by Mary Margret Daughtridge
A new-made friend (call her Darla) told me recently that reading romance novels changed her life. Needless to say, I invited her to tell me more.
Darla, a professional with advanced degrees, explained that she began reading romances several years ago because it was a way to unwind before bed and let go of the events of a stressful day. After a while, she began to notice that the heroine said things Darla wouldn’t say.
It made the heroine mad when men disrespected her. But unlike Darla, she didn’t slink away and nurse her wounds. If the hero tried to ignore the heroine or treat her as if her opinions didn’t matter, she took him on.
The heroine had a purpose and a goal and she was clear about them. She was smart and she used intelligence to achieve her goals. The heroine had a strong value system and would make sacrifices to preserve it.
At the beginning of the book the heroine might not know how to be an effective person who could make a difference, but by the end, she did—and she hadn’t made the change by taking a self-esteem course. She did it by acting like an effective person. She took charge of her reactions to events, even when she was afraid. When she made mistakes and everything went wrong, she kept going. She didn’t quit.
Darla started trying some of that. She started speaking up. She noticed that the problem with her love life wasn’t men. She hadn’t been treating men as if they had to respect her! She got rid of one, and raised her standards on any new ones. She began to use her brain—not only to do her job. She used it to think about what she wanted in all areas of her life, and to set goals. My friend started being the heroine in her own life story.
Danielle asked us a while ago why we write romance.
So here’s the answer Danielle. I write romance because, first of all, I like to create stories. It satisfies me, heart and soul. Second, the purpose of romance is entertainment, and I don't apologize for that. I believe giving people wholesome, enlivening entertainment is an honorable way to make money.
Finally, for many years I taught metaphysical principles that make lives work better. My students told me all the time that I should write a book that encapsulated my classes. So I did. A romance.
The medium is the message, according to Marshall McLuhan. I hope that while giving a reader a few hours of pleasure, and the only truly safe sex there is, through the medium of romance I make a little difference.