I do not write romance novels, I currently write fantasy fiction, which requires me to have more believable characters and worlds. Seriously, I added an element of romance to my second book (those of you who have read it know what I am talking about, those who have not don’t). The romance was added because it is an essential part of showing how characters (and correspondingly real people) develop and grow.
Romance is a part of life. It can and should be part of any story which deals with believable characters and spans any significant amount of time. It should also be done in a believable and tactful way.
I incorporated the romantic elements of my story without being tawdry. There are no descriptions of pre-marital, extra-marital, or even marital relations, yet I think it is a believable love story (as a sub-plot of the larger story). It is also necessary to set up some of the events of the last three books in the series. Minor spoiler alert for book three – something will be revealed near the beginning of book three that will indicate that marital relations must have occurred as a result of the romance in book two. Just throwing a bone to my readers longing for plot information.
Much of the media (and much of our society – this is all spoken from a U.S. perspective) view romance and particularly marriage as a disposable commodity. They cite a statistic that half of marriages end in divorce, and demean marriage and its meaningfulness in the process.
Is that a valid approach? Ask yourself a couple of questions: When little girls are growing up, do they dream of what their second or third or fourth wedding will be like or do they dream about THE DAY? When little boys are growing up, are they thinking about who they’ll marry second or third, or who their future ex-wife will be? The answers are obvious. We as humans want and need to find that one person who will be a suitable mate and help us through life.
Don’t the statistics tell us otherwise? Not if you look deeper. The actual statistics on marriage in the United States according to the CDC (who tabulate these things for some reason) indicate that 30% of first marriages end in divorce. 75% of second marriages, and over 80% of third and subsequent marriages end in divorce. This means that for seven in ten Americans who marry, they find and follow that dream of one mate for life. The other, sobering part of that statistic is that once you give up on the idea of marriage for life, you are likely dooming yourself to disappointment. As Yoda said “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”
I am intent on writing positive stories about admirable characters that we can aspire to emulate. Because of that, any romance contained within my books will be positive in nature and characters will marry for life – the ideal we all look forward to and that most of us actually achieve.