Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.
So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Vivienne Vincent, who has some things to say about the question at hand.
I’ve never been a very romantic person, and romance to me means something different from a rich brat who acts like a bad boy but retains a basic goodness of the heart, eventually, falling for an ordinary woman.
I grew up reading Harlequin and I still read those books because they provide a great escape from reality. I don’t have the patience to sit through a 600-page romance so I prefer fast-paced fiction.
But life isn’t fiction and love doesn’t happen the way it happens in books. We suffer heartbreaks and if we’re fortunate we heal, otherwise we live with the scars. Love doesn’t essentially define the art of living.
To me, the most important thing isn’t getting to know the right man or the perfect woman, but getting to know yourself and staring at your own imperfections. That’s a very difficult process and most of us go through life getting over those who broke our hearts, instead of getting over our super inflated egos.
I was very surprised when people took my first publication, Dandelions, so literally. A man breaks a woman’s heart and then forgets her. Meets her again and falls in love with her. I understand that since the story was told from the woman’s perspective, the evolution of his character isn’t obvious. There’s a sequel where he tells the story. But the bottom line is that it was only symbolic of the horrible things we do and then completely forget how much damage we caused, until one day our actions come back to bite us. We can justify just about anything to ourselves.
If human nature is so pathetic and inherently selfish, what redeems us? The ability to love someone other than ourselves.
I like to read literature from different parts of the world and there’s a beautiful concept in Persian mysticism about experiencing worldly love, which serves as a stairway to experiencing true love. You find a somewhat similar idea looking at the relationship between Socrates and Diotima.
Love only lasts if it’s more than momentary infatuation and lust. It requires you to give and surrender. There’s a wonderful novella Venus im Pelz by Sacher-Masoch (which is where the word masochism comes from, by the way). Another book that captures the essence of surrender is the French novel Histoire d’O. These books symbolize how much love can torture and in the end, break you. There’s no such thing as a happily ever after. There’s no element of winning or being rewarded.
To be honest, Dandelions was always the guy’s story and in the actual story, the girl killed herself in the end. But writing takes a toll on the author’s mind as well, so I decided not to take things that far. The first part of Dandelions that’s been released could be considered a very long prologue to the sequel or the actual story.
In the sequel, I want to highlight a few aspects of how men act toward women and how women respond to those things; not in an imaginary or ideal world, but in real life. I want to have a realistic approach which takes away the element of escapist fiction from my work. It will take at least two years or more to finish the sequel, because I’ve involved men in my process of research and I want some honest answers from them.
There’s a line in the book that “People love God and fancy the devil, but no one likes ordinary, flawed humans, which was what she revealed about me to everyone, myself included.” So I’ll be taking a flawed human and dealing with his flaws. He’s not going to achieve nirvana, but it’s going to be a struggle to improve and become a better person.
That’s what love, or romance if you want to call it, means to me.
If we have the ability to love another, then we certainly have the ability to be a better human. Because life isn’t about being famous or being the best; it’s about quietly struggling to rise above our animal instincts and maintaining a balance between light and darkness.
Nice! And how very true… 😉
Vivienne Vincent grew up in a fairly conservative environment which ironically sparked her interest in unconventional subjects and romance novels. As a young girl she became interested in novels from the Victorian era as well as modern day romance. She is pretty much obsessed with British and American sitcoms and crime series. Look her up on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with her. She loves to hear from readers.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2abR73V
Wait, we’re not quite finished!
So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?
If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥
Thanks again, Vivienne, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Awesome! 😀
Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Rachael Tamayo visits us on June 29th! Yay! 🙂
We’ll have other posts before then, though.
Have a great weekend, everyone!