What is romance? And why are half of the books sold romance novels, trashy or otherwise? Is it indicative of women's lack or need of it? Variety is the spice of life, so maybe they need different men as stated in Steve Harvey's book.
I, being a macho, macho man, am stereotyped to not know the answer to this or any other thing about women. Oddly, this myth is not perpetuated by women, but by men. I can't count how many times men in the media state they know nothing about women and never will. And if that were true, then freakin' learn, dammit! Women certainly want us to, which may be why romance is so lucrative.
Having completed my first novel, I've been asked is there romance in it? I don't know.
Hey! Have you seen this:
A man gathers his briefcase, closes his office door, enters an ambiguous, crowded elevator. Taking a deep breath, he looks at his Tag timekeeper, exits the sky scrapin' building, and raises his hand.
A yeller taxi screeches. A radiant woman gets out, with hair from a high-priced salon wafts in the warm breeze, dressed in perfect fitted clothes, carrying a Burberry purse. Don't ask me how I know that brand.
They're eyes lock and the world comes to a startling but pleasurable halt. Her hair waves coyly at him. His stature postures over her like a gentle beast ready to pounce. Her eyes gaze ever so softly into his. She brushes her hair with the back of her hand.
What do we know and have been programmed to know from this cliche? A scene we've seen in countless movies, TV shows, books, plays, and commercials.
He is the it boy. She is the it girl. And by the massive powers of God, the universe, Shiva, Buddha, Geezus Krist, and the dominant iPhone with FaceTime, they're meant for each other for all time, passed time, into infinity and beyond, and a little more.
Whew! I need a smoke.
Going back to the question, does my book have romance?
I didn't know how to answer that question until I readRoger Ebert's essay on Lost In Translation,starring Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansen, directed by Sofia Copola. In fact, I saw this in the theater years ago and didn't know why I loved it until now.
In many ways, the movie starts out to be a cliche. A lonely man visits Japan. He runs into an equally lonely woman. They're subtly attracted to each other, but by no means are they the it couple. He's an older married man, she's the younger married woman. I thought they were going to hit it off. A nice romp in the bed, some drama about his wife or her husband catching them, then a climatic ending where they both leave their respective spouses, and run toward each other as the waves splash onto the sandy beach.
Nope. The movie is about a deep connection between two people, which is probably why I loved it so much because I cherish deep connections.
Does my book have romance?
No. Not like the taxi example above. My story focuses on a married couple who has to contend with the death of their child. Then they have to contemplate the mortality of their other, who is called to duty when a looming war approaches.
My goal was to explore the pain of loss, the guilt one spouse places on the other, on oneself, and to explore war itself. It has been a painful and enlightening experience in the sense storytelling.