|"What would a newspaper look like if the food pages could never talk about desserts? If the music pages couldn't talk about folk or rock? If the only movies reviewed were the art films?"||
Welcome to Jo Beverley's media page. Jo Beverley is one of Canada's most successful romance authors, and one of Canada's bestselling authors. She was included in a Maclean's article on successful Canadian writers who are ignored by the media and the Canadian Literary Establishment. Read the article here.Go to Jo Beverley's main page here
You can read the text of a talk Jo gave to romance readers in Portland, Oregon, in 2002 that makes her thoughts on the genre and its popularity clear, but below are some of the highlights.
Never having read a romance novel doesn't stop people assuming they know everything about them, and the errors are amusing. Some people think they are nothing but sex scenes, quite possibly rapes. Others think they're candy floss fiction that stops at a blushing, hesitant kiss.
A good romance novel is like real chocolate -- little bit sweet, a little bit dark, rich, sensuous, and completely delicious, and we are all very fortunate, blessed, really, to be readers, to be able to enjoy them.
Sadly, too many people today seem to have lost the ability to really read. Many can't absorb the words of fiction, and of those who can, many feel that fiction has to be worthy in some way or it's a waste of time.
We can't have people simply reading fiction and enjoying it, can we? The peculiar thing is that we don't accept the same cold restrictions on our other pleasures. What would a newspaper look like if the food pages could never talk about desserts? If the music pages couldn't talk about folk or rock? If the only movies reviewed were the art films?
55% of all paperback sales are romance novels. Romances are a third more popular than mysteries and five times more popular than science fiction and fantasy. Over 2000 romance novels are published a year in North America for the reading pleasure of over 52 million readers. .Check the facts here.
It's a shame, however, that so many people in the media and academia seem to make it their crusade to make these readers feel ashamed of enjoying their literary dessert.
People will sometimes sneer at escapist reading, but they don't sneer at escapist sports, or escapist tai chi, or even at escapist drinking unless the person is an alcoholic. There's nothing wrong with stepping aside from reality now and then.Women in particular often lack space. Virginia Woolf wrote of a woman writer's need of a room of her own, a concept that I doubt has troubled most male writers. When I read autobiographical material by male authors, I'm struck by the assumption of privacy in which to write, and generally an assumption that somebody -- usually a wife -- will handle life's distractions while they do the important stuff, which is to write.
Whether writers or readers, women are entitled to our chocolate -- real, and metaphorical. We are entitled to our enjoyment of our imaginary lives. It is a good and healthy thing to take time for ourselves, to resist the pressure to live constantly in the service of others, whether it's spouse, children, parents, siblings, colleagues, friends, neighbors, or the PTA.
Yes, Virginia, love exists and men and women can have healthy lives together. You only need to look around you to see the evidence. Romance novels carry the flame of this essential truth. They make up a rich and deep world of voices, a world of choices, with a story for almost everyone. And that's why romance is the most popular form of fiction today.
|"Romances are a third more popular than mysteries and five times more popular than science fiction and fantasy."|