Sunday, April 26, 2009
What Your Mama Told You
I'm back from the Romance Conference at Princeton--and wow, do I have a lot to report. It was a fascinating event, with some great papers and presenters...but I need time to process before I can give a full update. There was just too much to fit in my brain and spit it back out neatly.
As a teaser: a story and a question. Sarah Frantz, one of the academics in attendance, told a story in the context of her paper about reading her first BDSM romance--a relatively tame Harlequin that was handed to her by her mother with the remark "This one has bondage!" when she was fifteen.
I know a lot of women were introduced to the romance genre by their mothers (or sometimes older sisters). I'm in the awkward position of having introduced my mother to the genre. She picked up her first romances after she learned I was writing one and working at a romance-related corporation (my former, pre-grad school job).
I'm a long way off from having a teen or pre-teen daughter. Or son for that matter. But I'm not sure whether I will be comfortable sharing romance novels with her or him. I hope I will be! I hope I'll be a published author well before then and that romances will be like wallpaper to my kids--ordinary, taken for granted aspects of their environment. Nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about.
So, to the Damned Scribbling Women and friends: How did you start reading romance? How should mothers and children (daughters and sons) relate together over romance novels?