Message from the President

October 2022 RWR
Clair Brett
“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” ― Hopi American Indian proverb

Happy fall!

As I sit in my office, the breeze is gently blowing, and the leaves that were so lush and green only weeks earlier are filling the street with brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. There is no place on earth that shows change more than a climate with four distinct seasons like my home, New England.

Now, as a born and raised New Englander, I feel I can state without question the irony in this. Because New Englanders are not known to be easy to change. We are usually a bit stuck in our ways, as are many people in our world. Change in our lives doesn’t usually feel like a fall photo of colorful leaves and cozy houses. What does all this have to do with writing romance? Good question.

When we sit down to write a romance novel, our primary objective is a happily ever after or happily for now. No matter the story premise, trope, or subplots, at least we know the result will be an HEA. Our readers depend on that one fact: no matter what changes they are facing in their current situation, they can depend on the HEA of a romance novel.

Storytelling is the cornerstone of civilization and the way many groups of people were able to pass on their knowledge and keep their culture alive for the next generations. It has been the thing that brought people together around a campfire or a cabin during the long winter months.
Stories are how we can experience life through a different lens, making it possible for us to increase our empathetic intelligence for our fellow humans. Every story written has this potential.

So, why do we write romance? And why do so many people read it? Because no matter what horrible things we force our characters to endure within the pages of our books, no matter the times the main character makes the same bad decision with the same horrible outcome, there will always be a happy ending.

When people ask me what I write, my first answer is always hope. That is the product I sell with my books.

I experienced this firsthand as a reader while I was with my mother as she transitioned into her dementia and eventual passing. Anyone who has walked with a parent or loved one through that particular minefield knows how hopeless and lonely it can be. We spent many hours in the emergency room for one reason or another, and they were not usually quiet or pleasant hours. I always had a romance novel with me. I own a debt of gratitude to every author who created a world within their pages that allowed me to, for just a moment, leave my current place and see the potential that still existed in the world. I fed off that hope like a parched person in the desert takes to water.

So, when you meet those people who look down at you for your literary choice, or the critic that crushes your latest book, remember that reader who loved it or the one who is sitting somewhere they don’t want to be, doing something they never wanted to do, reading your book to give them a moment of the hope they may have lost.

Stories will always be what keeps civilization civil. It is where we see other worlds, other views, and where we find ourselves and can relate to other characters.

Don’t ever think for one minute that your little romance novel isn’t important, or that what you struggle to do every day by putting words on a page is unimportant. Because at the end of the day, people can do remarkable things if they have hope, even if they are borrowing it from you from time to time.