August is Romance Awareness Month! This means now is the perfect time to pick up and read a romance book, or even to sit down and watch a romantic movie. Why? Read on.
Romance to me is about escaping from reality and the possibility of happily ever afters. That's how I fell in love with the genre to begin with. By becoming immersed in the stories of these characters, it is the perfect way to experience different aspects of life unfamiliar to your own, not just from understanding, exploring, and empathising with different communities, cultures, and lifestyles, but also in appreciating that love comes in many different shapes and forms.
While some may like to argue that romances sets unrealistic aspirations, I tend to disagree on that matter, because, yes, of course, some stories are completely unrealistic, but between the various sub-genres and tropes, there are a lot out there that are indeed reflective of reality if that's the sort of story you're after and you just need to know where to look. Furthermore - because #sorrynotsorry but I read all books to escape reality, it's just so much more appealing - like all other fictional narrative tales, romances are stories told with a particular focus in mind. Be it a happily-ever-after (HEA) or happy-for-nows (HFN), sweet romances or spicy ones, the end-game for romance is usually in delivering the audience with the gift of hope. Now, what's not to like about that?
As a reader, I’m addicted to any good romance novel, however, there are certainly a few tropes I've come to favour over the years (contemporary romance feat. enemies to lovers anyone?). Meanwhile, as a writer, I am fascinated with the changing dynamic of friends-to-lovers in modern society. And as a TV/movie-fanatic? Why yes, I'm a sucker for all the Hallmark and Nexflix rom-com-styled content that give romance a bad rep - but seriously, nothing fuels your body with hope so quick than any of those classics.
But those are just my particular tastes and preferences - there is so much more to the romance genre!
In fact, if you’re an Australian romance reader, then I highly recommend you look at joining the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA). And if you’re a romance writer, then joining Romance Writers of Australia (RWAus). These organisations are great at connecting Australian readers and writers alike. Discovering them and the events they host was a huge turning point for my career - it was shocking to see what a loving and supportive romance community we had in Australia, and seeing that back when I was still just an aspiring author really inspired me to keep writing romance. And thankfully during these pandemic times, they are really fun, interactive communities as well.
Lastly, this month brings more romance with the genre being celebrated with Bookstore Romance Day. While mostly associated with the US, it is slowly growing on a global scale, and because of their amazing show of support to romance books, I'm name dropping 'The Bookshop Darwin' for being the only indie bookshop representing Australia in this amazing community program. (Fingers crossed that more Aussie Indie Bookshops jump on board for 2022!) Oh, and let's not forget the annual #BookLoversDay on August 9th! (Yeah, not specifically romance-related, but I'm sure we can appreciate literature regardless of what genre we love to read most).
If you'd love to learn more about my passion for romance books, stay tuned as I am hoping to share my major project exegesis with you all very shortly.
And for those interested in a HFN contemporary romance set in Australia that explores love between best friends, you can download or buy my debut novel 'Once We Were' from eBook retailers and online bookshops.