First of all, please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Emma J. Gibbon and I am a writer and librarian.
What is love, anyway?
It’s hard to define, for starters! It’s an emotion and a mental state and there are many different versions of it. Most people know when they feel it but that doesn’t make it any easier to define. How do we know we’re all feeling the same thing?
What does it FEEL like when you fall in love?
It depends on the type of love. If you’re lucky, some love is always there, like the love you have for family. Others, like when you fall in love with an animal at a shelter, represents as an intense need to look after another being and make them safe.
Falling into romantic love is different. It is a type of madness. You’re totally at the whim of the chemicals running riot in your body and mind. I don’t even know if you see the person at first, more your idealized version of them. That and the intense need to be with the person, means that you’re not yourself at all. If you survive all that, then love can deepen and expand and you don’t feel like you’re losing your mind.
Is there a difference between love and romance?
Yes. There are many different types of love, and not all of them are romantic. Not only that, you can have romance without real love. What people consider romantic can vary wildly. I don’t think I am very romantic, at least not in the traditional sense. The commodification of romance: hearts, chocolates and cliched pronouncements, leaves me cold.
Is love “real”?
Yes. Love being real isn’t really in doubt in my mind. What is in doubt is what it actually is: cosmic serendipity, biological imperative, chemicals or a higher power or fated in the stars. This is what I don’t know.
What is your overall opinion of the romance genre? Do you enjoy it? Hate it?
It’s not my thing. I don’t read it so I don’t have much of an opinion of it. I strongly believe that people should read what they like and not be judged by anyone else for it.
Romance and erotica are the highest selling genres (making about $1.55 billion a year). WHY!?
I can’t answer this with any authority as I don’t read the genre but I would guess at the escape element being a big part of it--experiencing a life that is unlike your own. I wonder if people do feel a little ashamed of it (they shouldn’t) and have more of a tendency to buy it (especially in ebook form) rather than share among friends or check out from the library. The most popular fiction genre in libraries is mystery so there is a definite difference there.
Do you have any favorite romance books or films? What makes them so great?
There are book and movies that I think are romantic and really enjoyed but I don’t think they would count as romance per se. Books-wise, I enjoyed the romance in The Time Traveller’s Wife, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Brokeback Mountain and in the movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 10 Things I Hate About You and Secretary.
Is there a romance book or film that you dislike and can’t understand why other people enjoy it?
I remember years back going with a friend to watch The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston and being mad that I lost 2 hours of my life to that film! Also, I could never get on board (ha!) with the romance in Titanic. The bigger story for me was all the other people who lost their lives. Also, there was totally room on that door for Jack. I’ve never understood the appeal of the Twilight series either. Perhaps I’m just the wrong demographic.
What are some of the most irritating cliches in romance books and films?
For me, it has to be that the geeky girl or the girl who is different has to change herself in some way in order to be loveable or all she has to do is take her glasses off to be beautiful.
“To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.” Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Do you agree with this statement?
For the most part, yes. To love and be loved is really what life is about. Not just with a romantic partner but family and friends, other humans, animals and even the earth itself. This is what makes life living. All the other stuff pales into insignificance without some form of love or purpose in your life.
Emma J. Gibbon is originally from Yorkshire in the U.K. and now lives in Topsham, Maine. Her work has appeared in Wicked Haunted, a New England Horror Writers anthology and is due to appear in The Muse & The Flame, an anthology of bizarre romance. Emma lives with her husband, Steve, and three exceptional animals: Odin, Mothra and M. Bison (also known as Grim).
Emma's short story "Devour" is featured in The Muse and The Flame: a Collection of Bizarre Romance.
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