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 Nikki Ashton, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.
I’ve seen many articles and musings from scholars and writers that say romance novels can’t possibly qualify as books and that if you read such ‘escapist trash’, it’s pretty sad. Well, that is their opinion and they are entitled to give it; after all, we live in a free world. I, for one, disagree, mainly because I’m a romantic and a writer of romance, but also because I believe it’s a matter of taste. For example, I don’t like Jazz music. I simply don’t enjoy it or feel any sort of emotion from listening to it – I just don’t ‘get it’. However, I would never suggest those that do listen to it are sad; we simply have different tastes and they have poor hearing (sorry…poor excuse for a joke).
Romance, however, does evoke lots of emotion in me. Romance actually makes me a little giddy, to be honest, and because I believe in fairy tales and happy ever afters, there really wasn’t anything else I could end up doing but becoming a writer of that genre. Even as a child, I had a crush on Prince Charming and desperately wanted Troy Tempest and Marina from Stingray to get married and have lots of babies (anyone younger than 45 probably won’t get that). I even believe that the celebrity ‘love affairs’ that are publicized in magazines are going to last forever. Yes, I am a true romantic, because for me romance and love means a happy ending.
I have often wondered why I’m a romantic and did consider it was because of my parent’s broken marriage. Instead of their divorce making me distrust love, I desperately wanted the two most important people in my life, at that time, to regain those feelings for each other. When they didn’t, I craved it for everyone else instead, if only to prove that true love really does exist. Alternatively, I might be a romantic because I’m a Pisces. Who knows? What I do know is that life should have a happy ending and if the best way to do that is to create it myself, then I’m all in.
It’s true to say that due to my idealistic disposition, my characters are people that I wouldn’t mind spending time with or, in an ideal world, I would love to be like. Yes, they veer towards the more romantic version of a human being. The women tend to be pretty and feisty with killer bodies and beautiful hair, while the men…well the men just tend to be hot and sometimes a little domineering, in the best possible way.
Some may say that is a failing in my writing. After all, life isn’t like that – not everyone has the perfect body or a beautiful face and I know that, believe me I do. But I write romance and if you look up a synonym for romance, you would possibly find the following:
Invention, concoction, trumped up story or fantasy
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m proud to be a romance writer and proud of the characters and stories that I create. My books will never send you a life-changing message, or be thought-provoking, or even win a literary prize, but they might just make you smile and put a little flutter in your heart. So, if you too are a romantic, or even if you’re not, why not give them a go? You might just like them.
So, what does romance mean to me – well, it’s everything good and happy and props to it, I say.
Nikki lives in Cheshire with her husband, two dogs and lovely mother-in-law who supplies her with endless cups of tea. She writes romance with a touch of humor and lots of love, and hopes that she puts a smile on her reader’s faces.
Her ambitions of becoming a writer started at the age of 10 when she started writing poetry at school, and was given the honor of reading one of her poems to the rest of her year group (a truly embarrassing experience that she will never forget).
Nikki is grateful for the wide variety of strange and wonderful people in her life, otherwise she’d never know what to write about! She is currently talking to family and friends, finding out their innermost secrets in readiness for her next book.
Although all Nikki’s books are stand alone stories characters do make ‘guest appearances’. So, the best order to read them is:
Guess Who I Pulled Last Night
No Bra Required
Get Your Kit Off
Rock Stars Don’t Like Big Knickers
Rock Stars Don’t Like Ugly Bras
Rock Stars Do Like Christmas
Cheese Tarts & Fluffy Socks
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nikki-Ashton/e/B00C7QKDE8/
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, Nikki, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀
Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when the company Dating Connections visits us on June 1st! Yay! 🙂
We may have other posts before then, though.
Have a great week, everyone!