If you've ever faced negative judgment for loving romance novels ("you're reading that?")—or you've looked for the words to express exactly why you love romance novels . . . look no further than Sarah Wendell, the "doyenne, mastermind, and general overlady" of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.
On her site, Wendell critiques romance novels, doling out grades from "A" to "F." She is an expert on the genre; her first book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, has been assigned in Ivy League courses, and she's been quoted in the New York Times, Salon and many other news outlets.
But back to my first questions. Wendell's newest book is called Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels, and it is part-love letter to the genre, part-friendly self-help guide and part-joyful poking fun at the tropes of romance.
The book came out on Saturday, and you can read a Q&A with Wendell on BookPage.com right now. I had to ask her:
- Why are romance novels so addictive?
- What is the most common misconception about romance novels?
- What kind of romance novel would she love to live in?
- And more!
Click over to BookPage.com to join the fun. And we'd love for you to answer those questions yourself, right here in the comments. I'll go first: I'm a sap for happy endings and feisty heroines. The most common misconception about romance novels is that the stories are not substantive—as one person kindly mentioned to me when I mentioned that I was going to the Romance Writers of America conference. And if I could be in any kind of romance novel . . . I'd want to be in a Regency! Or maybe a Western. :)