Saturday, February 13, 2010

Smart Woman: Vicki Hinze, contemporary romance author and PhD

As we careen to a stop one day ahead of Valentine's Day, we welcome the multi-published-in-many-genres-of-romance author Vicki Hinze to bring up our rear (metaphorically speaking) as she gives us her perspective on our theme, "Smart Women (and Men) Read Romance." As well as being an award-winning author, Vicki holds a Doctorate in Philosophy, Theocentric Business & Ethics, and her thoughtful articles on life, love, and God can be explored in greater depth on her site.

Be sure to leave a comment to be eligible to win today's prize, an advance copy of Vicki's latest release, FORGET ME NOT, and the second of two copies of Don Helin's thriller, THY KINGDOM COME, both donated by the authors. (Please see my contest page for eligibility details.) If your name is chosen, you must claim your prize by e-mailing me at tjb @ tjbennett . com (no spaces) by February 14, 2010, or I will award it to someone more worthy. Just kidding. About the worthy part, not about giving away your prize. So be sure to check back to see if you've won, okay? And let your subject line be the name of the prize.

I want to thank everyone for participating in this event, from the brilliant authors to my wonderful IMHO readers, all of whom love and support romance. I hope we've succeeded in shattering a few of the romance stereotypes that abound. Check back with IMHO soon, as I've always got schemes within schemes in the works. If you want to be in the know, be sure to sign up as a follower of my blog and subscribe to my newsletter, and you'll be the first to get the word about any new events.

But before I go, let me give you one more snappy comeback for your now nearly-exhausted nattering naysayer, shall I?

Your nattering naysayer: "Romance readers are largely an uneducated lot who don't have the intellectual capacity to read a real book like the ones I read in college."

Your knowing response: "Yet again, mon ami, you are uninformed. In Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice, Suzanne Milton of Eastern Washington State University cited a 2004 RWA study of the educational levels of romance readers. It showed that 91 percent had some college education, and the biggest group, 42 percent, held a bachelor's degree or higher.

Romance novels, and educated readers, have been around for a long time. Many classic books which today are assigned as college texts can be classified as romance novels. Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice are prime examples. So, it just goes to show you, smart people do read romance!"
And may I add, Happy Valentine's Day!

Vicki Hinze:
Why Smart Women Read Romance: Healthy Relationships are a National Treasure.

The demographics of the average romance reader are fascinating--and vastly different from that portrayed by the uninformed. That reader is around forty, and a professional career woman with some college education.

Historically leaders have shaped society. Today, our culture remains as dynamic as ever and it’s still in a constant state of evolution, but heroic leadership is scarce. In short, we need heroes—male and female—to serve as role models.

Heroes are people we admire. They help us form our attitudes and define the boundaries of what we consider acceptable and unacceptable, including in the areas of behavior and conduct. They are not people like us, but like the people we want to be. People who do the right thing—or who do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Heroes are not perfect. They struggle, just as we do, and yet they hold deep convictions, high standards, and a strong code of personal ethics that enables them to prevail over their challenges. Those human qualities--honor, integrity, courage, and dignity--are found consistently in romance novels. Healthy, monogamous relationships are the norm, not the exception. In a world too often propagating the mindset that women set lower expectations, smart women know that doing so leads only to more sub-standard results and they set those expectations higher. It is, after all, typically women who raise boys into the men they become.

These are but a few of the reasons thinking women make romance novels popular in the market—to the tune of a billion dollar a year industry. In these novels, we find people with motives, courage, and convictions we respect.

Collectively, women largely resent moral decay and deplore the absence of true character. True character more so than any other reason--including our innate fascination with and belief in the healing and restorative powers of love--has enabled romance novels to stretch the boundaries established in the genre’s infancy into the versatile market it is today.

There is, of course, good and bad in everything, and this genre of novels is no more an exception than any other. Yet by and large romance novels are thoughtful stories for thinking women. Some still don’t grasp the fact that women are every bit as engaged in the world and all the subjects/topics that involves. There are no topics “of no interest to women.” Women are women, but also mothers, daughters, sisters. If it involves human beings, women are interested and invested. Yet there are those who continue to consider romance novels trash.

I’ll leave it to those compelled to defend the books to defend the genre. In my eyes, romance novels require no defense. Smart women read romance, they share, bond, experience, grow, gain insight and information through reading them. In my own experience as a reader and author, the novels have proven not only their worth but have led me to conclude that romance novels, and the smart women who read them, are national treasures.

Bio: Vicki holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and a Doctorate in Philosophy, Theocentric Business & Ethics. Her first published novel, a romantic suspense, was a bestseller that sold in nearly a dozen foreign countries. Since then, she's shifted writing focus several times. After co-creating the first single-title open-ended continuity series, she turned to military life and has been credited with a Career Achievement Award for being one of the first to write military romantic suspense, military romantic intrigue, and military romantic thrillers. Her willingness to take risks and blaze trails has won her many prestigious nominations and awards. She actively lectures on writing craft and technique and philosophy.


KR said...

Loved the last sentence - Romance novels and the smart women who read them ARE national treasures!" Thanks Vicky.


Jane L said...

Vicki! Thanks for the great opinion on this subject! I so love the world of romance and this week proooves I am in EXCELLANT company! LOL! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Vicki Hinze said...

LOL. You're very welcome, Jane.

MJ, so glad you see the worth in it!



Jane said...

Thanks for a great post, Vicki.

Linda Henderson said...

I enjoy reading romance and I am proud of it. Thanks for your contributions. I always enjoy your books.

Vicki Hinze said...

Thank you, Jane and Linda. I appreciate your comments and your support.



chey said...

Hi Vicki,
Great post!
I enjoy your books your books!

Sue A. said...

I find reading romances to be uplifting and facing the world with a positive light makes for smart decisions.
Thanks Vicki for giving me a lift.

Unknown said...

I am going to try to comment again it wouldn't go through earlier.

I loved this line "Smart women read romance, they share, bond, experience, grow, gain insight and information through reading them." I don't think people realize just how much we learn from romance novels. It seems like a learn something every day when I am reading and about the only thing I read is romance. This must mean something.