That is the question.
As I wandered through the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention, I saw the loyalty and passion of romance fans. Epic.
Did this make me want to write kissing scenes? Nope.
I felt a bit out of place, but I didn’t feel inadequate, like my writing was somehow lacking because I don’t include hot guys with abs. I appreciate these guys, but never have I found myself drooling over them or dreaming of spending moments with them. This has never been me. I was not a boy-crazy teen. I didn’t date until college, and that one guy I did date is now my husband, so my dating history is, well, short.
If I feel this way, so do others. I might be in the minority, but we need stories out there for those of us who don’t want the kissing. So I write for the teens who don’t need romance, who don’t need hot guys, who don’t need to live through these fictional relationships. I hope I write realistic people, who go on a journey of self-discovery, regular teens with regular problems.
Don’t get me wrong, I see the need for the schmexy, lusty books. My sisters won’t read a book unless there’s a half-naked man with rippling abs on the cover. They love it. They need the escape, the fantasy.
I don’t. I mean the men are pretty and so are the women, but I’d rather go to a cool fantasy world and fight monsters or hang out in a haunted house. Though I don’t mind love…an honest attraction or a simple connection between two characters makes me smile and can enhance the story.
I can’t guarantee that romance won’t appear in my writing. I can’t always control what the characters do, how they feel, and who am I to say NO ROMANCE EVER! Emotions and developing relationships are real life, but I will more than likely stay away from the lusty stuff, for that has never felt real to me.
And I think that’s the thing. I need to believe in the love. So when one of my main characters told me that she had feelings for her best friend…yeah, well, I had to believe her. And they kissed and it was awkward and endearing…I hope.
So as I walked the convention halls plastered with images of men’s torsos and the promise of hormonal excitement, I felt empowered to write for people like me. To add my voice to the chorus. Isn’t that what art is supposed to do? Give every view, every opinion, every way of life a voice.