Thursday, March 20, 2014

Guest Post - Alissa Baxter

Romance Fiction vs Everyday Life

Romance novels represent slices of life arranged in such a way that a story can be told. The great thing about these stories (unless you read authors who delight in “padding” their books) is that the focus is on the interesting aspects of a character’s life. If something is dull or mundane, an author will often exclude it from her manuscript if it isn’t necessary to drive the story forward. A good love story will keep you enthralled from beginning to end, and you will close the book with a sigh of satisfaction, having been kept on your toes throughout the tale.

Reading romance fiction, therefore, opens you to a world where you don’t have to deal with ordinary or everyday occurrences. When you read about the heroine’s love life, very few authors will make you wade through pages and pages of descriptions of the dull details of her life, such as what she ate for breakfast, or the hours she spent in the arms of Morpheus (including each snore) before her alarm clock went off the next morning. No, the extraneous details are left out and you are plunged straight into the action.

In real life, however, we don’t get to delete the dull and ordinary from our everyday existence. We live through every minute of every day, and although there may be exciting bits here and there, the vast majority of our lives are made up of things that aren’t particularly special or interesting: brushing teeth, washing hair, showering, putting on clothes in the morning, driving to work in the traffic, walking up a flight of stairs to a school or office, making small talk with a colleague, sitting down at a desk, turning on a computer… We do these things every day, and sometimes I imagine that it would be great fun to fast forward life to the interesting bits, and leave out anything that didn’t measure up to a certain level of excitement.

But life doesn’t consist of an endless supply of exhilarating moments, and even if it did, those extraordinary moments would soon become ordinary if they were in endless supply. It is our recognition of the dull that enables us to appreciate the splendid, and a life well lived consists of the mundane and the exciting, the deep and the shallow. Every ocean has a shore, after all, and the ordinary parts of life only throw the extraordinary into light.

I guess this is why reading romance can be such an escape from real life. The novel is a form of art which can be made up entirely of a series of scenes where interesting things happen. Reading a romantic book is a great way to while away an afternoon or evening. The only instance where it could become problematic, I imagine, would be if someone started to live their life only within the confines of romantic fiction – eschewing the everyday shade and looking only for the escapist light.

Alissa's book, The Blog Affair, is available now from Amazon, Amazon UK, and direct from Decadent Publishing.

Twenty-something, white, South African Emma Bradshaw has a pattern of falling for unsuitable men and starts a blog about these so-called “serial datists”. Her search for new beginnings takes her to Cape Town, where she gets a job working for sexy author, Nick Reynolds. Romance with her boss is a no-no, but slowly, Nick works his way around her defenses. Trust him, or not, especially with her awful track record with men?

When an anonymous male reader of the blog challenges her on her ideas about the male species, Emma realises she must confront her past and find her true self before she can move forward...and love can blossom again in her future.

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