Saturday, December 19, 2015

The value of romance novels

I hope this finds you well! I wanted to let you know about a price promotion that will be taking place from December 1 to December 31 for How to Date a Dragon (Flirting with Fangs Book 2) as a part of the Kindle December Holiday Store sale. Even though it is a Kindle promotion, the price of the e-book will still drop to $1.99 across all platforms (not just Amazon) during this time. All of my books can stand alone, and this one has a spin off series coming!

And now to our blog post...

Do Romance Novels Have Value?
Ashlyn Chase

Because I’m a romance writer, you can probably guess my answer to the question, “Do romance novels have value?” Of course I believe they do! I suppose if I were strictly mercenary I’d still say something to the effect of, “Well, duh. It’s a multibillion dollar business that outsells all other genres.” 

But my feelings go much deeper than that. You see, I get fan emails saying things like, “Your sense of humor got me through a difficult time.” Or, “I know I can count on your books for an uplifting ending. I need that right now.” Even my own story begins with a similar experience.

I was raised by intellectuals. I had never read a romance novel, yet I was conditioned to think of them as “trash” and far beneath anyone with a brain. That’s the very definition of prejudice. I prejudged a whole industry without investigation. 

Then my life took a challenging turn. My parents became terminally ill at the same time. As an RN, I wanted to take care of them so they could remain at home as long as possible. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. Fortunately, another nurse handed me a book and just said, “Here. Read this.” I’m glad I didn’t know it was a romance novel, or I would have politely refused it.
Before I forget to say this, thank you, Diana Gabaldon, for writing Outlander, and thank you, Pat Rugg, for loaning it to me. That book was my guilty pleasure. When my parents were sleeping or had visitors, my nose was in that book. It was a welcome distraction from the harsh reality of taking care of the people who had taken care of me—and sometimes in the same way. Feeding them, helping them to the toilet, making sure they got their medication and other health needs met. Watching the two people who had been my lifelong stalwart supporters crumble and die was emotionally devastating. 

Yes, a romance novel got me through it. The interesting thing is that I didn’t realize I was reading a romance novel until I was well into the sequel! It was extremely well written with complex characters and a situation that required inner strength to overcome. I was transported to another world. What a gift! 

My parents were my last patients. I had to take some time for myself and went to work in a garden center, breathing in the fresh air while watching green things grow. It was a nice antidote…and so was writing.     

I wanted to pay it forward, and I thought I could begin to do that by writing what I now loved to read. I must say that my first novel was pretty bad, but it still had value as a learning experience. I had to learn how to write—to walk before I ran—and I learned from experienced authors. 

Recently a man wrote that romance novels had no value. It’s been scientifically proven that men have narrower synapses between the left and right hemispheres of their brains. If they complain that women get bogged down in the details, it’s because our brains let more of those details in. Some men are uncomfortable with emotions, and whether it’s one of those Mars vs. Venus things, or conditioning, or their narrow synapses, I’m not sure. I’d say it’s conditioning since more European men seem comfortable with the whole idea of romance than American men do. (Sorry about the generalization, guys.)

We know that what we write isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. But for those who need a little love in their world (and who doesn’t?), we romance writers try to offer something toward that end. I love what I do. Writing romance helps me to express my creativity in a way that nursing never could. Writing has been as good for me as I hope my books have been for others. 

So, yes, naysayers…Romance novels have value. A lot of value if you count the many authors like myself who receive thankful emails every day. It’s okay not to like romance. It’s not okay to judge it as having no value.  

Contest! For a signed copy of How to Date a Dragon. 
Just leave a comment to enter!

Watch for the new series Boston Dragons, beginning with I Dream of Dragons in April 2016.


  1. Totally agree with you! Reading my books have been my escape forever. It's a way to get outside of 'real life' and enjoy a break. Whether the break is from worrying about exams, whether that cute boy in school likes you, whether your husband is going to be ok or the dr's verdict positive. HEA is a wonderful gift. Thanks for writing!

    No need to enter me in your draw :-) I already have How to Date a Dragon. As well as all your other books of course!


  2. I've always said reading has kept me sane from the first time I learned to read to the current day. I read at least every night. I read different genres but romances call to me the most. I am always learning something but romance is the icing on the cake :) And I was never one to hide what I read and love talking with others about books!

    1. I'm so glad you mentioned learning! I've learned a lot from romance novels, and I'm thrilled when my readers tell me they've learned something from me.

  3. interesting post

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  4. My journey was much the same--feeling overwhelmed, isolated, bleak and no change in sight, when somebody handed me a Kathleen Woodiwiss title. Thirty-five years I started my first manuscript, and haven't looked back.

    My sense of why romance novels aren't well respected generally has to do with love being the most powerful force on earth. Love is the taproot of every other virtue, the source of all light along humanity's path. For many, that's terrifying. Love cannot be bought or bullied, it can delight in circumstances many would find humbling or dangerous. To those who don't comprehend it, love can look like a weapon, and therein lies the difficulty.

    Wield that pen, Ashlyn. The world needs your stories now more than ever.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Grace. That's an insight I hadn't even considered.

  5. What a gift you have. The first book I picked up by you was Strange Neighbors.. I was going through a rough patch, I'd got my first ereader and purchased it because it was on sale. I was cracking up through the book and that is still one of my favorite series. There have been times where I would just think of scenes and laugh. You have a gift and I love your books!!

  6. Big hugs, kisses, and thank yous!
    Email me with your snail mail address. I believe you won How to Date a Dragon! And don't forget to tell me to whom you want it signed.
    Congrats, honeyb717!

  7. Re:No value. A movie doesn't have to be an Academy award winner to be entertaining,a book doesn't have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to be entertaining.The value of anything is the enjoyment it gives. Perhaps that man should examine the value of his sports or car games,shows,etc.