The Hungry Heart by Brenda Gayle

Monday, October 22, 2012

What’s wrong with romance?

I’ve just completed a virtual book tour for my contemporary romance, The Hungry Heart. Almost every day for the past four weeks a blogger has either interviewed me and/or posted a review. I’m very pleased that the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. (Reviews really are a gamble, aren’t they?) Certainly there were some bloggers who had thoughtful, constructive criticisms, and I’m grateful for those because they will make my writing better. A couple had trouble relating to the heroine, and that’s fine, too. It would be a dull world if we all liked the same things. There was one review, however, that had me scratching my head. Her problem wasn’t with the plot or characters, it was with the formula of girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl and boy end up together.

I don’t know about you, but when I read a romance I am expecting three things. One: two people will fall in love. (I realize in some romance sub-genres there may be more than two, but let’s keep it simple.) Two: there will be obstacles to their relationship. Three: They will overcome these obstacles and live happily-ever-after.

I think the question to be asked, aside from the obvious one of why a reviewer with no understanding of the genre would request to review a romance novel, is: what’s wrong with romance? Why does society consider it a “lesser” form of fiction? People don’t snicker when you tell them you’re reading a scifi book or the latest thriller, but there’s often a lot of eye-rolling when they find out you’re reading a romance novel. And there are a lot of us reading them.

Statistics from Romance Writers of America show that sales of romance fiction in North America far surpass all other genres—$1.368 billion in 2011. The closest genres were religion/inspirational fiction at $715 million and mystery at $709 million. Science fiction was only $579 million.

Part of the appeal of romance is that you know it will have a happy ending. Regardless of what life throws at the hero and heroine, they will overcome it—together. That is an inspiring, feel-good message for many of us who are overscheduled and undervalued. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with books that have a different type of ending. I’m a very eclectic reader and sometimes I’m in the mood for a good dose of reality. But other times, I need to know that I will get my happily-ever-after. What’s wrong with romance? Absolutely nothing.

Thanks to Rom Con® for hosting me today and allowing me to get a few things off my chest. What do you think? Do you think romance gets a bad rap? Why do you read it? One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a digital copy of The Hungry Heart. Good luck!

Here’s a bit about the book.

The Hungry Heart
A burned out association executive spices things up with Santa Fe’s playboy celebrity chef.

Child advocate Nora Cross doesn't have time for the private cooking lesson her sister won at a charity auction. Hunter Graham, the young chef, is the last person she needs telling her she's forgotten how to have fun. So why can't she get the very hot, very eligible man off her mind?

After a stellar debut in New York City, Hunter's back in Santa Fe to open a new restaurant. He lives a charmed life and he knows it. He isn't interested in a workaholic who's glued to her smart phone. So why is he trying to convince Nora to relax and enjoy life—with him? When Nora's apartment and office are ransacked, Hunter comes to her rescue, surprised to find himself playing knight-in-shining armor to the uptight executive. But when it becomes clear Nora is no random target, Hunter realizes he'll do anything to keep her safe.

To read an excerpt and find the purchase links go to

And a bit about me: I've been a writer all my life but returned to my love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications—although some might argue there is plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. I have a master's degree in journalism and an undergraduate degree in psychology. A fan of many genres, I am drawn to contemporary romance and enjoy creating deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense. I love to talk about books (not necessarily mine) and life (again, not necessarily mine).

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