Thursday, 1 May 2014

Is romance harmless escapism? By Louise Wise

Today I am delighted to welcome fellow writer Louise Wise to my blog. Louise is the author of Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love! which is on sale all through spring at only 99c/77p! Over to you now, Louise...

I’m a writer and blogger and I’ve been invited (actually, I bribed her) to write an article for this blog so I can promote my book.

Here it is: Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love! It’s a dark romantic ‘Cinderella’ kinda comedy with emotions playing the ugly sisters, an interfering battle axe as the fairy god mother, and a flirty playboy as Prince Charming. Ah, and Cinderella’s a bitch.

OK. So with the promo out of the way. Let’s talk romance, or rather the men that are featured in romance books.

How do you like them? Tall, handsome and tough? Short but strong? Fat but powerful? Balding and masterful? Have you noticed that no matter the age, height or colour of our hero’s skin and hair he HAS to be POWERFUL! Even the wimps (if a wimp is going to be the hero) turn out strong in the end!

So what does that make our men like in real life? Are they all so weedy that we crave Arnold Schwarzenegger-types to throw us over their shoulders? Or Hugh Grant to masterfully talk his way out of a situation just to save our arses? And how much does that impact on our lives?

 A lot, according to an article on from psychologist Dr Juli Slattery, apparently: "for many women, these novels really do promote dissatisfaction with their real relationships".

I, and I’m sure I’m not alone, don’t believe that at all. Maybe in our youth we had high expectations but as adults…? Are we so naive that we believe fiction is related to real life so much so that our partners have become inadequate? Do we all have unrealistic sexual expectations?

On the other side of the coin, do these experts have a point? Think about it… as little girls we’re bombarded with Disney featuring dashing men whisking the helpless female away to his castle. We grow up, swap Beauty and the Beast for ‘grown up’ romance and the men are STILL sweeping in to whisk us away.

 But to say that women who read romance can't distinguish between fiction and fact is patronising at best, unprintable at worse.

The reason romance is popular is because it’s pure escapism and the happy ending gives us hope for our own lives, it doesn’t disrupt our poor l’il old minds, so to suggest otherwise is ridiculous. Romantic novels need that element of strong men, or at least weak men-turn-strong to make them just that—romances!

Romance is dangerous? Who'd thunk it.

Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love! is on sale all through spring at only 99c/77p!


Suddenly all the wind was taken from my body as something painful smashed into my shoulder and spun me around. The sharp movement made my ankle give way inside my high heels, and I fell, my legs like Bambi’s, onto the grass. A grubby leather football rolled away, and a young man stood staring down at me with horror on his spotty face.

A splutter of laughter, and then the spotty youth began to grin, until he was laughing as well as his friends as they joined him in looking down at me.

‘Dammit, boy!’ yelled a voice. ‘Help her up, then!’

Spotty burst into action, grabbed me by the arm and began to drag me across the park by way of trying to haul me to my feet.

‘You bloody idiot,’ said the voice again. It was breathless, and recognisable. Then, to my shock, firm arms reached beneath mine and hauled me to my feet. Lex took the full weight of my body, and helped me over to a bench. He sat me down, and glanced around at the youths who were hovering uncertainly.

‘Piss off,’ he said, then turned to me. ‘Are you OK?’ I could feel warm breath on the top of my head, but I didn’t want to look up. I felt foolish enough as it was. ‘I’m fine,’ I managed to snap. I straightened away from him. ‘There was no need to make a spectacle of me – or yourself.’ I dragged hair off my hot face, and realised my hands were shaking.

‘I wasn’t aware I was making a spectacle of anyone!’ Lex sounded affronted, and I risked a glance upward. His golden eyes crinkled at the corners. ‘Mind you,’ he chuckled, ‘it was funny when that lad tried to pick you up.’

‘Funny for you, no doubt,’ I said. I began to brush the grass and mud off my arms and skirt. The pain in my shoulder had ebbed away along with my dignity, but my ankle throbbed. I glanced downward. ‘My shoes,’ I said, ‘where’re my shoes?’

Lex stood up. ‘They’re over there,’ he said, and went to fetch them. He knelt, and like the Prince in Cinderella, tried to place them on my feet. But my yelp of pain stopped him. ‘That hurt?’ he said unnecessarily.

‘No,’ I said, ‘I always scream when someone puts shoes on my feet!’

Lex grinned. He lightly touched my other foot. ‘Is that one OK?’ At my nod, he placed the shoe on my good foot. ‘These shoes are deadly. Right, what shall I do with you?’

I glanced at my foot; it was beginning to look swollen. ‘It’ll be all right in a moment,’ I said. ‘I’ll sit here a while and –’ ‘I’ll carry you back.’

‘Oh, no, you won’t!’

‘It’ll be fun,’ he said, and bent over me. I shrank back in alarm but a strong arm slipped beneath my knees, and another went around my back, and I had no option but to cling on or be dropped.

‘If you don’t put me down this instant I’ll…’ I began in his ear, but trailed off as I couldn’t think of what I could do to make him put me down.

‘You’ll what?’ he asked.

‘I – I’ll bite your ear!’ I said at last, and Lex roared.

‘Ah, Miss Anthrope, you are so funny.’ He carried me across the park, and I, with my one free hand clamped against my eyes in embarrassment, could do nothing but allow him. Strangely though, his arms felt familiar. I peeked up at him, and felt a thrill at the closeness of his face. I covered my eyes again.

We were heading towards a monstrous 4x4 black jeep. Lex set me down to take his keys out of his pocket and bleeped open the doors. Then, in one smooth movement, he picked me up again to sit me gently on the passenger seat. Less than a couple of minutes later we were outside my office block.

He lifted me out of the car and I managed to hobble over towards the grubby door of my office block. I stopped at the entrance, and smiled at him through gritted teeth. ‘Thank you, Mr Kendal,’ I said pleasantly enough, but inside I was bristling with indignation. ‘I can manage from here.’

He raised his eyebrows mockingly. ‘I don’t think so, Miss Anthrope,’ he said. As always my surname on his lips seemed like he was taking the piss. ‘How are you going to get over that?’ He pointed at the threshold, and I noticed for the first time several steps up into the doorway. How long had they been there?


Married, with four children, Louise Wise lives in England. She is a pharmacist technician by day and a writer by night. She was educated in an ordinary state school and left without achieving much in the way of qualifications; you could say she was the result of a crap school. Hungry for knowledge she enrolled in an Adult Education centre and studied English, maths and creative writing. Whereas other young girls asked for makeup and clothes for their birthdays, she asked for encyclopaedias!

Louise Wise used her general love of romantic fiction and interest in astronomy to write her first book. The book received many rejections stating the novel was too original for the current market, until finally, an agent took the book on but subsequently failed to find a publisher for it. Instead of becoming despondent, it made Louise realise that becoming a published writer WAS possible. She turned her back on traditionally publishing, threw herself into the indie world and went on to publish her first chick lit book, A Proper Charlie and then Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love!

 As for the ‘too original’ Eden it has been such a hit that Louise has now followed it up with the sequel, Hunted. So far, they are both selling well.



Blurb: Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love!

On the surface, Valerie Anthrope was happy with her life. She had her own brokerage with Sunny Oak Insurance and was financially solvent. But once asleep, she was plunged into a world of nightmares that reminded her she was cursed.

And that meant she couldn’t fall in love. Ever.

Lex Kendal was a multi-millionaire. Women flocked to him, preened and flaunted for his attention. But one woman, Valerie, knocked him back. Hard. It dented his pride and Lex set out to convince himself he still ‘had it’ by pursuing her.

Only he found himself being needed in a way he never, ever, expected and, for once in his life, money wasn’t the answer.

Purchase Links: Oh no, I’ve Fallen in love

Apple iStore


  1. Thank you for letting me talk on your blog, Alissa.

  2. It's a pleasure, Louise. Such an interesting post :-)

  3. Louise, an interesting post. I think the type of romance we read says a lot about us.
    Is the reader looking for a knight in armor, a Fifty Shades billionaire, or just someone to make her laugh? And then there are the levels of romance. Is it back-and-forth will they, won't they? Or is it total immersion in the other person? Fantasy, no matter the form, feeds a part of the soul that can get pretty hungry now and then. <3

    1. Thanks Barbara, I wouldn't mind a Fifty Shades billionaire, though without the bondage and, er, things. :/

  4. Nice blog, Louise. Romance is my genre, although I like it a little rough around the edges and a hero with faults. I like a man who's not worried about showing his vulnerable and tender side. It's a funny thing is romance because it doesn't happen when you're looking for it, more like it arrives when you least expect it and that's hwat I love to read in a story too.

    1. I like my romance a little rough around the edges as well, and my men can't be too pretty!

  5. Romance is a great escape as long as in our real relationships we're firmly grounded in reality. So go ahead and bring on the fantasy!