Trashy. Smut. Filth. These are words people have used to describe romance novels. Why do some people insist on using derogatory terms to describe (and therefore define) the genre of romance? If you ask those same people what type of person reads a romance novel they will say ‘bored housewives’. Excuse me! Nothing could be further from the truth! Romance readers are educated. According to statistic on the Romance Writers of America website, 42% of romance readers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. And, whether working in the work place or staying at home, we romance lovers have busy fulfilled lives. So, I ask you, how can those of us who love to read romance change the image of the romance novel?

It seems the people who bash romance novels are people who do not read them. Yet, they lump all romances into one category. The category: Trashy. Because of their lack of knowledge, no matter what the subgenre of romance whether historical, contemporary, western etc it seems these people think romance books are filled with nothing but sex. If they took the time to delve into a romantic book, they would see romance novels are much more than that. They would see romance novels are stories that celebrate the alluring love relationship between a man and a woman. They are stories with intriguing character conflicts and, of course, happy endings which propagate the notion that love conquers all.

Take my historical novel Slave Girl. Slave Girl by Sheniqua Waters is a tantalizing story of a young Egyptian beauty who is kidnapped from the banks of theNile
River and sold into slavery. She is placed on an auction block in
Constantinople and sold into a Turkish harem. Once there, she must deal with harem politics and jealousy from the other women when she becomes their Master’s, Kudar al Numan’s, favorite. Our hero, Kudar, must overcome tradition, distance and other obstacles to be with the woman he loves. While Slave Girl does contain some ravishing love scenes that is not what the story is about. Is it possible to get those who don’t read romance to stop viewing the genre in negative terms and start viewing the genre in a different light? How can we get general audiences to see the genre of romance as one of love, hope and optimism? What do you think? Is it possible to change the image of the romance novel?

Sheniqua Waters

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