This is a guest post from Sarah Nicolas. Sarah is a recovering mechanical engineer, library event planner, and author. She lives in Orlando with a 60-lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua. She writes YA novels as Sarah Nicolas and romance under the name Aria Kane. Find her on Twitter @sarah_nicolas.
Yeah, I was one of those people. You know the type. The ones who dismiss romance out-of-hand, who call it trash and laugh at ridiculous Fabio covers. I wondered how women could read such trivial, formulaic stories over and over again. I admit, I thought it was stupid, silly, insulting.
Lady Godiva, was I wrong.
After interning at a small, up-and-coming, publishing house for a while, I was offered a position as a freelance publicist. I took it because I adored their YA titles and would’ve done anything to promote those books. In the interview, they asked me if I was willing to work on adult romance titles. Dear reader, I lied. Of course, I’d love to work on those *gag* romance books. No problem. I thought they’d give me one every now and then and I’d suffer through it.
The first four titles they assigned me were very romancey romances. Color me crestfallen.
However, I had (and still have) a firm belief that a publicist can do her job a hundred times better if she’s actually read the book she’s pushing. So I gritted my teeth and settled in for a torturous read. I don’t know how far I was into the book before I realized what was happening.
I adored this book.
I loved it so incredibly much that I still have trouble expressing it. I lol’d IRL and I wiped actual, wet tears from my eyes. I wanted to be the FMC’s best friend and I wanted to… *ahem* get to know the MMC. But most surprising: it was smart. Clever. Sex-positive. Touching, but not corny. It was everything I never knew I needed. Everything I’d been told romance wasn’t.
I had been lied to.
Wife for Hire by Christine Bell was the first romance book I ever read. It made me a convert. Her second book made me a disciple. Now, I’m an advocate.
I have five romance novels/novellas published under my Aria Kane pen name. I am unapologetic about my romance books. I don’t allow anyone to call them trash or guilty pleasures. There is nothing guilty about women going after what they want. There is nothing trashy about the financial cornerstone for the modern publishing industry. In short, I don’t allow the kind of talk that kept me away from the romance genre for so long.
My conversion would’ve never happened if I hadn’t been coerced into reading Christine’s book. But it would’ve never been necessary if I hadn’t believed the haters. If someone had stood up and told their truth. I wouldn’t have wasted so much time denying something that has now become such a huge part of my life.
So now I’m determined to be that someone, that person who “doesn’t seem like the type” to read romance but declares it far and wide for anyone to hear.
I’m a romance reader. And that is a great thing to be.