I often get asked why I write romance. And usually it's asked with a sort of sneering tone. And why medieval? As if there's something utterly bizarre about that. Like a love of history, something solid and intellectual, is something that shouldn't be mixed with something fanciful and fluffy.
Fluffy be damned, I love romance. The fluffier the better.
Actually I'm doing romance a dishonour there. Those familiar with the genre and many sub-genres know well that romance can be gritty, heart-wrenching and devastating at times as we explore every aspect of a character's psyche Yes, it's punctuated with moments of beautiful human connection but how far removed is that from real life? My daughter hugged me and told me how much she loved me today as I dealt with the inevitable moment of self-doubt that writers are so frequently swamped with. Ok, so its not very dramatic but do you get my point? The whole art imitates life thing. A friend of mine recently told me about how she met her husband. I swear to God, if you wrote it down you would probably get told off for being cliche. But it was a prime example of true love. Yes, people it does exist.
Anyway, where am I going with this? Why do I write romance? Because it shaped who I am today. My 'education' (as my dad likes to call it) in romance started in my teens, reading pretty steamy stuff. But it taught me (amongst many) two things. It helped me understand sex between two loving partners and it taught me to fight for what I want and believe in, be it a man or a cause or a career.
Romance is so much more than boy meets girl, happily ever after. It takes us on great journeys of self-discovery and sacrifice. Each character grows and learns. Criticism of this genre came about when men feared the empowerment of women. They recognised what romance could teach us and were scared by it. That fear should no longer exist, so neither should criticism of romance. Hell, I bet there are a lot of husbands out there who are thankful for the romance and erotica genres for putting some sexy ideas into their partner's heads. I know my hubby doesn't complain ;)
So there we have it. I write romance for my love of the journey. For my love of character growth. For my love of love. As for why I write medieval stuff...well, you tell me what's sexier than a rugged knight. If you find anything, then you've not met the guys in my imagination... :)