Ever since I started to read for fun I have always been drawn to romance novels. Sure, I also read fiction, mystery, YA, and even Sci-fi but my favorite part of those books has always been the love story written as a subplot.
Will the vampire fall in love with the human? Did Julia ever love Winston in 1984? Did Hans fall for Leia first or did she fall for him?
No matter what I read I couldn’t get enough of the secret romance, the forbidden love, or the love lost because of an outside force stopping it. My heart swooned for the unrequited love and the sacrifice someone gives for their loved one’s safety or happiness. I could imagine me in these plots, saying the dialog lines as if it were a movie in my head and I was cast as the lead. However, the more romances I read the more the casting began to change.
The more self-aware I became, the harder it was to digest the words on the page. It seemed like every romantic heroine was “lithe” or “delicately framed”. She was the girl that no one noticed before him, or the character turned into CEO’s sex doll after putting on a little lipstick and changing their clothes.
Please, don’t think for one second that I still don’t love those stories, because I do. It just isn’t my truth. It isn’t what I see represented for me and my friends around me. I’m not lithe or small or delicate. I feel insecure but I don’t need a man to validate me and I sure as hell won’t put up with a man’s stalking me when I want out of the relationship. Sometimes I want the fantasy to be a little more representative of the woman I see around me that aren’t perfect, that isn’t the size of a Victoria Secret model.
Someone asked me if I wrote my character Kayla in Divorce XL to be plus sized because I was plus size. I wanted to tell them to kiss my ass and give them the one-finger salute, but the more I thought about it the more it was true. Kayla is plus sized because I’m plus size but that doesn’t mean that she represents me in the novel. That would be as vapid as assuming that every romance writer writes themselves as the female heroine. Absurd.
Are there areas of the story that I write from personal experience? Um… yeah. That’s part of what makes the story so intriguing while reading.
Does Kayla represent me as a complete person? No. She is a part of my imagination.
Am I ashamed that she is plus size? Hell NO. There is nothing wrong with writing a romance where the girl isn’t a size 0. Big girls need love too, and there are plenty of real-life love stories where the man isn’t into stick figures. #nobodyshame
If you have any book recommendations for me to read I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!
L. R. Rutherford