Friday, September 18, 2020

What We Really Want from a Romance Novel ~ Cassidy Wells

I love hearing other authors talk about their perspectives on writing or on their own writing journey. I'll be featuring at least one author or artist here on One Woman's Write each month. I've invited author Cassidy Wells to get us started. Welcome, Cassidy.

I haven’t always loved romance novels. Frankly, the ones I read in my early 30s were historical romance, and the female characters were controlled by men. As I think back on them, it amazes me that I could believe that a woman would fall for man when the relationship was so unequal and nonconsensual. Well, I was young, and it was a much different time.

Just as society has changed over the years, and women have demanded relationship equality, romance novels have changed, too. These days the romance heroine isn’t saved by the hero; she very often saves herself and others.

Romance novels are increasingly popular. In fact, they may be one of the most popular genres of fiction. Romance readers span all age ranges, and the types of romance novels are diverse and varied. Some take place in exotic locales, others in small towns. Some characters are young adults and the romance is a coming of age story. Others are in their late twenties and early thirties. Still other stories are known as “seasoned” romance with main characters in their forties and beyond. The search for love isn’t confined to only certain ages anymore.

Sometimes the romance is sweet, and sexuality is alluded to in “fade out” scenes, much like old Hollywood romantic comedies. Others are explicit and paint the picture of how sexuality is expressed naturally within the context of the growing relationship.

At the center of a romance novel is always a relationship. Whatever emotional baggage the main and supporting characters bring into the story, they must make the changes necessary to grow beyond their history, their experiences, and their relationship foibles. The love story is always central.

There may be danger and war, or threats and villains that jeopardize the characters and the relationship. Sometimes the theme is a second chance romance after an earlier relationship has crashed and burned. Some are stories of friends who turn into lovers. Some stories explore love at first sight. Others tell of relationships that mature like fine wine over years or even decades.

Usually the main characters in romance novels, just like people in real life, struggle to overcome trust issues; insecurities; fear; commitment issues; unrealistic expectations; histories of abuse, rejection, loneliness and trauma; misunderstandings and communication problems; and different beliefs about what the future could bring, if, in fact, love really could conquer all.

The most important promise of a romance novel is of a happy ending—a “happily ever after,” or at least a “happily for now.” The appeal is that the internal or external issues that threaten the relationship are resolved and leave the lovers to appreciate each other in new ways. Those of us who become invested in their story are left feeling emotionally satisfied and optimistic.

These days, the power of romance novels and this happy ending is even more compelling as people throughout the world are faced with the uncertainty of a global pandemic. Our lives have changed, and our relationships have changed. Many of us feel disconnected by the circumstances health concerns impose upon us.

The good news is that there may be more time to read and lose ourselves in challenging, but ultimately hopeful relationships found in the different types of romance novels. Despite the fact that they are fictional, they provide an outlet for our own hopes and dreams for love and optimism.

After all, isn’t that what we all want? Love, romance, and most of all, hope for a happy ending.


Cassidy Wells is a snarky, sassy, outspoken storyteller, and the author of an increasing pile of romance novels. She is 32 today, tomorrow, and perpetually. Cassidy is the invention of a former psychologist who decided to abandon the couch for the pen (well, really for keyboard and word-processing software). After years of doing psychotherapy, Cassidy decided to ensure that her characters made the changes she always wanted her clients to make. Get a FREE copy of That Night in CancĂșn at That Night in CancĂșn is the story of what can happen when you’re far from home under a tropical moon, with something to prove… Also check out her Ridgeview, Tennessee Series, which takes place in a small town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

You can also read my review of Cassidy's book: Saved by a Warrior Dog: A Military Romance on

1 comment:

linda_rettstatt said...

Romance novels have changed over the years, but the happily ever after (or for now) remains the same. That's something I love about reading and writing romance. You can be assured of a happy ending, even if it's a rocky road to get there. As for age, I've enjoyed writing 'seasoned' romance with older characters and stories that might appeal to older readers. Thanks so much for your post.