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This morning I was writing an email to a friend of mine who is a professor. We are corroborating on a plot for an upcoming novel. While writing that email, it occurred to me that ALL books, regardless of genre, are educational. There are those who would never consider romance novels as educational. But I disagree.

When I was a teen, I read romance novels to feed my own fantasies but I also learned about how other people think and interact with other people. As I matured I continued to read novel plots revolving around crime and forensics but with a thread of romance woven in. I read about other cultures so I could learn to interact with them in real life; again with a thread of romance woven in. Even science fiction and fantasy is so much better with romance woven in. There are those that would argue that science fiction and fantasy are romantic in genre. (What is more romantic than elves and dwarves interacting with moral humans? Or magic? Or aliens interacting with us?)

I look at multi cultural romances as a way to help one culture bridge the gap to another. It teaches us about the other culture so we can understand why they are the way they are, and it helps us find common ground. It teaches us to listen to new ideas, weigh them out, and form our own opinions based on those ideas. The art of compromise. Or the art of war; understanding the enemy so you can use the weaknesses to defeat them. Humm, perhaps the art of war is the same as the art of romance. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, if you know the weaknesses of the object of your affections you can use them to gain the love of that object. Sounds like the plot of a good romance novel!

The point being that if you can use something like a romance novel to teach understanding between humans, sexes, cultures, religions, languages, and even aliens you are using a key that can unlock understanding in all human beings. Romance is the key to all understanding.