“Romance is fiction.”
That was the laughing reaction to my mother’s proud announcement of ‘My daughter writes romantic fiction.’ Amused by her friend’s repartee, my mom related it to me later that day and had me wondering. Was that the general consensus? Did romance not exist outside of books and movies?
The usual reaction I get when I tell someone I write romantic novels is “Awww. Are they inspired by Warren?” For the uninitiated, Warren is my husband. If I went strictly by stereotypes, my answer would have to be a resounding no. Heroes of romantic novels tend to shower their women with exotic flowers, buy expensive, insanely thoughtful surprise birthday presents and plan elaborate, romantic dates that even the best event management companies might have trouble pulling off.
The last time my husband bought me flowers? To apologize for forgetting our wedding anniversary. Our first wedding anniversary, I kid you not! For my birthday? He trails me through shopping malls as I cut a swathe through my favourite stores with his card. I ignore the long-suffering sighs that accompany the trailing. Our last date? If I remember correctly, it was also our first and only one. Karaoke night at a popular pub. I ended up in hospital with a bad chest wheeze from the suffocating cloud of cigarette smoke that provided atmosphere to our date that night.
Having said that, here are a few other points to note. Unlike me, he isn’t and has never been an aficionado of Bollywood, either movies or music. I can’t remember the last time I picked up my Ipod and haven’t found all the latest Bollywood songs loaded on it. Carefully researched to include all my favourites.
He’ll come to watch every Hindi movie I want to watch. He may plug in his earphones and stay glued to his phone through all three hours of it but he’s there. An almost catatonic presence.
I’m a champion fainter for various reasons I’d rather not go into. Those regency romance heroines have got nothing on me when it comes to swooning. He may not carry me masterfully to bed to recover but he’s stayed up all night watching me sleep to make sure I don’t pull a repeat performance.
Would I like to be surprised with glamorous bunches of flowers, exotic holidays and a gift of a villa in Spain on my birthday? Of course. Show me one woman who wouldn’t. Would I trade what I have for it? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. Which begs the answer to the question, is romance fiction? Maybe or maybe just the perception of it is.
“Romance is fiction.”