I recently attended a Facebook party to celebrate the launch of a new book, Redeeming The Billionaire by Christina Tetreault. I asked those who attended the following question, “What do you find most interesting about romance novels?”
As an author, it was inspiring to take in what readers of contemporary romance posted. It reminded me of why I love to read romance novels and it encouraged me to keep in mind what readers are looking for in each new story.
Here are the top five reasons summarized (in some cases edited for clarity):
1. A Fun Escape or Losing Yourself in a Different World
There is something so satisfying about downloading an ebook from a favorite author or picking up a paperback that hooks you in the short back cover copy. You just know that you have an enjoyable evening or few days ahead of you. The reader is essentially looking to escape for a short period of time into a completely different world by being immersed in another time, place or social situation.
“I love how the books draw me into the character’s lives! “
“For me, it’s like an escape from the everyday. Reading, especially if it’s a well written book, transports you to where you feel like you’re traveling right along with the characters.”
“If the book is good I lose myself in it for a bit……”
2. The Ride (The Emotional Arc)
It’s not surprising that readers want to experience the emotional impact of a story. Often, writers will work endlessly on tying together all of the plot elements to give readers a satisfying emotional ride.
“Personally, I love romance, especially the angsty ones, because I always have this tingly feeling in my tummy every time the hero makes a mistake or is forced to grow. I always love the scene where the hero apologizes with all his heart and admits his mistake. I guess it’s because I’ve never actually met a guy who’s willing to truly apologize to me, that’s why the ‘redemption’ in romance books is satisfying.”
“I like losing myself in another world for a while and also learning about the characters and their lives. Their struggles and triumphs, tears and laughter and the ultimate happily ever after.”
3. Hope and Possibilities
Another crucial element in romance novels is the overarching hopeful nature of the story. The characters may face overwhelming obstacles or conflict but the author is able to keep an essential hope alive. Many readers mention this element when explaining why they like to read this genre.
“I like romance novels because it gives you hope and allows you to escape into a world many want to experience.”
“The fantasy, the escape, the possibility.”
4. Romantic Elements
Readers like to be reminded of and celebrate the romantic elements of meeting, dating and relationships. The complexity or negotiation of courtship, establishing boundaries and deciding what the future holds, appeals to readers.
“I like to see how the characters meet and how the relationship will unfold.”
“I love reading romance novels because I like stories about people falling in love and sticking together through thick and thin no matter what happens.”
“I love to read how the male characters can be romantic.”
5. The Happily Ever After (HEA)
The most often cited reason to read romance is the ‘happily ever after’ or the HEA. It is a crucial aspect to the romance novel. For readers to invest time and energy reading a romance novel, they want it to end well.
“It’s about the ultimate happy ending for me. I love the ups and downs of it and I also love a good second chance romance with all of the highs and lows of the emotional roller coaster ride. The characters go through lots of struggles but manage to come out on top because they have love in their lives.”
“A good romance novel always leaves me happy after the characters find their happily ever after.”
As I compiled and summarized the posted comments, I realized that readers are sometimes reluctant to share their opinions about reading romance openly. This plays into a larger narrative of romance novels not being taken as seriously as other works of fiction. With more open discourse being fueled by the popularity of ebooks, the narrative is beginning to change. It’s an encouraging time to both be reading as well as writing romance novels.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I would love to hear what you love about the contemporary romance genre.
Susie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm. Her second novel, Ruthless Perfection, was released in September 2014.
Susie loves to hear from readers and responds to each email and Facebook post. Please reach out to her via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susie-Warren/647556668647832 or on Twitter @susiecwarren.
For more information on her upcoming releases, new excerpts and other related postings, or to sign up for free promotions, please visit www.susiewarren.com