Sunday, May 1, 2011
The Morning After
A few writers and readers will quibble over the "together" part. Is it possible, for example, to kill off the hero in a noble sacrifice at the end of the book (especially if he's already knocked up the heroine a la COLD MOUNTAIN)? Some say yes, but most (including many of those hero-killing authors) will assert that this choice puts the book outside the boundaries of "romance."
We romance readers want to believe that after the party's over, the love continues unabated and problem-free. We read series and related novels not just because we want a new romance, but we want reassurance that all is still well among the titans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Heaven, Texas. We want to see babies and new homes and flourishing businesses and convivial gatherings that further reward our favorite heroes and heroines for the hardships they endured in their own books.
Duke William and Duchess Kate fed into our fantasies this week. Romance writers around the globe saved the PDF of their wedding program into our research files. We scribbled notes as we watched the parade of hats before dawn. These two living, breathing kids (I know, I know. But I'm a hella lot older than they, and I watched him grow up. No matter how much hair he loses, he'll always be a boy to me) have the weight of managing their own HEA both in real life and as fictional characters.
Yup. Wills and Kate are fictional characters. They're cultural constructs and national symbols. They're never to be constipated, never to be dishonorable, never to fail each other and, more importantly, never to fail us.
Otherwise, they'll find themselves facing the Wrath of the Romance Author. Since the 1990s, thousands of books have been written in which Camilla did NOT get her man. Diana has survived and morphed into someone stronger, wiser and able to catch a bullet in her teeth. The handsome prince has been shown to be a hollow shell, and new heroes have arisen with fangs and claws and powers that mere mortal royals simply can't compete with.
Poor Kate and William. We're rooting for you. Honestly we are. We want to see regal dignity, genuine warmth, eternal fidelity and all of the rewards we promise the characters we create.
But we write modern romances now. The obstacles of your parents' generation (and ours) can be overcome by technology, prayer, good sex, marriage counseling and drinking blood. You have no excuses for hurting each other from this day forward. If you do, writers around the globe will pull out our styluses and give you what you deserve.
And...being optimists, we'll pin our hopes yet again on the next generation.
Her husband gave Keri her first romance novel to read, which unleashed a passion. Several years and a couple thousand novels later, Keri took up her laptop and began writing her own books.
By day, she is a mild-mannered yoga and Oriental dance instructor. By night she creates mayhem and magic in small-town paranormal romance novels like her award-winning debut, Stone Kissed, coming soon from Carina Press.
To find Keri online, please follow @KeriStevens on twitter, fan Keri Stevens on facebook or visit her at www.keristevens.com.