I always describe myself as a writer of love stories rather than as a romance writer. One of my reasons is an obvious one—romance is not highly thought of in the writing community beyond its own genre, and I firmly believe that my books are serious literature and not to be sneered at as trash. More important, though, I believe that love is far more powerful than romance and that we can sell ourselves short as writers if we are content to write romances at the expense of telling true love stories. A great deal, of course, depends upon how those two words are defined. Here are my definitions.
Romance is that wonderful aura that surrounds a couple as they meet (even if they initially feel hostility to each other) and interact and fall in love and finally commit their lives to each other. It’s the growing sense of rightness about the relationship, and the sense of joy we get out of reading about the building attraction they feel for each other on their journey to the happy ending. It’s a powerful reason for reading any book, and when it’s well done it can pull us in and leave us thoroughly satisfied at the end and sighing for more. It can be pure magic. It is certainly an essential component of a love story, and a great deal of effort must be spent upon creating it. It’s not easy, by the way.