I Love Writing Romance, I Love Reading Romance – A Guest Blog from bestselling author Michelle Douglas

by |May 15, 2013

“I don’t find writing romance restrictive. I find it liberating.”

Mills & Boon author Michelle Douglas tells us why she loves being a romance author and reader.

The romance genre speaks to me more than any other genre and I’ve wondered about this a lot. One of the reasons, perhaps, is that at heart romance is about joy and there are so few books out there that deal in joy.

Please don’t think I’m a soft-in-the-head Pollyanna with no grip on reality. I’m educated (I’ve the Master of Philosophy to prove it). I love the classics and I love an angst-ridden literary tale as much as the next person, but romance has become my go-to genre.

It has become the genre of my heart.

I love writing romance. I love reading romance. Romances serve to remind me of what’s important—and that’s people and love. By love I’m not just referring to romantic love, but the love people bear for their families and friends too. To be loved and accepted is a basic human need. In that sense romance speaks to an essential and central part of what it means to be human. And when a romance ends with two people I’ve come to care about declaring and celebrating their love for each other within their community, it feels as if all is right with the world. Emotional justice, at least in the pages of this book, has triumphed. It is glorious and life affirming.

I love writing romance. The romances published by Harlequin Mills & Boon are short, intense and emotional, but that doesn’t mean they lack diversity. As a writer, I’ve been free to explore themes as diverse as breast cancer, rape, parenthood, second chances and the meaning of friendship. I’ve explored the effects of domestic violence, the grief of losing a loved one, the importance of fidelity and the impact of betrayal. I don’t find writing romance restrictive. I find it liberating.

I love reading romance. As a reader I can always find a romance to suit my mood, whether I want something sparkling and fun that will make me laugh, something dark and dramatic to get my heart pounding, or something warm and emotional that will confirm my belief in the basic goodness and decency of people. There isn’t another genre that gives me this range of choice.

Don’t believe me? Just have a glance at the variety on offer among Australian Mills & Boon authors. Compare Marion Lennox’s gorgeous modern-day fairy tales that will wrap you in warmth to Annie West’s glamorous and dramatic stories that will have your heart in you mouth. Pick up a Kelly Hunter romance and watch in awe as she pushes the genetic boundaries with stories full of honesty and sass. Read a Sarah Mayberry and marvel at exceptional storytelling. The romance genre has all this and more, and Australian romance authors are at the top of the game.

I love writing romance. I love reading romance. I hope you do too.

10 Comments Share:

About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

Follow Andrew: Twitter


  • Malvina

    May 15, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I love your post Michelle, and agree about reading romance for all the reasons you’ve listed. I think it’s a highly underrated genre. But it will always continue because romance is so beloved by its readers, and always want more. Thankyou!

    • michelledouglas

      May 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      So pleased you enjoyed it, Malvina! I think romance is underrated too, but readers will continue to vote with their wallets and their enthusiasm for the genre. Both of those things mean a lot.

  • May 15, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Wonderful post, Michelle. I love all those authors you’ve mentioned.

    • May 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      I have to say, Jenn, what’s not to love? They always deliver. 🙂

    • michelledouglas

      May 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      I think wordpress ate my initial reply to you, Jen! 🙂 But I totally agree, those authors are wonderful.

  • May 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Beautifully said, Michelle.

  • May 15, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Michelle, well said! There’s something particularly satisfying about a good romance and, as you point out, we have a huge variety to choose from, including a lot of books written by local authors. I’m so chuffed to be mentioned in your list. When I’m in the mood for reading romance nothing else will do. They take us on such wonderful emotional journeys don’t they?

    • michelledouglas

      May 16, 2013 at 11:23 am

      “When I’m in the mood for reading romance nothing else will do.”

      Oh, Annie, I know exactly what you mean! And I really do think we’re spoiled for choice considering the the number of Australian romance authors out there who are writing such compelling stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *