Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Gail Barrett | Advantage, Women
Romance / May 7, 2008

When the man sitting in the front row raised his hand, I was curious about what he would ask. There weren’t many men in the audience, mostly women who’d come into the bookstore to hear four local romance authors discuss their craft. And this fellow had arrived early. He’d parked himself belligerently in the front row, right in the middle, as if daring us to ignore him. And he’d been eyeing us ever since — rubbing his jaw, biding his time — like a predator waiting to strike. And strike he did. Why did women read romance novels, he demanded. Was it because we were frustrated? Were we trying to escape reality? Was there something wrong with our (sex) lives? I thought we did an admirable job of answering him. No one got excited. No one lost her temper. We took his questions seriously, answered rationally, compared reading novels to other forms of entertainment, including sports. We talked about fiction in general, romance novels in particular, told him why love stories touch our lives. Was he convinced? Doubtful, although he stayed until the end and bought a book. Who knows if he actually read it, though. Maybe he did —…