Authors Chat: The Myths And Misconceptions About The Romance Genre

Paranormal romance author Alexandra Ivy, who also writes Regency romances as Deborah Raleigh, has a bone to pick with readers who diss the genre without giving it a chance. Today the author is proudly, in her own words,  “Addressing Myths & Misperceptions of the Romance Genre.” Want to hear what more authors think about the issue? Be sure to check out the video below that features a few of our favorite authors, such as Kathy Love, Susan Lyons, Kaitlin O'Riley and more, chatting about the topic at Kensington's RWA party.

Who hasn’t heard the familiar clichés? The heaving bosoms, the throbbing loins, the wistful sighs. For some reason romance books have always been an easy target. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re so popular among the masses, or simply because they’re primarily read by women, but those who dismiss the genre as those sort of books—that are read by hysterical women—are flat out of touch.

Romance novels are not only one of the top selling genres, they’re written and read by highly intelligent and successful women (and more than a few men). More importantly, they celebrate female empowerment—a shocking thought to those who have accepted the myths that the women in romance novels are passive doormats who meekly wait for some hero to charge in to save the day. There’s nothing submissive about women. These days the stories are just as likely to include a female who can not only overcome obstacles and achieve her goals, but can save one or two universes along the way.

Another myth is that all romances are repetitive storylines with cardboard characters that must fit into a set number of pages.

Today there are as many different types of stories as there are readers. From urban fantasy to romantic suspense to Inspirational, the choices have never been so varied, nor have the heroines ever been so fascinatingly complex. They aren’t all beautiful perfectly mannered and, heaven-forbid, they’re not all innocent. Gasp, gasp. They are women who battle to better their lives and the lives around them, and while they might find a partner to share their world, it’s as much about their own growth as it is about the search for love.

I hope those who dismiss romance as shallow trite will actually take the time to pick up a book and read it. I know they will discover exactly why the stories not only survived since the age of chivalry, but why they thrive, no matter how culture might change.

- Alexandra Ivy