Blog hopping with fabulous Authors. That’s what we do here on Romance Weekly. If you’ve just come from Collette Cameron’s site, (author of The Earl’s Enticement) welcome. If you’ve popped in from fb or Twitter, welcome, welcome. This week’s questions are from Victoria Barbour, author of The Heart’s Ease series, set in breathtaking Newfoundland.
Have you always written Romance?
No. I started writing when I was 11. So, sci fi, adventures for girls, mysteries. In my twenties, I was a journalist. Strictly the facts ma’am. Although I was an avid reader of Romance (and multiple other genres) I didn’t really understand Romance until my thirties. Had to build up enough life experience and sort out my own peccadilloes, I suppose. By then I grasped that Romance was more than a story about falling in love—‘cause falling in love may happen a few times in life. But it’s about how two people fall in love and problem solve together, how each inspires good in the other and how they discover not that one can’t live without the other, but that ‘my life is better with you in it than without you.”
How do you deal with critiques about the romance genre?
Chuckle, chuckle. I have a number of academic family members and many friends infused with cynicism borne of a life in media, so critiques abound. I refer some to a favorite Jayne Ann Krentz tome of mine, “Dangerous Men & Adventurous Women,” which features interviews and essays from writers of the genre on how Romance is the inversion of the power structure of a patriarchal society and how it celebrates the courage, strength, gentleness, and intelligence of women and the joyous integration of both sexes. That often shuts them up. I might also add, ‘Romance novels were borne of the suffragette and women’s movement in the 19th century and celebrate one of equal right’s first freedoms: the ability to marry for love.’ Other tidbits I’ve been known to say in defence of my chosen medium: ‘No other genre consistently casts women in the main role’. ‘Romance novels feature one of the things women are fascinated with: relationship.’ ‘It’s the only genre where a woman literally brings a man to his knees.’
What’s the one thing about our genre you’d like people to know?
As you may be able to guess, I’m pretty good with justifying and promoting Romance when comparisons are made to other genres. To those who argue ‘Oh, but it’s so formulaic,’ I’d counter, “No more than mystery: someone dies, someone figures out who did it.” Boom. Romance novels are popular entertainment. And should be treated and admired as such. You could compare them to television series, films or popular music. Spectator sports, for that matter. (Btw: How many of us pull out a romance novel while significant other is engrossed in a game on TV?) Some romances delve into serious themes, like the TV series Heartland, some are on the lighter side, like The Big Bang Theory. They are not and never will be literature, in the same way foreign film festivals are apples to Hollywood’s oranges. To answer the question: Romance novels are valuable popular entertainment.