The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach
I have been Beth at Orchard House; Misty, frolicking on Chincoteague; Scarlett, tortured by her own ambitions; Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant heroine, who only wants to keep her family close; Henry Chinaski, the sometimes writer, and Nobody, graveyard orphan.
Reader, I AM Heathcliff.
Well, not Heathcliff, thankfully, but who doesn’t have a few dark moments? Anyway, if you are here, you feel the same way about books.
For me, it got to the point where consuming books simply wasn’t enough. I had to create my own characters. Why romance?
Mostly, DNA. Really. I did one of those DNA tests and there it was – 95% romantic. The rest is nurture. Nana always had stacks of Jude Deveraux and Cassie Edwards around her house and reading them by her pool became a generational bonding experience.
I write romance novels because I love them.
It took my over-educated mind a long time to accept this love.
In college, I majored in English Lit and pretended not to read romance novels. (Secretly, though, if one of the great classics didn’t have a romantic subplot, I made one up.) In grad school, I tried to justify reading romance novels by proposing a study called “Why Women Read Romance Novels?” (Conclusion: They are fun.)
So when I sat down to write a book, a romance novel popped out. And I realized, as I wrote, that romance novels are not just tales about romantic love. They, like most everything, are a route to LOVE.
As E.M. Forster said, “you can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”
Most of us forget that love is eternal. Call it science, call it religion, or call it the Force, but love is the essential core of all of us. We tend to forget this. Our journey, as humans, is to remember this, to depend on that core and to truly thrive. Otherwise, we risk spending our lives in doubt, fear, anger and yearning.
The romance heroine, like all of us, must face her inner and outer demons, not with a sword and snappy wit, but with an open heart and compassion. Okay, and sometimes a sword. She has to complete herself (Jerry MacGuire not required). If she can’t do that, then she’s not going to be happy with a man. Any man. Or anything.
Luckily, in romance novels, the heroine always succeeds. (Sorry to ruin all the endings.) She completes herself. She wins because she opens her heart and dares to be herself. She also gets true love. Sometimes, he wears a kilt.
Romance novels speak truth, even underneath the rose-colored view. They are fun to read and fun to write. They celebrate love. And LOVE. And hot men it kilts.
I hope my tales bring joy to you.