TMI Tuesday: The Meaning of Romance
So way back before I got really ill the other week, I blogged about my difficulty talking about my books and how this Toastmasters guy was coming to my chapter meeting. And I did go to that meeting, even though I was running a fever and hoarse from coughing. After his talk, I asked him – if I’m a nervous speaker, what should I tell myself to get over that? I was expecting one of those “picture the audience in their underwear” type things. But what he said was, “Remind yourself that you have something important to share, something that will have meaning to the people you’re addressing.”
Well. That was sort of a light-bulb moment for me. Because I realized that a lot of my shyness in talking about my books probably stems from insecurity – my fear that what I have to say isn’timportant to the listener, especially if s/he doesn’t read romance novels. And yeah, that’s something I need to get over.
Because this genre is important, to a lot of people. If you attended RWA National Conference in Dallas last year, you heard Lisa Kleypas give that great speech about how she and her mother went to buy “essentials” at Wal-Mart after her home was devastated by a flood…and how, for each of them, a romance novel counted as an essential. My friend Deb Mullins told me that she’d had a fan letter from a reader whose husband was deployed with the armed forces. The woman thanked her, saying it was the first novel she’d been able to really get lost in since her husband had left, and it gave her a much-needed break from constant worrying.
When I went to the hospital to have Dareling #2 induced (I must have the coziest womb ever, because neither of my children showed the slightest inclination to leave it willingly), I took along a romance novel to help pass the time and distract me from those lovely pitocin-amped contractions.
So when someone asks me about my books, I’m going to try to follow Toastmaster-guy’s advice and remind myself that I have something important to share. Someday my book is going to give a woman a smile and a happy sigh just when she needs them, and that’s a worthy mission indeed.
But the more examples I have, the more confident I’ll feel. So how about you? When has a romance novel been important to you, or even essential?