I imagine the title to this post will have been used many time in the past few months, so forgive me if you’ve seen it before.
The point of this post is to ask - given the strange times in which we’re living, are romance novels all that important?
I’ve taken part in several giveaways recently, trying to build my mailing list with a free copy of my novella A Bouquet of White Roses which is the prequel to my first book. In exchange for your email, you got my book.
I’ll be honest, I thought that to offer a romance novella when people aren’t allowed to meet, let alone touch one another outside the household, might be a doomed enterprise, even if the book was free.
I was wrong.
Not only has my mailing list grown out of all recognition, new subscribers hail from all over the world. As well as hundreds of readers from the UK and the United States, I’ve had subscribers from all over Europe, including Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden and Turkey.
They’re also from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, India, Trinidad and Tobago, Brunei, the Philippines, Barbados, Kenya, Indonesia, Egypt, St Kitts, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Israel, Venezuela, Zambia and Suriname.
For a moment, I was reassured. Love conquers all! And then I noticed - no subscribers at all from Italy, where COVID-19 is decimating the population in the North of the country.
This is all conjecture, obviously. It may be that romance readers in Italy adore their own language so much, they don’t want to read in English, or indeed, they have their own favourite authors and don’t need anyone else to add to their list.
Or it could be that in this instance, real life is so compelling, so frightening, that to take your mind off it for a moment, even with something so harmless as a romance novel, might be fatal?
Frankly, I don’t know. What’s your view?