The Stereotypes of Romance
When I was younger (sometime in my twenties), I had a conversation with someone that went something like this.
"What're you doing?"
"I think I want to write a book."
This person leaned over my shoulder and read a bit of what I typed.
"What is it about?"
"It's a romance."
A very literal snarl curled this person's lips. "Why would you want to write that garbage?"
In the twenty years since that conversation, I've heard the same sort of thing, over and over again. Not directed at me, thankfully that was the only time, but at the romance industry in general. I hear a lot of remarks about romance novels being trash or mommy porn. (That one's my fave.) I hear how about how romance novels aren't 'real novels'. What does that even mean?
The only conclusion I can come to is that these people cannot possibly have read a single one. Because if they had, they'd realize that romance novels are so much more than sex. (If they have sex in them at all.)
Sure, romance novels center around finding love, but there are so many sub-genres of romance (and levels of heat) that a reader of any kind of fiction can probably find a romance they like. There is mystery, paranormal, horror, young adult, suspense, historical, western, and contemporary to name a few.
The problem I find is that these people would much rather rely on silly stereotypes than giving one a try. So whenever I come across this, I ask if they've ever read romance and follow it asking what they normally like to read. This way, I can recommend a book I think they might like.
Now, I get it. Romance isn't for everyone. I don't expect it to be. But I do try to combat the stereotypes when I can. However I can. As a romance reader, what kind of stereotypes have you come across? How do you handle it?
Now, check out my recommendations. Do you have any to add??
Erotica: BARED TO YOU, by Sylvia Day
New Adult: IT ENDS WITH US, Colleen Hoover (also contemporary)
Contemporary: UNLOVED, A LOVE STORY, Katy Regnery
Young Adult: SHATTER ME, Tahereh Mafi (also dystopian and paranormal)
Paranormal: THE ROSE GARDEN OR MARIANA, by Susanna Kearsley (or anything by Susanna Kearsley, really.)