“What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more!”

We are two, thirty-something females who have kids and very busy lives. It’s rare for us to break away from our routines and find time for ourselves, but when we do, one could almost always find us snuggled in bed with a book. We read for a number of reasons, but most often we read to escape. We’re sure it has something to do with the amount of estrogen coursing through our bodies, but we adamantly believe that all great novels need some kind of romance in the plot. A book can be beautifully written and have an incredible plot line, but it could have been better if the author added even a subplot of romance. You may disagree with us, but apparently, we’re not alone.

In 2010, The Romance Writers of America published some statistics regarding the sales of books:
•Romance fiction: $1.358 billion in estimated revenue for 2010
Religion/inspirational: $759 million
Mystery: $682 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $559 million
Classic literary fiction: $455 million

Although the 2011 revenue statistics are not presently available, the projected romance fiction revenue was around $1.368 billion. As you can see, this genre is blowing all others away.

We discussed this fact at length one evening, and came to the conclusion that our society’s obsession with romance fiction stems from a deeply rooted void regarding “love.” Today’s media outlets flood our minds with images and ideas about what “true” love is and what it’s supposed to “feel” like. But clearly, this definition is flawed. Divorce rates are at an all-time high and as a result, society’s view of marriage is deteriorating. More and more couples are living together without getting married because everywhere we look we’re told that love is temporary. It’s a feeling capable of waxing and waning, so we just need to enjoy it while it lasts. We believe this tragic reality is precisely what is driving millions of women (and a few good men) to purchase romance fiction.

There’s something captivating about a “written” love story. The characters are often times held to higher standards, they’re better communicators, and their love usually isn’t tainted by some depraved societal norm. At the end of most romance novels, the reader is left with a believable hope that the hero and heroine will be together forever. This “fantasy” is exactly what our “love-starved” society is craving.

Before we set out to write our own “epic” love story, we knew we had some work to do. We wanted our story to redefine society’s definition of love. However, we were fully aware that this task would be no easy feat, for we are only two estrogen-driven females up against a testosterone-driven entertainment business. In less than 500 pages, we wanted our readers to make an emotional connection to our characters, forget about their preconceived notions of love, and believe that “true” love is possible.

We began our research for the perfect definition of love with Wikipedia (the most accurate research tool in existence), Dictionary.com, and Google, and we discovered…NOTHING. Apparently the internet is as ignorant of the definition of love as our society. Because our internet efforts were in vain, we were left with no other choice than to seek the meaning of love from the ultimate love story—The Bible. Regardless of a person’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof), there’s a reason 1 Corinthians 13 is read at almost every wedding, for it is here that we learn the purest definition of love.

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

We believe there is no better definition of love than this. We wanted our hero and heroine to embody these principles; we wanted every decision they faced to be governed by these ideals. Because THIS is true love in its purest form, and THAT is what our society is missing and WHAT readers are searching for in books.

Once we found our “true” love definition, our plot began to unfold quickly. We needed only to remember these principles whenever our characters were faced with a choice. When our book was finished, we discovered it had a recurring theme: The opposite of love is not hate but rather—self.

We live in an incredibly self-seeking society. Everyone is looking out for numero uno and, as a result, has very little regard for the feelings of others. It is our hope, however pretentious it may be, that our book will inspire its readers to redefine their personal definition of love. Long after the last page is read, we want our readers to know that our characters’ love will carry on forever, even if the choices they make don’t adhere to society’s definition of what “true” love is.

For your listening pleasure…some “epic” love songs:

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4 thoughts on ““What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more!”

  1. 21bookworm says:

    The Word of God does indeed give us the example for the purest form of love in His Son, Jesus Christ, as explained in 1 Corinthians 13. I am eager to read your book to find out what happens!

  2. Laurie Dunnette says:

    You both have a lot of wisdom, friends!! Keep on writing. You’re both very gifted. I’m waiting for your book to get published.

  3. JEK says:

    Great article! I think you hit the nail on the head. Even when a book isnt directly about love, it has love in it. Whether it be romantic, for family, for a friend or for a pure stranger. Love is a part of how we interact as people which is why I think its so popular in books.

  4. Awesome! And I agree 100%
    I try to implement this love in my stories. Sometimes my MC’s are not with the guy who shows this true type of love, and they realize it after meeting a guy friend who does. And sometimes my MC doesn’t even know what this love is, and is shown through another. 🙂
    Anyways, I think we’re on the same *page* about this topic. 😉

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