Hopefully Romantic

brownies.jpgThere are several questions authors are asked regularly, so we either give the same old answer or we’re constantly on the lookout for a new and interesting reply.  Like this question for example: Where do you get your ideas? 

Trust me, there isn’t a writer who isn’t rolling her internal eyeballs and groaning at this question. Well, I get my ideas from brownies.  Did you bring any? 

When are you going to write a real book? 

Excuse me?  When they stop paying me so well to write these fake ones. 

No, I mean why do you write romance? 

Big question.  No quick answer.  I write romance for the same reason I’ve read romance for so many years.  For the same reason that first one awakened something inside me to the vast possibilities and challenging scenarios in this genre.  I love romances.  I love losing myself in the emotional adventures of two diverse characters, destined to be together. 

romance.jpgI guess I want to believe that there’s somebody for everyone, and that under just the right circumstances and with a bit of that magic we call romance, happily-ever-afters are within our reach. 

Before you scoff and call me a Pollyanna, I assure you I’m enough in tune with reality to lock my doors and warn my children of strangers.  I watch the news and I see the state of our world.  But what do we have if we don’t have hope? 

Romance is all about hope. 

Several years ago I received the most memorable letter I’ve ever received from a reader.  She told me how much she’d enjoyed my book, how she identified with the characters and how she’d cried for the heroine.  Like the character in my story, she’d been stalked and beaten by someone who should have loved her.  Unlike my character however, the reader has permanent nerve damage to her arm.  Her story touched me so deeply that I wept. 

elegant_couple_dancing.jpgThis dear person’s true life story forced me to consider what I was doing. I sat at my desk thinking how shallow my work is.  I mean, I make all this stuff up!  I order peoples’ lives about and manipulate them to suit my plots — but it’s all fiction. While I sit in my comfortable climate controlled office with every possible convenience at my fingertips, sipping cup after cup of coffee and tea and munching M&Ms, out there in the world are people experiencing devastating hurts and losses and traumas. 

In that light, what I do seems so inconsequential.

That thinking lasted about, oh, ten minutes.  And then it came to me — I realized why this young reader had been touched so profoundly by my story.  She said she hoped that some day she would meet a man like my hero, a man who would love her that same way.  She had hope. 

Romance is about hope. 

We invest our time in the characters in these stories because we know that no matter what dilemmas befall them, no matter what obstacles they face or which conflicts arise, in the end love will conquer all; good will win over evil; and a happily-ever-after will prevail. Each of us hopes there is a special someone out there, a special man or woman who will love us unconditionally and fill that place created in our heart just for them.  Romance brings our hopes to life. 

umbrellacouple.JPGThrough these stories of love and commitment, we experience the fulfillment of the human dream. What better reason do we need to love romance than a desire to be swept away between the pages of a book filled with excitement and expectation? I write romance because I want to share the same sweeping emotions with my readers that have been shared with me by my favorite writers.  I want to feel.  I want to experience the excitement of falling in love over and over, of facing my fears and winning over seemingly impossible odds. 

I write romance because I believe in it.

Why do you read it?  

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Land of Dreams for Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/awe75qd
Colorado Courtship (Winter of Dreams) Anthology LIH 1/13
Visit me on the web: http://www.cherylstjohn.net/
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31 thoughts on “Hopefully Romantic”

  1. Wow, you just described perfectly the reason I read. I could not express this any better. Just re-read your last paragraph that better much explains it all for me.

  2. I read and write it for the same reasons(silly lil’ ol’ me sitting here with tears running down my face this early in the morning.)

    I love reading romance because I’ve always been a hope”less” romantic, but as you so eloquently put it, I’m truly more of a hopeFUL romantic. I love a happy ending, I love when I find heroines I can indentify with. Even if it’s just one simple trait that reminds me of me at some point in my life.

    Even when I was at my lowest, I still had that strand of hope that I would find someone to share the rest of my life with. Reading romance brings me back to that place where I can feel that again, knowing that the hero and heroine will get their happily ever after, even when it seems the odds are all against them.

  3. I believe! yep that’s why I read romance. Why I write romance. Why I cry at romance…Taryn, I was able to fight back my tears this morning–for once!

    I believe! I’m a full of hope romantic, too.

    I believe! that if we each believe, there is a happy ever after for all of us.

  4. I agree with you all LOL! I write/read because I BELIEVE in HEA and that there is someone for EVERYONE…and the only reason I’m able to sniffle back tears is because I’m at work right now. 🙂

    PamT

  5. Bravo Cheryl! I don’t write obviously, but I love to read romance for exactly the reason you state. It gives me hope in this messed up world. Yes, I have been lucky enough to find my Prince Charming of 30 years but I also believe that there is someone for everyone.

  6. What a nice and heartbreaking story about someone touched by your novel.
    I’ve had some really wonderful letters like that, but nothing quite so beautiful.
    I get that ‘where to you get your ideas’ question a lot and I’ve sort of ‘written’ mentally, you know, a couple of standard answers.
    One for Petticoat Ranch, it’s true what I say but I’ve thought it through enough that I can tell it pretty well.
    Telling the true, first gleaming gem of an idea, that I was inspired by a Dirty Harry movie just doesn’t make sense to people. And since that was just this little tickle of an idea that went completely off on it’s own, it shouldn’t make sense, right?
    If any of you have read Petticoat Ranch, honest now, the first thing that comes to your mind is Dirty Harry, right????????

  7. I agree with you Cheryl! If I want to see or read something depressing, I’ll read the news. When I want to be entertained I read a good romance (like one of yours)! Thank you for bringing us hours of deep and uplifting reading.

    Chris Carter

  8. Hey Cheryl,
    I’m particularly touched by your topic and the feelings brought by the person who responded to you about your story. There is nothing quite as exciting to me as positive feedback for doing something you love. Hopefully, after my next two releases come out, I might get to experience that feeling again. It’s been a long dry spell. But I continue to write, not only because I believe in romance, but because I can create it, revel in it, and decide how it’s going to turn out. I write when I’m sad, because I can escape that feeling and create happier ones through my characters. It’s a rush. Writing is my drug of choice, and reading your work gets me almost as high. *lol*

    Hugz
    Ginger

  9. Thanks, Sherry. I am indeed a “hopeful” romantic.

    Taryn, you are tender-hearted. I didn’t intend to make you cry this morning. I hope it was the “hurts so good” kind of weeping.

    *lizzie, I read your post early (from my email before I had a chance to come to the site and reply), and as I was driving back from shcool drop off, I was thinking about your “I believe” statements, and the song, “Do you believe in magic?” started running through my head. I fear it’s lodged there for the day.

  10. Wouldn’t do to sob at work, now, would it, Pam? LOL I didn’t know I’d written such an emotional blog until you guys all started talking about crying!

    It was that letter from the reader, wasn’t it? That letter was a reply to Saint or Sinner, in which the heroine’s father is the villain. My reader friend was severely beaten by her step-father. I’ve thought of her so often over the years, but have never heard from her again.

    I hope she found a hero just like Joshua Mc Bride.

    Betsy, you are a blessed lady to have found your prince charming!

    Why yes, Mary, I definitely thought of Dirty Harry as I read your story. LOL NOT.

  11. Hey, Chris, you’re wlcome!

    Ginger, in my experience, this business is either feast or famine! Either I have no contracts for a year — or FOUR!

    Some writers are crippled by traumas in their lives, others write through them as therapy. I don’t think we can write deep, complex emotions unless we’ve experienced them. Which means we really aren’t getting older as writers, we’re getting better!

  12. Yes Cheryl that is why we love romance and you wrote about it to the T today. It was very touching what you wrote about the reader. I hope she did find a hero because in this world you really do need someone like that to be by your side. I have one of those that I have been with him since I was 11 and married at 17 and I would not have made it this far in life if it wasn’t for him. I had a very terrible childhood and so I like to lose myself in all the good books.

  13. Perfectly said, Cheryl! That’s exactly why I write and read romance. I’m so much more interested in the beauty of relationships, the struggle and the ultimate love that overcomes all obstacles than the angst. Don’t get me wrong. I love angst in a romance but whenever I try to read literary fiction it makes me feel sad. But romances–ah, romances make me feel hopeful and alive!

  14. I love a happy ending. I’m with Chris, if I want to read something sad, I’ll turn on the news. Romance novels are for hope and happiness.

  15. Hi Cheryl, you said it Right/WRITE ON, women!!

    I concur with Sherry & Chris C!!!!

    LOVE Taryn’s hopeFUL romanantic, one simple trait and ditto rest of comment.

    TOTALLY AGREE with Ginger on “drug of choice” (although chocolate, black licorice, popcorn are top treats of choice/not truely qualify as food.)

    Mary, THANKS for the honesty! What a HOOT! LOL Appreciate *lizzie’s sharing as well as ALL.

    Glad I could join you midday for a change (Dr appt this PM.) Cher, we have your “snowglobe” snow now.

  16. Bravo, Cheryl! Loved your post and depth of emotion you instilled with your words. Never, ever doubt for a second that you don’t have what it takes to wring emotion from readers. I’m halfway through with “The Preacher’s Daughter” and you got me with the very first page and the tragic incident with Ellianna. Then as I read I saw Elli later in life and she’s so happy. The incident didn’t destroy her ability to find love. Her brother is the one who struggles to forget that night and his inability to stop it. But when he meets the preacher’s daughter, hope begins to spark inside him. Romance is about giving readers hope—to overcome challenges of their lives and reach for the impossible dream.

    When I began writing, I didn’t ask for money or fame. Those don’t mean anything to me. I simply asked God to help me touch just one person’s heart. To me, that would mean success. As it turned out, I got much more than I asked for. I’m so glad I write romance.

    Thank you for sharing the things that make you the excellent writer you are!

  17. Dear Cheryl – You depicted my sentiments about writing so well and with such great articulation. I too, have thought what I do is shallow at times, when the world is in such a crisis. But then I realize, in my own way, I’m touching souls, sometimes, just by entertaining and taking them “out” of the real world, and sometimes, by giving them hope.

    My next HH deals with physical abuse and my heroine was strong enough to help other women by starting a group called H.E.L.P. I won’t give away more than that, but I feel good about the message in this story. Thanks for your heartfelt words today!

  18. Well, Linda, now you’ve gone and made ME cry! LOL What insight you have into characters and people. I understand perfectly what you meant about touching people’s hearts. It’s the big payoff in the end.

    Hi, Julie, Sherri and Lou Ann! Thanks for stopping by. We love our faithful blogger buddies.

    Thanks, Tanya!

    Charlene, this must be a timely subject. I can’t wait to hear more about your current story.

  19. I can’t imagine writing or loving a genre more than I love writing and reading romance. The stories are everything I’ve always believed in–from fidelity to hope to anticipation of that happy, satisfying ending.

    Lovely post, Cheryl.

  20. “When are you going to write a real book?” Aaaargh. I was totally irked reading a movie review in today’s LA Times; some dorky male reviewer said Cate Blanchett’s latest movie on Elizabeth the first was “just another Harlequin bodice-ripper.” I got a historical novel by Bernard Cornwell recently and interested in the content, peeked around his website, outraged when he claimed he’d changed its original title, Harlequin, because he didn’t want to be associated with “books like that.” Aaargh. I’m a proud romance reader! I e-mailed him and guess what, he never wrote back. Thanks to all you great fillies for the books I love to read and show off!

  21. Wonderful post!

    I read romance because they give me hope and make me believe in possibilities! I agree with everything you said…you basically stated my reasons for loving romances!

  22. Hi Cheryl! Love ya! Your post is wonderful. Our readers are looking for escapism. They want a world where everyone ends up happily ever after. The real world is tough enough. It’s good to know in romances that the good guys always win and the bad guys always lose. Your writing is wonderful! Keep it up!
    Your fan!
    Bobbi Smith

  23. Great post, You said it all in your last paragraph, you hit the nail on the head with that one That is why we all read romance. I just love the happy endings.

  24. Cheryl, I’m getting into the conversation late, but what a great post! You really give a lot of insight into the reasons we write romances and the expectations our readers have. Terrific post! Every day I learn something new or view an issue through different eyes on this loop. Keep up the good work, ladies. Phyliss

  25. It’s never too late, Phyliss! Someone is always burning the midnight oil in Wildflower Junction.

    Thank you. I appreciate the diversity and talent in these parts, too.

    Thanks, Pam.

    Hi Stacey, Gail, Bobbi–hey thanks for stopping by! Jennifer, Tanya and Estella!

  26. I may be a few days late stopping by, but agree with you on this one! Isn’t drug abuse a crying out of somebody looking for hope? Aren’t many ‘vices’ just people looking for hope in a life they feel is hopeless. Maybe putting a good book in their hands filled with hope and the possibility of happily ever after can jump start their thinking into a more hopeful place. I just know if you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

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