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 Tanya W. Newman, who has some things to say about the question at hand.
When I made the decision to write about what romance means to me, I immediately thought back on one of my favorite moments from The Golden Girls. A character, Blanche (the most promiscuous), has been dating a man who has never made a move on her. When she asks him why, he says any two people can just sleep together, but what he believes in is romance. He explains what that means by walking over to Blanche, slowly stroking the side of her face, and kissing her, just once. He smiles but leaves without a word and as Blanche looks after him long after he has gone, she finally smiles to herself, folds her arms over her chest, and we know that she understands what he means.
The moment is a small one, but it is one that we know will last in Blanche’s memory. It is also a moment that illustrates what romance means to me. Small moments such as this can actually be quite lasting and powerful, and when they occur, mostly in the form of a kiss or even an exchange of looks or smiles, they show a quiet understanding or connection between two people. Those are the moments that catch my heart and send it racing. And wow, is it romantic!
There are many places where I have come across these small moments of connection. One of the most recent is in the music video for “Don’t Mean Nothing” by Richard Marx. In the video, an aspiring actress moves into an apartment complex and is increasingly disillusioned by the industry as well as being hit on by her landlord. Marx plays a musician living in the complex. They have several encounters where their eyes meet, but she always looks away. Finally, near the end, she leaves the complex one morning, looks Marx’s way as he is coming outside with coffee, radiates a beautiful smile, and says, “Hi.” He nods in return and a moment later, she turns back to smile at him once again and he stares after her. We don’t know what made her change in this moment, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s lovely and romantic because there seems to be a knowledge in each character’s smile, showing how they understand what the other goes through day after day trying to “make it” in show business. They know one another without knowing one another in a sense, and therefore a connection is formed that will probably last—not unlike La La Land, I suppose.
I came to realize how much I value small moments of connection in my own work as well. In my second novel, Winter Rain, there is a moment when my character, Spencer, offers his hand to another character Isabel, asking her to dance with him. They are at a party but have found themselves on a balcony, just the two of them. They’ve barely met or said a word to one another, but as Isabel looks into his eyes, she sees something she hasn’t seen in anyone and Spencer, an otherwise womanizer, sees the same in Isabel. They come together, dancing slowly and intimately out on that balcony, but never kiss or say another word to one another. Nonetheless, a connection is felt and it’s one that lasts beyond his friend trying to come between them and have Isabel for himself. I came to realize here, how romantic I find dancing as well because of its connection without words. This is not the only instance in which Spencer and Isabel dance instead of talking to one another, how these brief moments of contact replace conversation.
It happens in my other novel, The Good Thief, as well. In that story, my character, James, asks Scotlyn to dance on their first date and she agrees with heart-pounding nervousness. But once she is next to him, the panic fades and all she sees or feels is him. The dance ends in a kiss that lasts in her memory for long after and it is a memory she frequently revisits when she finds herself in danger.
These men love these women, more than they thought they were capable of loving anyone, and if I do my job right as a writer, then readers are able to see that as the small moments between the characters continue.
There are countless other facets I find romantic but in the end, the moments where two people connect and understand one another are what I find the most romantic. They’re the moments that catch my heart and send it flying. They’re the moments remind me of what matters most in life.
And that is what romance means to me, why I write it, and why I love it!
Tanya W. Newman was born and raised in the upstate of South Carolina, where she discovered her love of writing and storytelling, a love that led to a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of South Carolina Upstate, and a Master of Arts in English from Clemson University.
Now married to her wonderful husband, Mark, for twelve years, Newman still resides in the upstate of South Carolina, where she sets many of her stories. When not writing or reading, she enjoys coffee, movies (usually an action/adventure with a love story added in), long jogs, and spending time with her adorable son and daughter.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tanya-W.-Newman/e/B01E1LG26E/
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, Tanya, 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 author Cleo Scornavacca visits us on June 13th! Yay! 🙂
We may have other posts before then, though.
Have a great weekend, everyone!