• rowan helaine

The Childfree Need Love Too!

Don't worry. I've seen enough hate posts about disapproving outsiders trying to reform the romance genre. I know a lot of traditional romance fans came here prepared to say, "Don't you come for my HEA, I will fucking cut you." In anticipation of this, I would like to state up front that I have zero desire to fix the romantic genre (save virgin worship, which I maintain is bad for everyone). I don't want to mess with a formula that has brought joy to millions of people. I simply want to expand it beyond its narrow parameters, because like it or not, a lot of people feel left out.

They're everywhere, lurking at the fringes of the fanbase: Childfree romance lovers who feel completely alienated from the genre, because their idea of happily ever after doesn't include parenthood. They trade the names of "safe" titles online. Many have resorted to reading YA fiction almost exclusively, because at least in those stories, the question of marriage and parenthood rarely comes up. But we all crave the thrill of love stories. Erotica is delicious, but many of us want to indulge in a bit of raunch that doesn't sacrifice storyline.

All due respect to those who are into the written-in-stone HEA, because obviously there's a booming market for exactly those sorts of narratives, but personally, my romance reading experience has fallen abysmally short of satisfactory. As a happily childfree woman, I'm really tired of getting halfway or less through a book and giving up because I can't identify with the lead characters. So being the proactive person that I am, I decided to sit down and write my own romance novel. One that could be enjoyed by childfree folks and traditionalists alike. After all, it's not a child hating novel, and the sex is hot.

Ideally, I would love to see the genre expand to the point where Amazon was forced to add a childfree category to their romantic fiction section. That way everyone could find exactly the tale that tickles their funny boners without any unpleasant surprises. I've made peace with the notion of being a niche author, although I like to believe that there are open-minded people out there who want or already have kids and will read it for what it is: A love story centered around two flawed people who have each decided that the other is enough, exactly as they are. Others will decide that it's not for them, and I respect that. I wish I could write to make everyone happy, but I can't.

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