Thanks, Fresh Fiction, for inviting me to blog here today!
It’s no accident Romance is such a popular genre. As a species, Homo Sapiens care deeply about relationships. Our survival depends upon forming them. No one should be surprised, therefore (are you listening ET?) that our stories are so often about relationships. Likewise, the popularity of the various sub-genres can tell us a great deal about what concerns us today, even when, and I would argue, especially when, the stories are not “realistic.” Vampires and shapeshifters don’t exist, after all, and 1815 was so long ago, isn’t it irrelevant by now?
Shakespeare set a great many of his stories in his historical past, foreign countries or fanciful realms because the displacement of location and time allowed him to comment on present day issues that wouldn’t otherwise have made it past the censors and might even have gotten him in thrown in jail. Modern stories set in the past serve a similar function; they allow commentary about our lives today, whether the result is something along the lines of Thank goodness we have antibiotics! or a reflection, however brief, that perhaps having a day job isn’t so bad. At one time, there were whole classes of people who needed income yet were forbidden many of the means by which one could obtain one. In fact, fifty-one percent of the population falls into this category.