This was my inspiration. I've been reading Romance Novels since my teens. I will admit freely that I was a teen in the '70's and so was fortunate enough to experience the literary change that occurred in the publishing world regarding Romance literature. I will also admit that I didn't care for the Romance Novels on the market before Kathleen E. Woodiwiss came on the scene. I found them corny, mushy, rather cheesey, and extremely formulaic ... yes, I said it ... formulaic! Those adorable skinny little books featuring a story where boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy rescues girl from some bad man, girl kisses boy and boy sweeps her into his arms and rushes off to the justice of the peace. BORING! I wanted swashbuckling-type heroes and heroines that actually had a brain.
It takes imaginative, innovative, rule breaking, researching, talented writers like Maya Rodale and many others to shake things up and keep the readers happy. According to the Romance Writers of America statistics for 2010, $1.358 billion - that's BILLION dollars - worth of Romance Novels were sold as compared to ... oh, let's take ... mystery novels, which there were $682 million worth of those sold in the same year. Really now, could that many readers be wrong about a literary genre? The RWA states the author “is the key factor in both driving consumers to buy a book as well as making consumers aware of a particular book.” This is especially true of romance authors, as 50 percent of romance buyers stated the author was the reason for the book purchase.
So after reading Maya Rodale's response to this insensitive, inslementing (if I may borrow that word) question posed to her - DO YOU READ ROMANCE NOVELS? - I decided to express my own opinions on the insults, prejudice, and downright insensitivity that many people, both men and women, especially so-called literary critics have toward Romance Novels, their authors and most importantly, their readers. I also hoped to educate and introduce the genre to those who think they are above it and convert a few folks in the process. I've never been ashamed of reading Romance Novels and have never hesitated to pull one out of my over-sized purse and start reading in any public place including sitting in the waiting room at my husband's employ which happens to be a highly male-oriented service department for a major car dealership. No one says a word and if they d0 ... well, I'm not one to mince words as I suspect my dear muse, Maya Rodale, is not either.
As Maya puts it, she's "a romance writing, guitar playing, home cooking, book loving, city dwelling, country living, dog walking and back-talking kind of gal." I like that!
She's published four delightfully Romantic Regencies and her fifth, THE TATTOOED DUKE, is scheduled for release in March 2012. (GORGEOUS COVER) She also co-wrote a book with her mother, Maria, but since it's a non-fiction and more about women's self-pleasuring by means other than reading, I'm not going to discuss it here because I try to keep a PG rating but if you're interested you can find the title at the end of this post.
I just recently read A GROOM OF ONE'S OWN which is the first in her Writing Girl Series and found myself identifying with it in so many ways. First of all, I loved the idea of a woman in Regency England working at all but to be working in a male dominated establishment like a newspaper, well ... how about that for rule breaking?! As I read the first few chapters, I began to feel like I had visited this story before but couldn't place it - but when Sophie first meets the groom-to-be and discovers him to be the same handsome man who saved her in the street, a light bulb went off over my head. It reminded me of the movie, THE WEDDING PLANNER which if you haven't seen it, please watch it some time if for no other reason than it's got Matthew McConaughey in it.
Trailer for THE WEDDING PLANNER starring Jennifer Lopez & Matthew McConaughey