The Romantic Cringe
Often times people will ask me what I write when they first learn that I am a published writer. My gut reaction is a sudden desire to lie and explain in lofty terms that I write alternative fiction. I want to throw out a lot of baloney about time travel, science fiction, adventure, Western or even experimental dabbling into creative fiction. I could duck the entire issue and act like I just saw someone I know across the room and I must be off to greet them. The last thing I want to tell them is that I’m a romance writer.
I know. I know. I’m a coward. But the minute I tell an enthusiastic person that I’m a romance writer, I have to endure their deflated interest and sudden monotone voice depicting low esteem when they respond with, “Oh. That’s nice.”What the heck? It’s as if my IQ just dropped and my efforts to get that POV right and the hours I agonized working the plot into an exciting revelation meant absolutely nothing—because I write romance.
Some people just don’t get it. Writing about the most tender feelings two people can have for one another and making them find ways to overcome impossible obstacles to have that one person their heart yearns for is an amazing amount of work to get it right and make it lift the heart. Is it nobler to write dark tombs with sad endings than those filled with hope and ending in happiness? Apparently. Is it easier somehow to forge a romance than a murder? In the minds of many, yes.
Well, for myself, I delight in reading romance and I have no desire to write anything else. I enjoy happy endings and stories that make me believe in the impossible. My life is filled with the harsh edges of reality and the sting and bite of everyday existence. When I settle down into bed at night, I like to close my day within the pages of a wonderful romance that allows me to believe that the world really can be a better place.
Sarah J. McNeal
Sarah J. McNeal