Every so often, like most romance writers, I get asked why I write romance. The implication often is, Why am I wasting my time writing romance?
Money considerations aside, it's obvious they want to know why I'm not writing something, well, more "respectable." Well, clearly I don't think romance is disrespectable. I don't see anything "wrong" with the genre at all.
In fact, I don't want to write anything else, and never have. Romance was my first choice, not my last.
One of the things I like best about romance is that you have two equally strong, important protagonists, one male, one female. Not a lot of fiction has that as a requirement.
But there are some mysteries and books in other genres that feature couples.
That's true. However, no other genre has, as its primarly focus, the developing relationship between the hero and heroine, and that's what I like to write about. I especially like showing how the characters have to overcome their initial fears/concerns/dislike before they fall in love. I really like delving into the inner vulnerablities of my characters, because I think every person has deep-seated insecurities and worries that affect them, even if they try to deny it. I enjoy showing how the characters are freed from the worst of those fears/insecurities by the love they share with another person.
Do I think I'm some kind of expert on relationships? Do I have some important message about what makes a good relationship I'm dying to share with the world? Oh, heck no! I'm not a therapist. I'm sure what I think about what makes a good relationship comes through in my books, but it's not something I'm consciously aware of.
I want to tell a good story about interesting people. I want the core of the story to be about how a man and woman fall in love. I delight in thinking up internal conflicts and motivation, about what people might do and why. I especially like that at the end of the book, the couple are together and happy. That makes me happy.
So I'm doing something I enjoy, that I find fun, and that I get paid pretty good money to do. Who wouldn't want a job like that?
And about that "respect" thing? I respect what I do and the people who read romance. I don't much care what the rest of the world thinks.