What do Nancy Drew, The Black Stallion, and All Creatures Great and Small have to do with writing romance? Nothing. And everything. For me.
They were my core books when I was young, and as an adult I still count them among my all time favorites. Though each series represents a different genre, Mystery, Adventure, and Creative Memoir, were I to distill them into a representative word, it would be: love.
Nancy Drew and her friends, George and Bess, were best friends. No matter the threat or inconvenience to them, Bess and George aided Nancy during her unsanctioned investigations. They had her back, as she had theirs. Through thick and thin, good guys and bad, they stuck together, offering support, protection, advice, and, at times, intervention, and forgiveness. Theirs was a true friendship, hearts and minds linked despite their disparate personalities.
Alex and the Black share a similar friendship in The Black Stallion series. Stranded on a deserted island, boy and horse learn to appreciate, respect, nurture, and protect the other in order to survive, a human/equine bond unbroken by their eventual rescue, and that transcends many human/human relationships.
All Creatures Great and Small is another peek into human/animal connections. Cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, horses, pigs; James Herriot treated all and more during his decades as a country veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales. But his heart-warming and humorous series is less about the mechanics of veterinary medicine (though there's no lack of interesting and hysterically funny treatments and job-related mishaps) and more about the deep and enduring attachment humans have to their animals, and the sacrifices they're willing to make, and the great physical and financial burdens they're willing to accept, to preserve the lives and limbs of their furred and feathered companions.
Three different series. Three different authors. All writing about the same thing: love.
Love is at the heart of Romance. And that is why I write Romance.
What about you? What do you read, or write? And why? What is it you seek from the stories you read, and/or write?
Please share in the comments.