Love in the Time of C̶h̶o̶l̶e̶r̶a̶ COVID-19

Ahhh, love…

It truly is a magical thing, so much so that I’m building a career out of writing about it.

And of course, true love is for better or worse, for richer or poorer, and in sickness and in health―whether or not you’ve stood before witnesses and said those words out loud.

My partner of fourteen years, Ben, has been by my side through shoulder surgery, foot surgery, two visits to the emergency room (both in the US and both at ridiculous cost to my respective insurance companies, but that’s another post), anxiety attacks, bouts of depression, the worst flu I’ve ever had, inexplicable dizzy spells, migraines, that weird rash I got in Bali that lasted the better part of a year, and various maladies that have visited me from time to time just because I am a human who lives in the world.

When it comes to being unwell, he’s my person.

But I’m starting to see social media populated with THE BIG QUESTION from fellow romance authors: Do we write the coronavirus into our contemporary romances?

My short answer―and this is me speaking for myself―is ‘no’.

The longer answer―again, just me speaking for myself―is ‘definitely not’.

I’ll tell you why.

We’re already living in a world that’s post-911, post-Brexit, post-GFC, post-Aussie Bushfire Crisis, mid-Trump and mid-Climate Change Crisis. There are likely others, but this list was as much as my hopefully romantic brain could summon.

And those global events do permeate contemporary fiction, including romance, even if it’s just a line about getting a work visa, the winery being lucky to escape the bushfires, admiring Greta Thunberg, popping a bottle into the recycling, or what can and can’t be taken onto a plane.

Of course, with the #MeToo movement (as an aside, me too but, again, that’s another post), contemporary romance authors are (more openly) addressing consent, and as a genre, we’ve been writing about safe sex for years.

So, why add COVID-19 to the mix?

No doubt, there are some clever (and fast-writing) contemporary romance authors who have already started writing, or have even finished, stories where the ‘meet cute’ is having to self-isolate with the best friend/long lost love/biggest nemesis/ex/soon-to-be ex/taboo love interest/the one that got away.

As we head towards a time when we will all (likely) have to isolate ourselves and our time to read increases exponentially, those authors will likely kill it. Awesome!

But, I can’t…

I write travel romances―stories about finding love when you travel. And in a mid-COVID-19 world, I am struggling to find the romance in that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Pop a comment below.

6 thoughts on “Love in the Time of C̶h̶o̶l̶e̶r̶a̶ COVID-19

  1. The people singing from their balconies in Italy witness to our humanity despite the climate of fear all around them. The family gathered outside the window of a nursing home patient in Washington witness to their fierce love despite being barricaded from their loved one’s presence.. Down through the centuries, the ongoing message of human love resonates, breaking through the tragedies of war, plagues of all sorts,and nature’s catastrophes, to proclaim that we are warriors of love and it is love that defines us. Yes, yes, yes … as writers, we must witness to this absolute truth and reframe it again and again in all we write.

  2. It’s a big no from me, too. We can celebrate resiliency in our MCs without jumping on the bandwagon of fear perpetuated by media outlets. The virus is serious, but it can be controlled if we stop thinking about ourselves

  3. Please no ‘c’ word in our lovely romance novels! Let’s have a lovely place to escape to, with none of this craziness. Fab post, as always. Xx

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