It’s been that kind of week, dear readers. After last week’s post on the Bridgerton casting brouhaha, a good writing week, and a few domestic tornadoes at home, I have arrived at Ffriday night with a commitment to blog here, and a complete lack of cohesive ideas. So, what does that get us? If you guessed free form ramble, you’re right. Grab a seasonally appropriate beverage, and get comfy.
I originally thought about following up last week’s post with a post about historical romance novels that are culturally diverse, and pointing out how making historical romances more diverse would make the books more historically accurate, not less.
Personally, I would love to see historical romances set in farther-flung reaches of the British Empire. This does present some problematic challenges, because then we’re going to get into the issues of colonialism, who lives, who dies, who tells the stories (apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but obligatory Hamilton reference must be made) and these are valid reasons that other readers may not want to read this sort of story.
I thought about this a lot, both as a writer and as a reader. One of the reasons I am working o a trilogy of pirate romances is that it does give me a chance to writer more diversely. Who wound up in the Caribbean? Everybody. I wish I had a copy of an article one of the greats of western historical romance, Shirl Henke (who has also written other settings, from Regency to contemporary romantic suspense) about how she wrote westerns because the US western expansion of the 19th century was a melting pot.
She’s not wrong. For me, the age of piracy is the same thing. Who wound up in the American west, or the islands? Those with nowhere else to go? Those who wanted to get away from everything they had known before? Those who made a choice. Those who had no choice. Everybody in between.
This isn’t a post about romance haters, despite the meme for this week. Honestly, I don’t feel like giving them my time and attention and energy, because that stuff is much better used to do other things, like write and read romance. How many of us have read a great romance and then gone to the library or practiced our Google-fu, to go look up something, because that book, fluffy or steamy, or what have you, got us thinking we’d like to know more about X?
I am imagining a lot of hands in the air right now, because I know that’s true of me. This week alone, my contemporary writing partner and I have had to research where British troops are stationed abroad, right now, and which of those places are where American troops are also stationed? I finished reading a dystopian YA romance trilogy, with a quartet of bridge novellas, set in a world where love is forbidden, which has my head buzzing with some thinky think think questions, and not only because I accidentally read them out of order.
I’ve also been extra thinky think think myself, in a more general sense of the word, because I am, right now, not at the annual national conference for Romance Writers of America (consider it extroverted romance writer Disneyland) and I’m a little salty about it. I miss the opportunity to be in a hotel full of people who love the books I love, to learn how to write those books better, and, sure, to put a bug in some ears about my own upcoming release. Mandatory self promotion, you know.
There’s one other thing I miss about going to the national, or any conference. Free books. On. My. Chair. I have been unsuccessful, so far, in convincing my family to incorporate this into daily life, but that thrill, of seeing a brand new book, one that’s all yours, free and clear, with a guarantee that, no matter what else may happen in those pages, everything is going to be all right in the end.
With all that’s going on in the world, from domestic tornadoes, to casting kerfluffles, to the events on the nightly news, no matter what side of the fence one might find oneself, we need romance novels now, more than ever. The characters may be (mostly) fictional, but the feelings? Oh my dears, it does not get any real-er than that.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. What bookish things are on your mind this fine day (or evening?) What are you reading? What was the last great romance you read? What sort of romance would you like to read next? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.