The romance category is filled with much more than handcuffs and collars. In fact, that is a very small portion of what it offers readers. Whether it's a relationship developing on a sprawling ranch in the 1800's, another planet, in the bedroom of strangers or in the flux of danger, romance is about the human connection.
Romance readers are potentially every one of us.
Let me share something. I was sitting in a drive-thru just today and behind me I witnessed a couple who were in the middle of an argument. The woman passenger was very animated, her hands moving, her face looking flushed and upset. The man behind the wheel looked away, his lips hardly ever moving. At one point, he opened his mouth wide, blinked hard and seemed to draw in a deep breath.
Of course I couldn't hear anything that was being said, I could only see their faces. I'm sure anyone else who noticed them might feel for the man, but how do we know he doesn't always meet her with that stoic, dull reaction and she was just exasperated? She would drop her hands and gaze out the window with a faraway look in her eyes, as if she were seeing something otherworldly. Maybe she was. I don't know.
As a writer who writes about relationships that couple in the car meant more to me than pure public spectacle; it stayed with me even after I'd pulled away. We have all experienced love. The bridge that brings us together can just as quickly separate us. No one person has the ability to hurt us more than someone we've loved. I think, in that notion, lies the heart of the romance author. We pull the tiny threads from the web of human relations and sift them back together into a story.
It appeals to anyone. They may see themselves as they were, or as they want to be. Sex is a small part of our relationships. It only becomes bigger when all of the other pieces of the puzzle are placed on the board. A picture is formed, a portion of someone's life with another. It has an intensity that draws readers.
I am very glad to be a part of it. I lose myself in it when I write and it follows me even when I am far away from the desk.
So happy writing and happy reading, straight from the heart.