Because I’m a romance writer, you can probably guess my answer to the question, “Do romance novels have value?” Of course I believe they do! I suppose if I were strictly mercenary I’d still say something to the effect of, “Well, duh. It’s a multibillion dollar business that outsells all other genres.”
But my feelings go much deeper than that. You see, I get fan emails saying things like, “Your sense of humor got me through a difficult time.” Or, “I know I can count on your books for an uplifting ending. I need that right now.” Even my own story begins with a similar experience.
I was raised by intellectuals. I had never read a romance novel, yet I was taught to think of them as “trash” and far beneath anyone with a brain. That’s the very definition of prejudice. I prejudged a whole industry without investigation.
Then my life took a challenging turn. My parents became terminally ill at the same time. As an RN, I was able to take care of them so they could remain at home as long as possible. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever taken on. Fortunately, another nurse handed me a book and just said, “Here. Read this.” I’m glad I didn’t know it was a romance novel, or I would have politely refused it.
Before I forget to say this, thank you, Diana Gabaldon, for writing Outlander, and thank you, Pat Rugg, for loaning it to me. That book was my guilty pleasure. When my parents were sleeping or had visitors, my nose was in that book. It was a welcome distraction from the harsh reality of taking care of the people who had taken care of me—and sometimes in the same way. Feeding them, helping them to the toilet, making sure they got their medication and every other issue that needed to be dealt with. Watching the two people who had been my lifelong stalwart supporters crumble and die was emotionally devastating.
Yes, a romance novel got me through it. The interesting thing is that I didn’t realize I was reading a romance novel until I was well into the sequel! It was extremely well written with complex characters and a situation that required inner strength to overcome. I was transported to another world. What a gift!
My parents were my last patients. I had to take some time for myself and went to work in a garden center, breathing in the fresh air while watching green things grow. It was a nice antidote…and so was writing.
I wanted to pay it forward, and I thought I could begin to do that by writing what I now loved to read. I must say that my first novel was pretty bad, but it still had value as a learning experience. I had to learn how to write—to walk before I ran—and I learned from experienced authors.
We know that what we write isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. But for those who need a little love and hope in their world we romance writers try to offer something toward that end. I love what I do. Writing romance helps me to express my creativity in a way that nursing never could. Writing has been as good for me as I hope my books have been for others.
So, yes, naysayers… Romance novels have value. A lot of value if you count the many authors like myself who receive thankful emails every day. It’s okay not to like romance. It’s not okay to prejudge and condemn the genre as having no value.
For those who still think of romance novels as “Bodice rippers” or “Damsels in distress”, think again! Our heroines are tough, smart, and sexy—equal to their heroes.
In More than a Phoenix I had two brothers who were best friends, roommates, and worked in adjacent fire houses—meaning they oftentimes backed each other up. As close as these brothers were, their paths to romance were worlds apart.
Unless you’re one of the millions of readers who already love the genre, I hope you’ll take a chance on romance. The only rule is, a romance must have an uplifting ending. Who can’t use one of those?
What do you get when you take
Two phoenix shifter brothers
Throw in one powerful witch
And one…monkey shifter?
Mallory Summers is losing it. She’s discovered she can talk to dead
people—and she might be able to shift to monkey form. Firefighter
Dante Fierro knows the quirky beauty isn’t crazy—just supernatural.
But what would she think if she knew his secret?
Hothead Noah Fierro has his own sparks flying with gorgeous ER
doctor Kizzy Samuels. While the attraction is mutual, so are the
supernatural secrets. With this much sizzle going on, how do you not
Fighting fires is easy… Finding love is the hard part.
Phoenix Brothers series:
Hooked on a Phoenix (Book 1)
More Than a Phoenix (Book 2)
About Ashlyn Chase
Where there’s fire, there’s Ash
Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a satisfying,entertaining experience.
She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the American Red Cross. She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity. She is a multi-published, award-winning author of humorous erotic and mainstream romances.
She lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband who looks like Hugh Jackman with a salt and pepper dye job, and they’re owned by a spoiled brat cat.