One of my WIPs, FORGET ME NOT, has a very strong base in love, probably the strongest I've ever written. So when people would ask me what it's about, I'd say, "Oh, it's a fantasy." And for some reason, you know who would ask me if there was romance in it? Guys. Maybe to see if they'd be interested in it, or to judge me or something, I don't know. But I'd suddenly get very self-conscious. I'd say, "There's some" and try to change the subject.
Then, last weekend I went to the wedding of two of my friends. She glowed at him and everyone there. He smiled with pride at his bride. They were both so happy. I've been there from the beginning with these two, from their first dates to their first kiss to engagement and wedding plans. They're absolutely the best for each other.
Her siblings sang a rendition of "All About Us" by He is We and they danced together. And it was then, looking at the two of them so blissful with each other, that I didn't feel ashamed that I have love in my stories. Yes, it's fun to write it, and yes, everyone craves to have that kind of relationship. But what I realized why writing love is important is because there's a lot of people out there who don't know what the right kind of love is. Especially writing for teens in YA, many have a wonky idea of love or don't know how it should be yet. There are books who don't portray love in a healthy way. What I want to write is healthy love, or show how some love isn't good rather than glorify that kind of obsessive love. And it can be about the smallest crush or the greatest love. Either way, it's important. It can help lead to the beautiful, healthy kind of love my friends have, rather than the ones you try to steer your friends away from.
And for a little something, here's the song my friends danced to: