Rob Preece: Do Smart Guys Read Romance?
For a start, we’ve got stories about people. Guy-oriented books tend to be about things and puzzles, which are great, of course. But when you come right down to it, people are what matter and romance authors know this in spades. So, they give us people struggling with human decisions, trying to see if they can be true to themselves while surviving in a world that doesn’t go out of its way to make that easy. And who can’t identify with that?
Not enough for you? How about this? Romance is huge. So big, in fact, that it’s got books for every taste, running from sweet and sappy (ugh, not for me) to sexy, dangerous, and mysterious (that’s more like it). Some of those stories can knock you off your seat and get your blood moving fast. The cool thing is, the women in the stories are getting to have all the fun and, despite what women think, we guys want women to have fun (with us, of course).
Then there’s the fact that ninety-eight percent (or so) of romance readers and authors are women. When they’re writing romance, what are they writing about, really? They’re writing about their fantasies, which happens to be exactly what guys would love to be, right? I see a lot of stories where the problems are resolved when the guy opens up about what’s going on in his head (but with a little tact, of course). Too often, guys think that women should be able to see our actions and get the idea (sort of like how women want us to decipher ‘I’m fine’). Well, how’s that working for you? Romance books are the keys to the code women live and talk by.
On a personal note, when I started dating my wife, a romance author, one of the first things I did was buy, and read, all of her books. She was flattered, of course, but I was smart. I had my hands on the user manual and knew more about what she was looking for than she probably knew herself. The user manual thing can work for you, too. (By the way, I strongly urge you not to refer to it as the “owner’s manual.”)
So, why do smart guys read romance? Because we want stories about people interacting with other people, rather than with machines or murder victims (only). Because we want to learn more about the other half of the world (and see what that other half secretly thinks about us because when they write romance, they’re assuming it’s a no-guy zone). Because reading romance is fun and different—like traveling in a country where they speak a language that’s close enough to English that you can understand if you pay attention. Who knows, maybe reading romance will help out in your relationships with the women in your life (or the women you’d like in your life).
Bio: Rob Preece runs BooksForABuck.com, a small publishing house concentrating on novel-length genre fiction. When he's not editing other people's work, he's writing is own romance, mystery, science fiction and fantasy. He's won several industry awards for writing and was a 2005 RWA Golden Heart Finalist. He's also an accredited Bridge Instructor, certified Bridge Director, a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, holds a Ph.D. in Economics, and has taught bridge and economics at the college level (although not in the same class). A long-time resident of Texas, Rob now lives in California where he's renovating a Victorian house.