As I write this, news is coming in about someone shooting up a movie theater in Colorado, a writer friend is ill, and some horrible website is putting up personal information of book reviewers online and compromising their safety. There is some really ugly stuff going on in the real world ... and I am sitting here writing romance novels.
By definition, romances end happily, either "ever after" or "for now." I once had someone say to me: "But that's not what life is like!"
I can't wallow in all the awful things that get thrown into the atmosphere every day. I know how depressed it will make me. I read romances to give myself an out, a place to escape the evil. I write romances to hopefully bring those moments to someone else.
I'm not kidding myself. After a romance novel ends, I'm sure the happy couple will go on to fight about bills and deal with screaming babies and face evenings of less-than-satisfactory sex, but for now, I can read about passion fulfilled and hurdles overcome. I know that the good guys will win between the covers (and under them, hehe), when just outside my window that's not always the case.
Still, I do read books without happy endings. I can say I found them "incredible" or "profound" or "gut-wrenching." It is hard, however, to call them "wonderful," and I likely won't talk about them with a smile on my face. I might recommend them, but with caveats. Often, after finishing one, I'm left feeling uneasy or hollow. I have a need to fill myself with positivity.
I whole-heartedly believe in karma. Putting good into the universe will create more good, whether it's from stories, or outward goodwill or just benevolent thoughts.
That moment I wrap up a novel, and the action and characters and plot all come together, is a joyous occasion. Even if some things in the characters' world have changed, and not necessarily for the better, I know that they've persevered and survived, and they will be rewarded justly. I can only pray that the real world might one day be the same.
What about you? Why do you read romance? Do you find that books can change your mood or mindset?
All my best,