Words & More Words

This Romance Writer’s Life…

Monthly Blog: What about Love?

Romance is big business.

It's the best selling genre in the world, don't ya know.


If you didn't know that, I highly suggest watching the documentary "Love Between the Covers" even if you are not a romance reader or writer. It's on Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.

Books can be powerful, especially love stories.

You'd have to go about as far back as 1740 for its origin. The novel "Pamela" aka "Virtue Rewarded" was one of the first love stories told from the heroine's point of view. It also had a happy ending which was rare for the times.

Then, in the 30's, Brit publishers Mills & Boon released hardback romances called "the books in brown" due to their brown binding. In 1957 Harlequin began distributing Mills & Boon's category romances, eventually buying Mills & Boon in 1971.

Modern day romance novels in the US were born in 1972 with Kathleen Woodiwiss's "The Flame and the Flower." A story of an orphan who kills a man trying to rape her, who is then raped by the captain of the ship she's taken aboard. He attempts to rape her a second time but stops when she protests and she is able to flee. Only to head into the circle of jealous ex lover's of the captain. There's more raping going on but at some point the hero who was the ship's captain (really? The rapist is the hero???) and the heroine (poor girl must be exhausted) fall in love...okay, maybe Stockholm Syndrome was a thing back then. 

Anyway, this prompted a new style of romance where the hero rescued the heroine after putting her in danger. Known as "Bodice Rippers" as the covers depicted scantily-clad women being grabbed by their buff hero. I find these stories a bit over the top but I think the book covers are hilariously fun.

Over the years, movies such as Love Story, Titanic, The Notebook, Say Anything, Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally, Brokeback Mountain and others, have risen to the top of romance lovers favorites list.

However, love is usually the outcome to the bigger picture. Two people meet and their falling in love is not always a direct or easy road. 

Take, for example, my main characters in "Tame My Racing Heart." Sami and Gray are forced back together after a decade. She hates the way he ended their relationship but her attraction to Gray is hard to deny. Gray has his own demons, and as he struggles to keep things professional, he can't dismiss how he feels about her. They have a shot at second chance love, but will the past and their stubbornness get in the way of their happily ever after? 

Another example, is my favorite movie of all time. "Xanadu" is the story of Sonny, a struggling artist, sick of his day to day job of recreating album cover artwork (oh, how I'd love that kind of artwork hanging in my house). He meets Kira, a carefree spirit who just so happens to be a Greek muse sent to earth to inspire men like him to create something extraordinary. Through many musical numbers, they fall in love. Alas, Kira must return home and they are both devastated. Sonny decides to fight for her when he crashes through a brick wall into her dimension to beg Zeus to release her to him...because he loves her. He is told no and is banished back to earth. It's a bittersweet celebration when he opens his new club (with rollerskating!), but at the end, Kira is returned to him.

"A million lights are dancing and there you are, a shooting star. An everlasting world and you're here with me, eternally. Xanadu."

Okay, so the movie is a bit cheesy, and the songs, although chart-topping and even Grammy award winning, were equally cheesy, the movie always fills my heart with joy.

As does another, more alternative love story called "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."

I'm not going to go into details.

Just watch it.

It's about love.


Kelly DuffComment