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 COVID-19 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, post-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, 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?
There are some clever (and fast-writing) contemporary romance authors who have already published stories where the ‘meet cute’ is having to isolate with the best friend/long lost love/biggest nemesis/ex/soon-to-be ex/taboo love interest/the one that got away.
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 lockdown love.
And as we sit amid yet another lockdown, having to isolate and forego hugs, travel, live performances, dinner parties, and a myriad of other (close-human-contact) joys, our time to read has increased exponentially. Some will want to read about people finding love during a pandemic, and others will want to avoid it altogether, escaping into a book the way we used to escape to somewhere new in a car or a plane.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What are your writing or reading during the pandemic?