Realism and Romanticism: SA Meade Speaks

Reality versus Romanticism in Fiction

Romanticism: The state or quality of being romantic.
Romantic: Given to thoughts or feelings of romance.

When I jumped at a chance to write a guest post on Lee’s blog, I had no idea I'd be set an essay question…jeesh.  Anyway, I’ve given the matter some thought and this is my take on this brain-twister of a topic.
Ever since I stumbled across my first Victoria Holt novel in the school library many, many years ago, I’ve been a sucker for a good romance. I’m one of life’s daydreamers and I like a novel that can take me away from bills, the price of petrol in the UK and what to make for dinner for under £2.06. Having said that, I’m also a reader who likes my books grounded in some sort of reality. 
My pet peeves in romance include love at first sight and perfect characters. Give me lust at first sight and I’m happy and give me real people with sharp edges, broken dreams and issues. I can’t be doing with excessive mooshiness. I read an m/f romance once that ended with the dashing hero arranging for the local peasantry to ski down the local mountainside at night carrying blazing torches so that his girlie could be impressed by the spectacle. It was one romantic gesture too far for me. A romantic gesture, to me, is a cup of tea brought upstairs in the morning, a brave smile when life is crap and a goodnight kiss.
I try to reflect my views on romanticism as much as I can when I’m writing. I try to remember that I’m writing about real people with problems and quirks. All right, they may not fart in bed or clip their toenails in the living room, but they’re stubborn, bad-tempered or too quiet for their own good. I love weaving reality into my romances. I love reading romances with real people.
So, there’s my essay. Did I pass, Lee?

I'll say!  Thank you so much for not including the nail clipping scenes in your books!  I like fantasy in my fiction, and a touch of reality.  Blend it right and you've got a reader for life in me! 

Check out SA Meade's work at her blog: http://kestrelrising.blogspot.com/

Want a preview? Just to make sure SA has the right blend of reality and romance for you? 

Here's a delightful excerpt from Orion Rising

The silence left by the end of the music was broken by the soft clunk of the station’s heating system kicking in for the night. Paul’s leg brushed against mine. Without wine to dull the heat, I crossed my legs and tried not to think what his closeness was doing to me. I struggled for something to say.
            “Thanks for the curry.” It seemed as good a start as any.
            “My pleasure.” He shifted beside me until our shoulders touched. “It’s nice to cook for someone. It’s not really worth just cooking for myself. Do you cook?”
            “A bit, but it’s fairly basic stuff.I’ve been known to open a tin or two and heat the contents up.”
            Paul laughed. “You’ll have to show me what you can do.”
            “All right, I will, one of these days.”
            He slid his arm across the back of the settee. “I’ll hold you to that.”
            I fought the urge to edge closer.
            Paul moved until the gap between us disappeared. I felt his hand, light on my hair. “You don’t mind, do you?”
            The hesitancy in his voice took me by surprise. He was no longer the station boss. He was just a man, finding his way.
            “No, I don’t mind at all.”
            “It’s been a long time since I’ve really enjoyed someone’s company”—Paul curled his fingers into my hair—“the way I enjoy yours.”
            I wanted to kiss him. I wanted him to kiss me. “I enjoy your company, too.” I turned to face him.
            Paul’s eyes were veiled in the twilight of the room. He glided his fingers over my skin, bringing them to rest on either side of my face. He leaned close, his lips parted.
I twisted my fingers into his hair and kissed him, sliding my tongue along the curl of his lower lip until his mouth opened beneath mine. Everything throbbed. Everything ached.
“Oh…Jesus…Michael.” Paul sighed, his breath warm on my lips. He rested his forehead against mine. “Talk about still waters.”


  1. That is why I adore your books. It's not fluff. You write about a developing relationship grounded in reality.

  2. I actually won Orion Rising in a contest and have read it already. Loved it!

  3. Guys, please...my ego...it expands...

    Thank you both for stopping by and for the book love.

    I tried to write fluff and failed dismally. It's much more fun to write about real life.

    Yvette, I'm so glad you enjoyed 'Orion Rising'. Thank you.


Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955