On Romancing the Runoff: How One Writer Brought Political Change

Updated: Jan 20

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

These are a few of the books sitting on the edge of my bookshelf, all balancing precariously on an ever-growing stack of paperbacks. At one time or another, each of these created a little universe I could eagerly delve into. They brought the silent sincerity of mumbled apologies, the nail-biting anxiety of second-hand embarrassment, and the warmth of bright smiles and soft looks.

And they were all romance novels.

Romance novelists face a lot of stigmas. They have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously to be evaluated at the same level as authors of other genres. So, what is the issue with writing about the layers of humanity stumbling over each other in an attempt to love someone else? Delving into someone’s psyche and extending their jumbled emotions out for readers to fall in love right alongside the characters isn’t something a writer should be ashamed about. There is pride to be had in their work, and Stacey Abrams has made this clear.

Abrams is a lawyer, activist, and former Georgia state representative and candidate, but she is also an author. She has not shied away from her profession or tried to hide her eight romance novels. To Abram, there was no internal conflict between involving herself in politics and maintaining her status as a writer.

She served as inspiration for more romance novelists to publicly involve themselves in politics while maintaining their professions. For example, Romancing the Runoff, an auction that has raised a staggering $400,000, is meant to contribute towards the Democratic Senate candidates participating in the January elections.

Their website states the following message: “We are romance authors who care about the future of this country and are inspired by fellow romance author Stacey Abrams. We’re raising funds to help support the Georgia Senate Runoffs by supporting Fair Fight, the New Georgia Project, and Black Voters Matter.”

Their work is a statement about who they are and a loud assertion that they are just as capable as anyone else. Auctioning off signed copies, virtual meet and greets, mentorships, and other items have contributed significantly to the political world’s state. The world of romance and the world where things are taken seriously are not mutually exclusive, and it’s about time people stopped treating them as such.