By Danica Winters, author of The Nymph’s Labyrinth
Pink feather boas, men with hairless and sweaty chests, and damsels in distress…the stereotype of every romance novel and every romance author’s reoccurring nightmare.
I must admit, I do have these nightmares.
Even with stereotype that I wear a pink boa, I’m proud to be a romance author. In some areas of the world, what I create would get me killed. Yes, the words that spring from my fingers and spill upon the paper would be enough to have me executed. The thought that ideas and creations would be so inflammatory that authors would have to fear for their lives, is far more frightening than pink feather boas and sweaty chests.
I’m proud to live in a world where I am free to create, to write, to be uncensored to the point I can write fiction that mimics reality in the way it twists, turns, and doesn’t always end the way we had assumed it would. Yet, even in the land of free will and free speech, I find that we as romance author’s seem to face a different enemy, not that of censorship, but of misunderstanding.
I recently gave an interview to a local news reporter who kept asking: “So, you write porn?” Over and over, to the point I almost walked away.
I don’t write porn. I write paranormal romance. I write wonderful stories that mimic life—every moment of it. There are beautiful moments that draw everyone to tears and there are moments filled with anger so intense that we want to jump into the pages of the book and take care of the antagonist ourselves. Within the pages, I do write love scenes, but they are as I said “love” scenes. They are not moments that the characters come at each other like jackals looking for a mate—the scenes are wrought with emotion and sincerity. The scenes mimics reality in its open emotion—a sparse moment in life where connections are intensified, it’s a moment when (we hope) no lies are told, no victims are taken. It’s romance. It’s love.
I have the unique opportunity to write romance that beats with the pulse of our culture. Only a few decades ago, women could never have saved themselves in a romance. Women stood idly by as the men overtook the antagonist or the evil that they faced. This is changing. Female characters are no longer subjects to be rescued. Strong women are being reflected in romance—we can save ourselves. We can step up to the plate and take down our enemies, whether they are emotional or physical.
Yes, there are still the pink boas and sweaty, hairless chests…there will always be some of the romance that is stereotypical of the genre. However, like so many other romance authors, I’m thrilled to reflect a true woman—strong, confident, and secretly open to love—and a woman who will never wear a pink boa.
Do you think the stereotype of romance novel authors wearing pink boas and writing “porn” is getting better? Worse? Stayed the same? Discuss in the comments!