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Romance novels account for over 40% of all fiction sold--over 20 million women read them. The reasons behind these astonishing statistics are uncovered and explored in George Paul Csicserys fascinating documentary WHERE THE HEART ROAMS, a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the subculture of romance novelists and fans. The film follows Chelley Kitzmiller, a die-hard fan of romance novels, who organizes the Love Train for readers. She books a train from California to New York so that fans and authors can mingle on their way to the big Romantic Booklovers Conference. Once there, aspiring writers hope that romance will be their ticket to success, while established authors and editors debate what makes a good heroine and how much sex is too much. A special appearance by best-selling romance writer Barbara Cartlandin her trademark pinkhighlights the festivities.
I can't believe I am doing a review of this documentary, but, well, here I am. I was initially forced by my (at the time) main squeeze, more or less at gunpoint, to see this. However, I found that it really grew on me. If you have any writerly aspirations in any genre, romance or otherwise, the interviews in here, with writers at various stages of their careers, are quite useful. You get insight into the creative process at many levels, and it is kind of nice to see that the authors behind these wildly, floridly designed books that we see in drugstores, are really just plain folks like anyone. (Except Barbara Cortland, who comes across like the Queen of England... well, heck, she's earned the right). As a guy, I felt the strongest connection to the businessman (I can't remember his name offhand, I might come back and post it later, if anyone's interested) who was some kind of V.I.P. in the publishing world. In his interview, it was intriguing to see him talk about these books from a business point of view -- he really sees these stories as PRODUCTS, to be produced, edited and marketed in a businesslike fashion. I have a lot of that sensibility in me as well -- at the same time, however, it's important to remember that these are Dreams that he's selling, and as such they go into people's minds, so it's best to be careful what you write. Dreams are potent brews, and if anyone else picks up this video for writing tips, please be cautious about what dreams you put down on the printed page... Anyway, in short, this is a very well done documentary, and it's a lot of fun to watch. Worth checking out.
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