I’ve been pulling out my hair here, trying to think of something to write about, so instead of trying to be original—it ain’t working, by the way—I’m going for something tried and true. As soon as I figure out which thing that might be, I’ll go on.
This moment of silence is the sound of time passing while I think…
I started reading romances when I was in junior high. There weren’t very many publishers, and the genre was even less respected by non-romance-readers than it is now. Harlequin Romances all took place in exotic locations and way too many of the heroes were old enough to be the heroines’ fathers. There wasn’t any sex, nor was there any mention of anything even distantly related to a social issue. (Other than what some of us would now consider pedophilia, that is.)
I was then and still am absolutely captivated by the concept of Happily Ever After, so even though my reading leans more toward women’s fiction than straight romance these days, I still want my happy ending, thank you very much.
But I have a question for you—which I’ll get to. Honest. I think many of the changes over the years since I was in junior high have been wonderful ones. There is a sub-genre to suit everyone. If you don’t happen to like certain trends (like me and vampires), no problem—there are tons of other books out there to read. But I still miss…something. Just sometimes, and I was having such a time putting my finger on what it was I miss. But now I know.
Contest judges and the occasional editor have referred to my voice as “old-fashioned”—not much of a stretch because in many ways, I am old-fashioned. And it would be a shame if an out-of-date voice was what you got every time you picked up a romance. But I also think it’s too bad when old-fashioned becomes synonymous with obsolete.
I miss Betty Neels. I miss LaVyrle Spencer. I miss early Nora Roberts and Mary Balogh. Sometimes, when I’m struggling to sound so much younger in written prose than I really am, I miss me.
Which brings me to my question—what about you? Is there anything you miss from the “olden days” of romance?