Guest Post: The “R” Word by India Drummond

Today I’d like to welcome India Drummond, author of the brand new release Ordinary Angels, to the blog. India’s going to chat with us today about why she hates romance. *gasp!* Grab a strong cuppa and some cookies – then let us know what your thoughts are in the comments…

My debut novel, Ordinary Angels, is a paranormal romance.


I hate the “R” word—Romance. I didn’t even start reading romance novels until about five years ago, mostly because of my feelings about the word.

Worse yet? It isn’t the word I hate, but romance itself. Yes, I hate the cards, the flowers, the chocolates, the expensive perfume in curvy bottles. I never remember anniversaries. I’d rather be dragged behind a truck than celebrate Valentine’s Day. And I always resented that just because I have a jayjay instead of a wang, I’m supposed to enjoy these things.

A male friend of mine was lamenting a break-up. His girlfriend, he said, didn’t appreciate him. He considered himself a die-hard romantic. Every year he tried to outdo himself on February 14th. The most recent holiday had been their undoing. He’d put on lilting music, bought a black sequined thong (he was planning a strip-tease), ordered dinner to be delivered from her favourite restaurant. He artfully placed dozens of candles around their apartment. He took the day off work to set everything up, including spreading fresh rose petals all over the floor, from entryway to living room couch to the bedroom, with a generous amount spread all over the bed.

He took delight in detailing his efforts. My response? “God, what a mess. I hope you didn’t expect her to clean that up.” He looked at me with hurt and confusion. “You know, that’s exactly what she said when she walked through the door!”

When I think of romance, I think of mating dances—peacock’s plumage or apes banging their chests, trying to prove they’re the prettiest, strongest, healthiest mate. Showing off. Why would I want to read a book about that? The candy and flowers? It seems so fake.

Then one day a friend shoved a book into my hand. I asked, “What is this?” She grinned. “Just read it. You’ll love it.”

I devoured it in about five hours on a rainy afternoon. It had action, adventure, magic, and hot, steamy sex. I loved it. I went online to buy every book in the series as fast as I could. And what did I discover? It was a ROMANCE novel! I felt so cheated! But but but… it was good. How could this be?

I read that series and then went to romance websites and forums to get recommendations. I asked my friend what else she’d been hiding from me. I read the “classics” of fantasy romance and then branched out to read mid-list and unknowns.

Because what I hadn’t understood was that the hook in a romance isn’t seduction (a concept I hate nearly as much as “romance”—it implies one party is either unwilling or uninterested), a romance, at its heart, is about falling in love.

Everyone wants to fall in love, to feel their hearts pound, to be distracted and obsessed. Teenagers dream about it; old married folks remember it wistfully. Every time a person falls in love, it’s magic. If the object of our affection doesn’t return the sentiment, it’s pure agony. But if they do? The world is a beautiful place, just because they’re in it.

And now I write romance. To be honest, I wrote it all along, I just didn’t call it that. The first book I wrote (still unpublished, although I may rewrite it and publish it someday) was an epic fantasy, but I included a strong subplot (frankly my favourite part of the book) about two characters who felt that spark of attraction, even though they couldn’t act on it. At first I even hesitated to call Ordinary Angels a romance because I have so much trouble with that word. But it is. Beyond the adventure, the peril, the murder and drama, the ghosts and angels and necromancers, it is, at its heart, a falling-in-love book. Two people from different worlds meet and despite their differences, connect. Holding on to that connection proves a challenge when circumstances cause them to question each other, but it’s a thread every person who’s fallen in love can identify with.

I might not have gotten over my aversion to the word, but every time I pick up a romance novel, I remember the first time, those first stolen kisses, the beautiful agony of wondering…waiting. I now embrace the genre wholeheartedly, even though I haven’t changed my mind about rose petals on the carpet.

Question for you: Have you always been a romance reader, or did you discover it later, as I did?

India knew from age nine that writing would be her passion. Since then she’s discovered many more, but none quite so fulfilling as creating a world, a character, or a moment and watching them evolve into something complex and compelling. She has lived in three countries and four American states, is a dual British and American citizen, and currently lives at the base of the Scottish Highlands in a village so small its main attraction is a red phone box. In other words: paradise.

The supernatural and paranormal have always fascinated India. In addition to being an avid sci-fi and fantasy reader, she also enjoys mysteries, thrillers, and romance. This probably explains why her novels have elements of adventure, ghosts (or elves, fairies, angels, aliens, and whatever else she can dream up), and spicy love stories.

Author website and blog:
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Free Excerpt

Ordinary Angels is available at: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

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7 comments on “Guest Post: The “R” Word by India Drummond

  1. deniz

    Yes! It’s that spark of attraction, that falling in love, that makes me love writing romance. I ignored it for so long before I finally went back to it because I don’t always enjoy reading the genre – too shmaltzy, too much I-hate-you-but-I’m-attracted-to-you buildup and so on. But when it works, it really works!
    You’ve read the Outlander series, right? Not genre romance at all, but with lots of romantic elements.

  2. India Drummond

    Oh, yes, Deniz, I love the Outlander books! It just goes to show that romance can actually blend well into any genre! Love is universal.

  3. Amy Rose Davis

    India, you sound so much like me in regard to romance and the romance genre! The story I wrote for the upcoming anthology “Twelve Worlds” is a kind of epic fantasy with a romantic thread, and one of the other contributors said, “It’s our only romance.” I was almost offended at first–but, but, but I don’t WRITE romance! Well, yeah, I do. I just never called it that. 🙂

    The truth is, it’s just a huge part of life. Romance, sex, lust, love–you really can’t escape them. And I think there’s a place for all of them in literature.

    I’m also like you when it comes to real life romance. Keep your hearts and flowers and chocolates–I couldn’t care less. 🙂 I used to think there was something wrong with me until I learned about the concept of love languages. Mine is “words of affirmation”–shocking, right? 🙂 So yeah, when The Man teases me or compliments me or whispers sweet nothings, I’m sort of putty in his hands. And after twenty years of marriage, he’s perfected it.

    Of course, we’re both snarky as heck, too. I said to our pastor one time that my love language was words of affirmation, and The Man said, “that’s stupid.” So, knowing that his love language is physical touch, I punched him. We love each other so much. 🙂


  4. Brooklyn Ann

    I’ve always read romance but I was hesitant to write it at first. I was afraid it would be cheesy if I did. But my characters kept falling in love anyway and I’ve learned to embrace the genre.

    I hate flowers and chocolate. I like personalized gifts like books and car parts. And ick with the thong. I’d rather the guy be nekkid.

  5. India Drummond

    That DOES sound like true love! LOL

  6. India Drummond

    I’m glad I’m not the only one! (And I thought the same thing about the thong too. LOL)

  7. Jamie DeBree

    I wonder how many women are *truly* into the hearts/candy/roses thing. Perhaps it’s less than we think.

    I never have been into “hallmark” romance either, though I don’t mind a good seductive evening on occasion. Seduction is foreplay to my mind…it’s not always about convincing, more like “enticing”. And fun. Romance should be fun sometimes, IMO. 😉