Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Pride and Prejudice by Anna Campbell (hmm, I wish that book was by me but Jane A got there first!)
Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking…
Yes, the dreaded moment has arrived when I’m giving my first author talk. Eeek! It’s tonight at Guildford Library in western Sydney if any of you are passing. I’ve coached my friends to watch and see if I look like I’m drying up and if I am, to ask me a series of well orchestrated questions. Stalin’s political rallies are nothing on how staged this talk is going to be!
I’m hoping one of the saving graces of the talk (and of the talker who isn’t exactly used to gigs on a podium!) will be that I feel very strongly about the topic of my speech. It’s Pride and Prejudice. No, not the immortal JA novel. Not even the slightly less immortal but extremely decorative BBC series or the movie (yum, Mr. Darcy is like chocolate in whatever guise!). I’m talking about the fact that I’m proud of writing and reading romance and yet I strike such prejudice out in the general community about my choices.
Why is this so? I’m a reasonably smart woman and my romance writing and reading pals range from smart right up to the scarily brilliant. So it seems patently obvious to me that romance isn’t just read by desperate spinsters who are too silly to know any better. It also seems obvious that romance is a genre where you can really explore the development of a relationship and be brave enough to offer the punters a happy ending. That’s a long way from the soft porn for frustrated women tag that gets tossed around so often. Yeah, there are sex scenes but that’s part of exploring the relationship in all its facets, surely!
Does romance cop flak because it’s fiction mostly written by women for women? Is it like the old if it’s a man in a kitchen, he’s a chef, if it’s a woman, she’s a cook. Is it because in this cynical day and age, romance challenges the prevailing artistic ethos that all human effort comes to dust in the end? I mean, romance writers promote the value of love and hope and endurance through adversity leading to triumph. Not fashionable but definitely empowering.
What are your thoughts on the prejudice against romance? Have you ever struck a snarky comment because you read/write romance? Do you have a fail-safe response?
OH, AND PLEASE ENTER THE FIRST ROMANCE BANDITS CONTEST MENTIONED IN THE COLUMN JUST BELOW THIS ONE! I wish I could, I want the chocs!! I guess I’ll just have to go and drool over Mr. Darcy again instead.