Which ever site you visit when wanting to know about Romance Writings, they all more or less show that 98% of writers of Romance Novels are women. How many of that percentage are actually men using a woman’s name as a pseudonym or nom de plume [pen name] your guess is as good as mine. Believe me I have tried to find out without much success – perhaps I didn’t look hard enough. The one thing which is certain however is that romance novels are in huge demand – according to reports made by Romance Writers of America romance novels make up for 13.5% of the consumer market.
Certain members of my writers group knowing I write romance fiction, had suggested I should join Romance Writers of Australia [ www.romanceaustralia.com ] . When I visited their website however and viewed their list of authors I saw not one male name and was therefore dubious about joining. I was reassured by them however that they did indeed have male authors using female names, so I joined.
Is there truly a stigma about using a male name when writing romance? Do women really believe that a man cannot write about romance or is it that publishers and editors have let this abnormality happen? In real life, isn’t it the man who romances the woman? If it’s the other way around, society tends to look down on the woman for being so forward? Sad don’t you think?
I have always loved the movie “Paperback Hero”starring Hugh Jackman as Road train driver, Jack Willis, who drives his truck and writes romance fiction at the same time. However, he writes under the pen name Ruby Vale [Claudia Karvan] his best friend. It’s only when the book is a huge success that the fun starts – Ruby is thrown into a world of glamour, TV appearances and book signings – a nightmare until Jack comes to the rescue by owning up to being the real author.
And there lies the dilemma – it’s fine to write under a female pseudonym, but what happens when the author has to reveal himself or should I say herself when they are a success? I’ll worry about that if I’m ever so lucky as to get published under my own female pseudonym Louise Roberts.
Meanwhile, let me get back to my original question: Was Shakespeare a woman?
If in present times men have to write under female names to have romance titles published, did female authors of the past have to write under male names to achieve the same?
Mary Anne Evans [1819-1880] certainly did so, as she is better known as George Eliot. One wonders therefore when the Romantic Movement of Artistic, Literary, and intellectual thinking came to being in the late 18th century were the authors and poets of the time really women? Perhaps William Blake [1757-1827] was not whom we are all led to believe. And what of the Lake Poets: William Wordsworth [1770-1850], Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834], Robert Southey [1774-1843] were they also women?
It saddens me to believe that women regard men only capable of reading children’s comics, car brochures, fishing guides, sports pages and pornography. Are men truly only thought of as Neanderthal as way of insult to lack of emotion and/or intelligence? Ironically Neanderthal man [and woman] had larger brains than modern man [and woman], was taller and stronger, intelligent and, contrary to earlier beliefs, not purely carnivorous. In recent studies in the USA  researchers discovered the remains of cooked vegetables in the teeth of a Neanderthal skull – so who ever said our ancestors weren’t intelligent?
I’m straying, sorry, I do tend to do this a fair bit so I’ll sign off for now …..
RLB – Tomewriter