Sunday, March 18, 2007

Love is ...

By Florence Cardinal

As the old song says, "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing." Love is what romantic fiction is all about - love found, love lost, the never-ending search for true love.

It's also a many faceted thing. Love begins, not with romantic love, but with love of family, of friends, of pets, all this in the years between birth and puberty. Once a boy or a girl hits a certain age, the thrills and pain of romantic love set in. Let's take a look at love.

Again an old song comes to mind, and I remember Sonny James crooning: "Young love, true love, filled with true devotion." This is a sweet love, and a prelude to things to come. This is the age for holding hands, that first tentative kiss, first dates and, alas, the first heartbreak. That "true devotion" is only temporary, and one partner drifts away to experience a new, more exciting love, leaving the former love alone and bereft. Never to love again, at least until the next week or day or even hour.

This is the stuff that makes up the young adult market, like books in the Bantam Sweet Dreams imprint. These are books written for teenagers (and younger.) They show young people on the verge of starting on the journey to find true love and that one person just right for them.

Many publishers love to receive a good young adult book and some have an imprint just for these books.

These books run the gamut, from sweet love to troubled love to passion and erotica. Here we find people who probably have met that one person just for them, but circumstances are keeping them apart. Problems and villains raise their ugly heads and threaten a happy outcome for the couple.

These are what most people expect when they pick up a romance novel. This genre began with the old Mills and Boon books so many years ago and continue to flourish to this day. At one time scoffed at and ridiculed, romance authors have shown their true colors and persevered to take the market by storm.

As well as the romances between a man and a woman (books that cover several ethic groups,) these novels have evolved to include gay romances and stories that include creatures that aren't entirely human - werewolves and vampires. They cover the years from way back in history to way forward into the future, and take place in alternate worlds, futuristic worlds and on a distant star.

Are you writing a romantic novel - a love story? A great place to get it critiqued is the IWW Lovestory-L list where other writers will exchange critiques with you. One book that was critiqued on the Lovestory-L list was Jenny's Legacy by Cassandra Barnes.

And the stories don't stop there. Older adults, people that may have moved on past the passionate glow of younger romance, will find books that will appeal to them as well, whether they are starting a new career, seeking someone for companionship or wrapped up in children and grandchildren. And who knows? Love can crop up anywhere, no matter the situation or the age. Because "Love is a many splendored thing."

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