When I tell people that I write romance novels, their eyes go wide, their brows lift, their mouths make that perfect O of surprise. They're thinking FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY. I tell them I write for Harlequin, and they are impressed -- a "real" author, they say, with a recognizable publishing house. But they're still scandalized.
Then I tell them I write for Harlequin Heartwarming -- bedroom door firmly closed, language squeaky-clean -- even cleaner than some PG-13 films I've seen.
They give me the same puzzled look I give the hapless someone who offers me a Diet Caffeine-Free Coca Cola. What's the point, they ask, if there's no buzz?
The point is, there's plenty of buzz. Buzz is in the romance, not necessarily the sex. All of my Heartwarming sisters, I believe, have weighed in on this, and I think they've all given a wonderful argument about why we enjoy writing something that could easily be PG rated at the movie theater.
But this weekend, I thought of yet another reason why I'm glad I write for Harlequin Heartwarming.
She is 12, and through no real design by me, she is incredibly sheltered. By the time I was her age, I knew EXACTLY what the birds and the bees were up to, and the hows, if not exactly all the whys.
Now don't get me wrong. We've had not only THE talk, but lots of little talks, where when the time is right, I broach subjects and explain things. She knows the mechanics (or at least, she has been subjected to multiple lectures by me). But she's still (thank you, thank you, thank you!) in that stage where boys are completely "ugh" material.
I credit that to the fact that she is an only child, with no big sister, and no older cousins, and that I've been pretty particular in what I let her watch and read.
But you know what? I could hand her any Heartwarming book -- ANY one of them -- and she would get a good, emotion-filled story that was not too much for her, one that would give her a good sense of what she will hopefully experience when she meets her own Prince Charming. And there would be no need for me to explain anything to her.
That's just one more reason I love writing for Heartwarming!