Today’s post is for Read a Romance Month, founded by Bobbi Dumas who is a tireless advocate of romance fiction. With articles for Kirkus Reviews and NPR, Bobbi also has interviews of some of today’s most beloved romance authors. Lorelei’s Lit Lair graciously asked me to join in the celebration, and Lorelei has a post explaining how she got involved as a romance advocate here.
What does the Joy of Romance mean to me?
The Joy of Romance, and more specifically, in romance novels, has had her warm, loving hands on me since I was in elementary school.
The summer I turned ten I ran out of Nancy Drew and Sue Barton, Student Nurse books. My mother carefully picked a Candlelight Romance from her nightstand for me. It was Night Duty Nurse by Katherine McComb and was everything that was romance back then. The big sexy part was the kiss at the end of the book. A peck. Nothing else. I was ten; I wasn’t ready for anything more. But the story swept me away to long hours in a hospital where a dedicated nurse fell in love with her burn patient, an attractive and virile man. She discovered he wore a wooden prosthesis for his leg, and I can remember that scene so clearly, her reaction, how much more of a hero he became in that moment. Maybe that’s why in my very first published novel the hero had lost his leg in a war? And why I still have to put suspense in every story I write?
When I was a midshipman at the Naval Academy there wasn’t a whole lot of time for leisure reading but I managed to devour romances over Christmas and spring breaks. The pure joy of being a girl in a bubble bath with a romance novel, after strenuous training and wearing a uniform 24/7 (yes, even our pajamas were Navy-issued!) was better than any spa day I’ve had since. As a Naval Intelligence Officer deployed to Sicily and Bermuda (and all points in between) I subscribed to the Harlequin Reader Service and escaped from the demands of the Cold War, if only for twenty minutes once a week.
When I was a Navy spouse raising two tiny tots and my husband was deployed to war, I let the joy of romance comfort me via novels and movies, and kept the faith that he’d return to us. He did, thank God.
Once I figured out that I, too, was a romance writer, I devoured romance novels across the spectrum of heat levels, publishers and of course my favorite authors. I was in search of the perfect publisher fit for my stories, and I wanted to know how the most successful authors had achieved their status. So now you know why I chose to sell to category romance to start off my career.
I write more angst-filled, romantic suspense that deals with life-or-death situations. And yet my characters show me that no matter what, true love can bring joy to the most desperate situation. It can heal the deepest wounds and restore faith that has been chewed up and spit out by the machinations of what can be a very challenging journey on this planet. Or any other planet, or dimension, or time setting. Nothing is beyond the touch of romance and her ability to shower her characters and readers with undulated joy. And how cool is it that my novella in the Christmas anthology Coming Home for Christmas is Navy Joy?
Author Questions from RARM
1. Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.
Most recently? When I saw my dear friend and Academy-sister Caro Carson win the Romance Writers of America’s “oscar,” the Rita for her wonderful book A Texas Rescue Christmas. I cried tears of joy!
2. Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.
The beach and ocean, where we took our kids each year to enjoy time with their grandparents. Stone Harbor, New Jersey is an instant serenity place for me.
3. Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.
Birds. I love birds, and spend hours writing on my patio through three seasons so that I can hear cardinals, robins, mockingbirds, blue birds, hawks (their mating cries are primal), and many others.
4. What recent book have you read that brought you joy. Why?
Teardrop Lane by Emily March. I’ve so loved her Eternity Springs series and this one was particularly heart wrenching and worth the read to the pure joy when Cicero and Rose get together.
5. And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~ Pick Your Chris!
It will always be Christopher Plummer in the Sound of Music. Hands down. Who are your favorite romance authors?
My absolute favorite romance authors include Sherry Thomas, Barbara O’Neal, and Heidi Hormel. Sherry’s prose is like poetry and her sexy love scenes are a crescendo to her hero and heroine’s arias through conflict and sexual tension. Barbara O’Neal’s voice is the most unique in our genre with simple phrases opening the heart to a journey of unconditional and intensely romantic love. Heidi Hormel is a debut author this year and her fun, light-hearted voice doesn’t skimp on the realities of a good romantic conflict.
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