It doesn't happen often, but sometimes I run into somebody who discovers I write romance and instantly decides they need to engage me in a discussion about whether romance is female pornography. This person has always already decided that it is without ever once cracking the cover of a romance novel.
"How can you write THOSE kind of novels?" or "When are you going to write a REAL book?" By THOSE kind, I'm sure the person meant books with explicit sex in them. Ah! You mean like John Updike? Toni Morrison? Norman Mailer and Virginia Wolffe?
This person seemed to want to convince me that reading romance is an addictive activity. Well, as someone who wants to sell a few books, I certainly hope so! There are lots of addictive behaviors that are harmful, but reading about love that lasts doesn't seem to have any detrimental effects. When I tried to explain the studies that had been conducted that show romance readers report more satisfaction with their relationships than those who don't read romance, he didn't want to hear it.
I came away from the exchange feeling as if I should sew a scarlet R on my lapel or something. Then I got on the Boston T to make my way home and lo and behold, there was a man reading a romance novel in public, bold as brass. It even had a pink cover (now there's a man who's secure in his masculinity!) It did my heart good to see it. Whatever pleasure he receives from reading "female porn," I hope he gets a double portion.
The cover at the top of this post is the German translation of ERINSONG by Diana Groe (my serious alter-ego). Sure doesn't look like porn, does it? I'm thrilled that my work has been translated into German, Dutch, Italian and Russian. Visit my website to see all my international covers.