Recently, I talked with Indian-American romance novel author Suleikha Snyder about her work writing romance tales starring people of color. “Don't people like me deserve a happy ending, too?” she said. This same question should be asked for people across the spectrum of sexuality, especially in the romance where the plot is often built around relationships leading to either tragecy or happy endings.
There are lots of romance novels featuring LGBTQ characters, but readers likely have to seek them out. Last week, I interviewed two editors at specialty romance presses about the queer-centric titles they publish.
If you are standing in line at the grocery store, you may find yourself face to face with the covers of popular romance novels. Odds are, the characters on the covers of those grocery-store books and the authors who penned them are all white.
But if you take the time to look more deeply and more expansively in the romance genre, you will quickly discover a whole of literature from authors of color and novels starring characters of color.
When I was 12, I was in an abstinence-only sex-ed program where I learned that I should only have sex with someone to whom I was married. Then, in high school, some of my friends and I decided that premarital sex might be okay as long as it was with someone we were really, really in love with.
Now, most of my friends have decided to simply have sex with whomever they choose. But I haven't.
But when Linklater finally dishes up that picture perfect conclusion in his new follow-up film Before Midnight, the result a refreshing counter-point to Hollywood's typical happily ever after stories. Instead, America's ultimate romance dives into the realistic, practical tensions of middle age and marriage.
I've never read a single books published by romance giant Harlequin and so I carried Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules to the library checkout counter with some trepidation. Would this be a romance novel with a veneer of vampire smeared on top?
I agree that apocalyptic imagery has figured prominently in the public imagination in 2011 in part as a result of the anxieties of this moment in time. Nowhere has this been more evident than in songs about love, in which said love is either a distraction from or metaphor for the end times. First, let's take a look at Aussie singer, Lenka's "At the End of the World (lyrics here):
The debut album from WILD FLAG (say it with me in a Bill and Ted "Wyld Stallyns!" shout-y voice) drops this month! Finally! Until we get Wild Flag in our hot little hands on September 13, let's stream it at NPR First Listen and take a look at the oh-so-fun video for the first track, "Romance."
Romance novels: generally not the sort of thing we might discuss as a vehicle for feminist literary icons. Many are the faces I have pulled at the quality of some of the novels supposedly aimed at me. I think, however, that writing romance novels off entirely is leaving a lot outside in the cold. Romance is, after all, the most popular literary genre in all the world. More than that, it's a genre dominated by women writers and readers, and you've got to put down some of the contempt for romance to misogyny. Accusations of silliness and inconsequentiality are, of course, some of the most insidious tools in the patriarchy's toolbox. Let's share some love for the love story, shall we?