Today I’m pleased to welcome author Laura James to the blog. Laura is the author of Follow Me, Follow You and Truth or Dare and has kindly written a piece on the appeal of romantic fiction. My thanks to Laura for her fantastic article.
The Appeal of Romantic Fiction
My son returned home from school with ‘talk’ homework whereby he had to discuss with his family what makes a good ending to a story. ‘Ah,’ I said. ‘For me it’s a story that leaves me fulfilled and satisfied. One that makes me sigh as I close the book.’
In romantic fiction, it’s ‘universally acknowledged’ that the hero and heroine will get together before the turn of the final page, and I believe that is part of the appeal of the genre. The reader can relax and enjoy the ride knowing there will be a hopeful ending or a happy ever after. It’s like having faith in your train driver ‒ you can flick your shoes off, kick back and fully absorb yourself in the scenery and world through which you’re being transported. It’s about trusting the author to get you there, even if the journey is torturous. The reader can endure the tough times because it will be all right in the end.
And there is such a vast array of romantic fiction, ranging from sweet, chick-lit, YA, erotic and romantic suspense, with a few more in between, all with the potential to stir our emotions, all of which have the potential to be relatable, with characters and scenarios with which we can identify.
I took a straw poll among my friends and fellow romance writers, The Romaniacs. I asked them what it is about romantic fiction that appeals to them.
Sue Fortin said: Love in all its forms is complex, but a basic human need, and as a reader, I like to connect with the emotion of a story.
Certainly, romantic fiction, written well, tugs on the heartstrings and provokes a response.
Jan Brigden said: For me, it’s the love conquers all element; the lengths people will go to be together ‒ overcoming the odds when they are seemingly stacked against them. It’s
the draw of the emotions and excitement that builds between characters and the lovely, crazy, daft and sometimes uncharacteristic things love can make you do.
I thought about this. It’s a little like watching a serial drama on TV ‒ we can experience the characters emotions vicariously, in the safety of our own home. We can explore and practise our own responses to their situations. I do that as a writer. We can cry with the characters, laugh with them and nod with empathy at the way love sometimes makes them/us act.
Celia J Anderson said: I love the insight into people’s minds when they love somebody to distraction ‒ the highs, the lows, the mood swings, the euphoria, the gloom … it’s like Through the Keyhole into somebody’s head.
So, it’s the psychology of love and romance that appeals to Celia.
I think it’s fair to say romance novels draw on and tap into human experiences. They are relatable, and they provide the satisfaction of the hopeful or HEA ending, the emotional ride and the eternal optimism that comes with love, and escapism from the nine-to-five.
And as Romaniac Catherine Miller says, ‘What is life without love?’
Laura E. James
Living in and enjoying the inspirational county of Dorset, Laura is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, a member of her local writing group, Off The Cuff, and one eighth of The Romaniacs.
Published by Choc Lit, Laura’s debut novel, Truth or Dare? was nominated for the Festival of Romance Best Romantic eBook. Her second novel, Follow Me Follow You was a lovereading.co.uk editorial selection. What Doesn’t Kill You, the third in the Chesil Series, is due for release November 2015.
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