My name is LaQuette and I am a romance author. First, I’d like to thank Apryl for allowing me the opportunity to visit with you all today. Usually when I tell people that I am an author and that I have published a few books they get this really excited look of astonishment and wonder in their eyes. Next, with the same level of enthusiasm, they ask me what genre I write. Whenever I’m asked this I proudly answer, “Romance,” with a huge, toothy grin. The response to this statement is almost always the same (unless I’m speaking with someone who is a reader of romance literature). Their brows crease in question and their smiles transform in to a nose-lifting scowl—as if they’ve just encountered something that smells putrid—while they ask, “Why romance?”
Romance literature is often considered the bastard child of literary work. It is the dirty little secret that many who consider themselves connoisseurs of quality literature do not wish to acknowledge. In essence, romance literature has been cloaked in the same negative connotation as pornographic film. Many critics suggest that romance/erotic literature is crass and superficial, adding no benefit to the intellectual wealth of the reader.
Authors of such literature are often considered talentless in this genre; they choose to write romance because they have no ability to write anything else. My response to this is, has, and always will be, “You can kiss me where the sun doesn’t shine.”
After working as a healthcare professional for many years, I went back to school to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in creative writing. My goal was to learn how to improve my descriptive writing skills. Why? That’s simple, because I wanted to be a better, more skilled writer. I chose romance. I chose it because it engaged my brain while reading; it sparked ideas about how I would fashion a story of my own. I chose it because it’s enjoyable to read and it often addresses the slight subtleties that rest between loving and hating someone. It is not easy to craft a story that colorfully lays bare the ups and downs of complicated human interaction while maintaining reader interest. This takes skill, this takes imagination, this takes research, and it also takes unbelievable passion. For those of you who dismiss the merits of romantic fiction, please inform me who made you the god of literature that you may deign that only canonical literature is quality writing and only its creators should be praised? If romance/erotic fiction is so horrible, then why is it one of the highest grossing forms of literature there is? In order for this to be true, someone has to be reading it.
I proudly announce my love for romantic fiction. It provides me an escape from my everyday life. It keeps my creative juices flowing, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when the characters I’m reading or writing about get their happily-ever-after or more likely, their happy-for-now.
Romance suffers from a bad reputation because someone decided that it is inconsequential and therefore doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of all things literature. Not all romance is saccharine fluff. Many of us who take this genre seriously work so hard to make our work believable and engaging. To do that we pepper it with pieces of real life so that our readers may connect with the characters and situations we develop inside of our stories.
For instance, My Queens of Kings series falls into the interracial erotic romantic suspense category. It is about a tough female cop, Heart MacKenzie, who spends so much time dedicating herself to the job she loves and the community she serves that she’s left no room for the brilliance of love’s light to shine in her life. Well, until she meets her match in Kenneth Searlington, then she slowly but surely recognizes what she’s been missing. If that ain’t real life, then I don’t know what is, because I know way too many people who have relegated romance and companionship into the “not necessary” category of their lives. However, the truth is as human beings we need companionship to thrive, and to live, and to not merely exist.
My final thought is this, if you can’t appreciate romance fiction or if it’s not your cup of tea, just put it down and move on. Don’t criticize it without understanding what it takes to create and comprehend this type of literary work. Don’t discount its impact on the intellectual stores of its creators and consumers. Ultimately, don’t attempt to dismiss its credibility as actual literature.
Take a peek at an excerpt from my latest release, Divided Heart: Queens of Kings Book 2 in order to see why I love romance fiction so much.