…


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