British Columbia

How a good romance novel can teach Vancouverites to live and love: tips from an author

Unlike cities like Paris, Buenos Aires or Rome, Vancouver is not known for its romance but one author is trying to change that.

Vancouver Public Library’s new writer-in-residence focuses on romances

'It’s about life and living and caring and loving,' Maclean says about the romance genre. (Pixabay)

Unlike cities like Paris, Buenos Aires or Rome, Vancouver is not known for its romance but one author is trying to change that.

Stella Maclean, the newest writer-in-residence at the Vancouver Public Library, has more than a dozen romance novels to her name and says the genre often doesn't get the recognition it deserves.

"My plans are to introduce Vancouver to romance," she said. "To have them understand about the hero and the heroine and how a story works."

Maclean left her home in New Brunswick and moved to B.C. for the next four months to take the writer-in-residence position.

She'll split her time between running workshops and events, mentoring new writers, and working on her own projects.

Stella Maclean is the newest writer-in-residence at VPL. (CBC)

Broader messagse

In a world where everything from #MeToo sexual assault awareness campaigns to more benign dating woes seem to be the norm, romance books can offer a guide to healthy relationships and love, Maclean said.

"Me Too is about being a victim and the whole idea behind romance is it's a partnership of equals," she told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition.

"That's one of the things that I think authors of romance books today have an opportunity to change — we can show what is different, what is good in a relationship and what isn't good in a relationship."

One of her upcoming talks focuses on the "modern heroine," a character that's morphed over the decades from the damsel-in-distress to an independent, strong woman.

"She wants to be treated as an equal. She has aspirations to have a relationship in which both people share equally. It's not one versus the other or somebody taking the lead. Its two people coming together," Maclean said.  

She says there's a message for all Vancouverites in romance books.

"It's about life and living and caring and loving," she said.  

"I think it's a chance for people to understand how [relationships] actually can happen without people being hurt."

Unlike cities like Paris, Buenos Aires or Rome, Vancouver is not known for its romance but one author is trying to change that. 6:56

With files from The Early Edition.

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