Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beauty and the Beast: Thoughts on the Romance Genre by "David's Song" Author A.R. Talley

davids tour
David's Song (Blurb from the book cover)
Annie only ever really loved two men in her life. One broke her heart, the other married her. Four children and fifteen years later, Annie’s marriage is in jeopardy. Money is tight and her husband questions the very foundation of their relationship. When Annie is unexpectedly given the opportunity to see the young man who broke her heart — a man who is now a megastar in the music industry — Annie is faced with choices. Choices that will determine what is of more value — a second chance at lost love and unfulfilled dreams or commitment, trust, and love built on years of experience. A psychologically subtle, yet compelling tale about how the instinct and need for love overcomes self-doubt and personal inadequacy.   

Praise from reviews on 
"Not just your typical romance novel" - Tracy Williams 
"David's Song is great read that leaves you thinking about the story and pondering your own relationships". - Anna Pavkov  
"Sucked me in from the 1st page" - Jill Walker 
"Loved this book . . . could not put it down!" - Dana Vieira 

Beauty and the Beast: My thoughts on the romance genre.
by A.R. Talley

First let me say . . . I love a good romance. I celebrated my birthday recently and my sweet husband went to the bookstore to buy me a romance.  After wandering the aisles for a while, he gave up, deciding he had no clue on how to choose a good romance, and came home with Grammar for Dummies.  I wonder what he was trying to tell me?  But I digress . . .

First and foremost, like in any genre, a good romance has to have characters that the reader cares about. Probably one of my biggest complaints about the romance genre is the superficial treatment of the subject.  If John has rippling muscles, can bring a girl to ecstasy with a simple look, he somehow ends up being the great romantic hero. Likewise, if Jane is beautiful, snappy and independent, but not so much so that John can't win her over, then she is the romantic heroine. Those are generalizations, of course, not all romances follow that pattern, but many do.  Too often the physical relationship gets treated as the end-all in romance, and there is little character development.  I sometimes read these books and wonder, "why are these two people together?"  That's not to say that a 'love at first sight' story isn't fun - but to me there needs to be more to sustain a relationship than that first glimpse.

For that reason, I think the romance genre gets downplayed as something to entertain bored women. When in actuality, a good romance can uplift, teach, and fill a need women have to examine personal relationships.

Romance can also be formulaic in plot. I find this particularly true in historical romance.  The wealthy man (or woman) falls for someone of a lower class - someone unsuitable. Depending on how the plot line is treated it can be amusing and interesting, or predictable and numbing. 

Some of the best romances I have read end up tragically.  A little known book (at least I think it's little known. I personally don't know anyone else who has read it), that I absolutely love is Elizabeth Gaskell's Sylvia's Lovers. A tragic romance if there ever was one, but WOW, do the characters ever develop and after reading it, I looked at my own relationship with more appreciation. (Needless to say I highly recommend the book.  It's not an easy read, and not one I would take to the beach, but it is well worth the effort.)  

I also am a sucker for a good romantic line. Diana Galbadon seems to have mastered the art in her Outlander series.  As much as I love those lines, however, I have a difficult time with that series because of descriptive sexual content and language. Some people like that—I don't.  And I think it's kind of sad that the romance genre has moved more to the erotic. In my mind it cheapens relationships where the physical enhances the emotional and spiritual rather than the other way around. That's not to say I don't like reading about a well-timed, well-executed kiss . . . because I do!!!  But I don't need much more than that when I'm reading.  I like it when some things are left to the imagination.

I hope that my own work, David's Song, reflects some of what I believe true romance is. Yes, the men are good looking (don't all women want that?), but I hope I have made David and Jeremy more than pretty faces. I was also hoping to reinforce the idea that committed, long-term relationships, even with their struggles can be romantic as well.  One of my favorite quotes, and I don't know who said this, is : "Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion, but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate."  I'd like to hope that I can reflect some of that sentiment in my writing. 

Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Meet Author A.R. Talley 
April R. Talley was born and raised in the Rubber City, Akron, Ohio in 1959. She is the youngest of six children. She attended Brigham Young University for a time, but withdrew to work fulltime for Osmond Productions in Orem, Utah as a member of The Osmond production staff. After a brief stint working in television, she returned to Akron to finish her education. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Mass Media Communications in 1981. April later worked as vice president and part owner of a dance and sportswear boutique. Married in 1982, she is the proud mother of seven children and is deeply involved in volunteer work for her church. April spends her time working on future projects, caring for home and family, and traveling. David’s Song is her debut novel and the first of a trilogy. 

Blog Tour Giveaway 
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash 
Ends 5/15/13    

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the release of your debut novel. David's Song sounds interesting and a book I would enjoy reading.