Why Romance? (Penny Rader)

The romance genre has been my favorite since my pre-teens. It was my escape, my haven when I was a young mom and step-mom. When I decided to give writing a try, romance was the most logical choice for me.

Why do I read and write romance?

* The HEA (Happily Ever After)
* The emotion, the connection between the hero and heroine
* The love, the healing, the renewal, the hope, the redemption
* The empowerment of women
* To laugh
* To cry
* To laugh through my tears
* To lose myself in someone else’s world
* To see how other people work through the difficulties life throws their way.

Who are some of my favorite authors? Some of my favorite books?

* Morning Side of Dawn by Justine Davis
* Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall
* Annie and the Outlaw by Sharon Sala
* Miss Emmaline and the Archangel by Rachel Lee
* Diamonds and Dreams by Rebecca Paisley
* Season for Miracles by Marilyn Pappano
* Maggie Shayne’s "Texas Brand" series

I seem to be especially fond of characters who are wounded in some way, whether it’s emotional or physical. And women in jeopardy stories will have me on the edge of my seat or scrunched down against my pillows, flipping pages as quickly as I can. If the woman in jeopardy is pregnant or a mom and the hero loves the baby and/or kids as though they were his own, well, that puddle right there is me. (Not sure that last part came out the way I meant.)

Currently, my faves are the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr (I just love the characters and the town) and J.D. Robb’s In Death series. I know, the J.D. Robb books aren’t shelved in romance, but they’re written by Nora Roberts and I love watching the relationship between Eve Dallas and gorgeous Roarke grow and develop. I’ve kicked myself numerous times for waiting so long to read this series. It’s futuristic. I don’t usually read futuristic because I don’t usually “get it.” I definitely “get” these books. They’re set 50 or so years in the future and I have no problem figuring out what’s going on.

That’s a bit about what I like to read. Why do you read romance? Who are your favorite authors? Care to share any favorite titles?


Christine Clemetson said...

Great post. I love the "In Death" series too..

Helen Hardt said...

Penny, you pretty much summed up why I read romance ;). I'm particularly fond of romance heroes -- the ones who love their heroine with a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that they'd move the world for her. Favorite authors? To name a few: Lisa Kleypas, Joan Johnston, Eloisa James, Susan Lyons.


Penny Rader said...

Welcome, Christine! Thanks so much for visiting. I just adore Eve and Roarke. Eve makes me chuckle and Roarke makes me sigh.

I peeked at your blog. During my lunch break I plan to take a closer look, especially at "Spring Clean Your Writing Time" (because I'm horrible about cleaning in general, let alone spring cleaning) and "How to Organize Your Writing Like You Organize Your Taxes" (because I work for an accounting firm and am hopelessly disorganized at home).

Penny Rader said...

Hi Helen! Long time no see! I hope Colorado is treating you well.

Your heroes blog is fabulous! Gotta pop in there for my hunky guy fix.

Love your description of romance heroes. Fierce passion and absolute love. Yup, that's my idea of a perfect hero.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Mary Ricksen said...

I read for the exact same reasons.
The books you both mentioned are right up there for me too.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Mary!

Thanks for stopping by. I recognize your name from The Wild Rose Press loop.

Reese Mobley said...

Great post, Penny. Jackson Rule is one of my all time favorites too. I love Kristin Hannah for emotional reads. Her books probably would be classified as women's fiction because they follow the journey of two or more women. There usually is a romance involved but the mother/daughter/sister/best-friend relationships are the core of most of her later books. Have you read her?

Penny Rader said...

Thanks for mentioning Kristin Hannah, Reese! I knew there were authors I was forgetting. I think the last book of hers that I read was Magic Hour. I have another on my to-be-read pile, but the title isn't coming to me.

I've been reading more and more books that have women/sister/mother/daughter relationships and enjoying them tremendously. That's part of the reason why I love the Virgin River and In Death series so much. The authors do a tremendous job developing the relationships between the primary characters and the secondary characters.

Pat Davids said...

I loved your post. And your list of favorite books contains some of my own favorites, Especially, "Jackon Rule".
A good romance is uplifting. No doubt about it.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Pat!

I love uplifting stories. That's another reason I read romance -- they make me feel good, both while reading the stories and later (or at least the really good ones that stay with me.

Jackson Rule definitely did that for me. I read it in one day, then handed it to my then fourteen-year-old daughter. That weekend she also became a Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall fan.

Samantha Gentry said...

Penny: One of the things I like about romance is watching the emotional connection between hero and heroine grow from casual interest through the various stages of overcoming inner conflicts to the final realization that it's true love.

Ashley Ludwig said...

Hey, all!

I'm more of a traditional Nora Roberts fan, than a J.D. Robb fan -- I'm waiting anxiously for her latest! on order, from Amazon.

Still - I love romance with adventure, mystery, intrigue, but there's nothing like knowing that everything is going to end happily ever after. I don't have tons of time to read, so when I do, I don't want the rug pulled out from under me at the end.

Thanks for your post!


Rox Delaney said...

We're Jackson Rule fans here too. In fact, it was the first book my daughter Lyndsay ever read from cover to cover. Now she grabs every Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall book she can get her hands on.

I've read several Kristin Hannah books, starting with Comfort and Joy, which was a strange one. In fact, I've picked up most if not all of her books except for the latest. Magic Hour had me in tears. Now all I need is time to read them all!

My favorite is still Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I've had to adjust my "favorites" list among her books, but I still pick It Had to Be You as #1, because I adore Phoebe. Ain't She Sweet is #2, and Natural Born Charmer is #3. Then there's the "cereal killer" book. I haven't read Glitter Baby yet, but it's on my shelf, along with so many other books that I either want to read for the first time or read again and again.

Talking about favorite books is always easy!

Reese Mobley said...

My favorite SEP book has to be First Lady with Dream A Little Dream a close second.

Penny Rader said...

Samantha, do you use a graph or chart or a checklist to help move the hero & heroine's relationship from casual interest through the various stages of overcoming inner conflicts?

This is something I struggle with. I've seen lists for physical intimacy, but I struggle with what steps the emotional part of a relationship should go through.

Penny Rader said...

Welcome, Ashley! I love Nora's single titles, too.

I think River's End was the first of her single titles that I read. I loved the characters and the surprises and the setting. Oh, and Montana Sky (Skies?) is also wonderful. I also thoroughly enjoyed her Three Sisters Island trilogy.

Penny Rader said...

Rox and Reese, I've only read a couple of SEP's books. Loved First Lady -- read quite a bit of it while standing in line at the car tag renewal place. I received many looks because I kept LOL.

I'm tickled by how many people have stopped by and shared. Thank you so much! I'm headed out the door. It's American Idol night. Yeah! Go Adam! Go Kris! I'll check back in a couple hours.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Penny...for me it's the Happily Ever After. That doesn't mean there are moments when I cry in dismay thinking the hero and heroine will never be able to work things out and be together. But so long as I know things will be alright in the end...I'm totally in!

Rox Delaney said...


You asked about the emotional steps in the relationship. It must be fate, but a paper fell out of a box (REALLY!), and when I picked it up, it was Alicia Rasley's Romantic Turning Points. I checked, and it's there on there on her website. It must have been a handout she gave us, but sure is weird that there it was, laying on the floor next to a box.

Here's the link to the article:

Penny Rader said...

Thanks for joining us, Debra. I totally get what you mean about the HEA. I mean, we know as readers that the hero and heroine will be together at the end of the story. Part of the fun is seeing how they are able to accomplish it.

I like HEAs in movies, too. Ambiguous endings or sad endings that wreck the entire movie are not my kind of story. City of Angels still ticks me off. I'm a HUGE fan of Nic Cage and Meg Ryan, but I will never watch that movie again.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Rox! Ask and you shall receive, eh? I love, what's the word, serendipity? Not sure that's the right word. You put a thought out there and, like a magnet, what you're looking for finds its way to you.

I can't wait to check out Alicia's romantic turning points. She's an amazing teacher. Thanks so much for sharing.

Rox Delaney said...

Some people call it serendipity. In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron called it synchronicity. Same thing.

Now that's something interesting we could look into doing as a group. The Artist's Way. Has anyone done it?

Alicia has some great articles on her website. I've never been able to get through all of them. I'll find one that's especially interesting, and then forget to go back and check out the rest. :)

Penny Rader said...

Yeah, synchronicity. That's the word I was trying to think of. I knew it began with "s."


Samantha Gentry said...

Penny: You asked if I have a chart for developing the emotional journey for the hero/heroine. I don't have any type of rule or chart that I use. I guess making the determination of when and how they overcome their inner conflicts so the romance can progress is something that's in my head, tied in with moving the storyline forward. There are points in the story where the action can't move forward unless the emotional aspect of their relationship moves forward, too.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Samantha! I'm always interested in how other writers write their stories.

Jeannie said...

Whoa, JACKSON RULE! If there was a romance novel hall of fame it ought to be listed as a classic! Lyda still has a copy of the book. We lost our original, so she bought a replacement.

I read and write romance for the same reasons you do. One reason I always enjoyed Andre Norton's SF is because she had strong, empowered heroines, and she often included a romantic subplot in her books.

Two of my favorite romance writers are Iris Johansen and Kay Hooper. I love the Eve Duncan books. Kay Hooper is probably the reason I'm writing romance today. A friend handed me one of her books and said, "You could write like this." The book was UNMASKING KELSEY. I'd been pretty derogatory about romance up until then (you'll have to forgive me for having an F and SF reader's stupid prejudice), but after I read that book I agreed that I could write something like that. Kay Hooper's been one of my favorite authors ever since.

I'm impress that your blog has drawn so many non-WARA member posts. I'm looking forward to checking out Helen's heroes and also the Alicia Rasley link.

Great job! But I knew you'd do one! :-)

Joan Vincent said...

I second all of your reasons for reading and writing romance! And Dallas and Roarke--yes! But Jackson Rules--I definitely will have to try and find that book.