Foreign travel …
A tall, dark, and mysterious man who’s fascinated by you but unable to act on it because of his position.
That’s the irresistible combination of The Swiss Mishap.
This week, we talk to romance author Amey Zeigler about her latest book and the power of romance.
Should we be ashamed if someone catches us reading a romance? What kind of women read romances? Can romance novels teach us anything about love? And what’s the deal with all those happy endings?
Get ready to get bitten by the romance bug! The Swiss Mishap is out July 29th on Amazon.
What You’ll Learn
Amey Zeigler wanted to be a writer since she was little, but it wasn’t until the birth of her third child that she realized she wanted to write romances.
She was struggling with postpartum depression, and she found herself in a library looking for something to read. She picked up a romance.
It was the perfect combination of love, action-adventure, comedy … and it just hit that sweet spot in my heart. I was like, ‘How can I do this?'”
She’d discovered the healing power of fiction.
Reading is more than just light entertainment. It’s therapeutic. “It’s our humanness connecting with someone else’s humanness,” Amey says.
The Problem with Romance
But the romance genre has a stigma attached.
Because it’s not great literary fiction, some people dismiss it as “fluff” or unimportant.
Even romance readers can sometimes feel ashamed to admit they enjoy a good romance every once in a while.
Once, on a train from France to Switzerland, Amey noticed a woman reading an American romance novel. But when Amey inquired about what the woman was reading, the woman hid it, dismissing the book with a French word that meant “foolishness” or “rubbish.” She seemed embarrassed to have been caught reading a romance in public.
The History of the Romance Genre
Harlequin, one of the biggest romance publishers, started out as a Canadian company. They acquired the distribution rights to British romance novels and sanitized them for what they considered the chaste sensibilities of their North American audience.
By the 1980s, it became clear that readers wanted steamier stuff. Romance publishers started publishing “bodice-rippers,” with book covers that featured women with their shoulders exposed, swooning into the arms of handsome men.
Now, nearly 40 years on, the tastes of romance readers have changed.
Romance readers want books featuring “smart and intelligent women who are battling real-life problems.” The setting may be over-the-top, but the heroines are modern and relatable.
Today, romance novels are about strong women and the strong men who love them. These women face problems in their lives. They’re juggling their career, family, sometimes even children. “They are people like you and me who have their problems ratcheted up a little bit,” Amey explains.
Being able to see yourself in a romantic heroine is what makes the genre so satisfying. We all want love. We all make mistakes and end up looking foolish. We’re all trying to do our best. Even though the heroine of a romance novel may end up in over-the-top situations, you find yourself rooting for her.
What Romance Novels Teach Us about Love
If you’re looking for love advice, put aside those women’s magazines and pick up a novel.
“It’s so much more fun in a story when somebody’s going through what you’re going through,” Amey says.
Whereas love advice tells you what to do, love stories take you on a journey with the heroine. It isn’t easy for the heroine to get the guy. She makes mistakes. Obstacles block her way. She has to try different tactics. It’s a lot like real life!
For Amey, reading a romance novel is like “curling up to a best friend who’s telling you their story of how they overcome incredible odds, and they overcame it with endurance and passion and love and loyalty and all of these things that make romance novels great.”
But isn’t that happy ending too formulaic?
“I love that romance has a happily-ever-after,” Amey says. “If it doesn’t … it’s not romance.”
There’s great value in happy endings. A reader might think: “Even if my life is a mess right now, this character in this book resolved their conflict. They had a happily-ever-after, and I have hope that somewhere, sometime down the road … I can have that happy-ever-after [too].”
Amey adds, “It gives us hope to carry on, even when things are hard.”
Romance Novels Show Us What He’s Thinking
Unlike movies or TV shows, fiction gives us a window into the interior life of the characters.
You can read what the hero is thinking at the same time you know what the heroine is thinking, whereas movies only show us the surface. Unless a character on screen speaks their thoughts aloud, you don’t know what they’re feeling inside.
As we connect with the characters in a novel, we develop empathy and understanding that carries over into our real-life relationships. We’re not as quick to judge or dismiss our partner because we know, from our reading of fiction, how vulnerable he is, too.
Amey had originally written her latest book The Swiss Mishap from the heroine’s point of view, but she went back and rewrote it to include the hero’s perspective. Once she’d added in her hero’s thoughts and feelings, she found she understood him on a much deeper level.
The Swiss Mishap is set in Switzerland, a country Amey got to know herself when she lived there in her twenties.
It’s a book about chocolate, the challenges of moving to a new country and speaking another language, and, of course, falling in love.
Amey’s other books include Baker’s Dozen, which is a romantic suspense novel set in St. Louis and featuring an investigative journalist. The second book in the series is expected to come out next year.
You can keep track of all of Amey’s latest book news by visiting her website and signing up for her newsletter or following her on social media.
“Romance writers love their readers,” Amey says. “This is why we do it.”
So go ahead – pick up a romance novel!
Jump to Topics of Interest
1:39 How Amey started writing romances
3:05 The healing power of fiction.
3:41 The stigma against romance
5:33 The history of the romance genre
7:30 Modern romances
8:32 Why it’s much more fun to get love advice from romance novels
9:57 Romance novels show that it’s not always easy to get the guy
10:58 The value in happy endings
12:20 Do romances make women dissatisfied with their own relationships?
15:02 Amey’s latest book The Swiss Mishap
17:10 Why romance writers do what they do
Amey uses her communication degree to write new adult romances. Her latest romantic comedy is based on her experiences while she lived in Switzerland and France in her twenties. She is also a wife of a loving hubby and mother of three adorable kids. Get Amey’s latest books.