Day 1 – Julia London

A World of Romance

You are here, reading this blog, because of a romance. It might not have been a great romance. Or it might have been a stupendous, angels-sang-and-stars-fell sort of romance. The romance may not have lasted, and then again, it may have lasted for many years. Whatever the circumstances, a romance between two people made you.

Where would the world be without romance? Our most enduring tales and legends are romances, such as one of my favorites, the tale of Lancelot and Guinevere. I remember being enthralled with their illicit love when I was a girl—from the tension of their attraction and their fruitless efforts to keep love from blooming, to their doomed lover. I wanted Lancelot and Guinevere to be forever happy! But I ached for King Arthur and wanted his happiness just as fervently! It was very heady stuff for a pre-teen.

Romance has not mattered only in legend or fiction, it has also influenced our world’s histories. Think, for example, of the story of Czar Nicholas Romanov and Czarina Alexandra, who were so blindly in love that they didn’t see how unhappy their fellow countrymen were. Alexandra was seen as an outsider, and while Nicholas was romancing his czarina, giving her many happy babies and showering her with gifts, his people were starving. Nicholas and Alexandra were so into each other they didn’t see the approaching revolution until it was too late. It cost them their lives and the lives of their children. I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if the czar had not allowed love to blind him. Could he have changed the course of Russian history?

Speaking of romance affecting the course of history, I must mention Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Edward VIII’s abdication for Wallis is a classic example of how nothing can explain what individuals see in each other. I can see why Wallis was attracted to the King of England—he was a king. But Wallis? She was not a looker. She got around. She had a reputation of being brash and irreverent. She apparently had no qualms about having an affair with Edward, then divorcing her cuckolded second husband when Edward became king so that she could marry him, and presumably, become queen consort. Edward was, by all accounts, besotted by Wallis, to the point that he famously abdicated by saying “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Had it not been for that famous romance, the world would have been denied the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Can you imagine the U.K. without Queen Elizabeth? Without Charles and William and Harry and a new royal baby? Yes, romance matters!

It certainly matters to me, because my parents fell in love and married and had four kids, just like their parents had done, and their parents before them. I particularly love the story of my great great grandmother, who fell in love with an older man. He took her from a plantation in Tennessee and brought her to West Texas to live in a dugout. She never saw her family or Tennessee again. Life on the plains was completely different than anything she’d ever known. The weather harsh, the farming and ranching hard, and throw in a few skirmishes with Indians to boot. She had her first child in a dugout, alone, with a ranch hand sitting outside in case she needed help. She went on to bring five more children into the world, became one of the founding members of the town where I grew up, and an inspiration to all the daughters who have followed her. She was a strong woman, full of grit and determination, and had she not been charmed by the doctor who was twenty years her senior, not only would I not be writing this article or books, I would not have the blood of hard-scrabble, can-do ranchers running through me.

Romance matters. Pick up a romance novel today.


 

Questions for the Author

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

I have a ceramic thing, sort of a screaming head with a hat. It was supposed to be a self-portrait in my sophomore art class. It’s truly hideous. It shows a definitive lack of talent, irreverence, and a developing sense of humor. I love it. It’s a great reminder of a time in my life that I was pretty pleased with myself for no defensible reason, and I have carried it around with me all these years.

If there was a movie made of your life, what would it be called, and who would play you?

Fourteen Ways to Sunday, starring Melissa McCarthy as me. It would not be a drama, it would be a comedy of errors with a huge supporting cast. Many character names will be quickly forgotten and referred to as “that guy” or “that girl” in the credits.

What is the best monetary gift you’ve ever been given?

Easy – love. It has come to me in many forms, from many directions, and with many faces. Some of it canine, some of it human, some if spiritual. It’s made this journey worth taking, worth getting up every day and doing it all over again.

Pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of your books:

That is a difficult choice for me, but I think perhaps the love scene between Lady Carey and Mr. Harrison Tolly in The Seduction of Lady X. Their attraction had been growing for years, but it was forbidden love and, as far as each other knew, unrequited. I love the scene where they finally come together. All those years of pent-up desire spilling out of them was lovely to write and to read later.

New authors to recommend:

A new historical author, who has set her Clan Mackenzie series in one of my favorite historical locations: Scotland. Juliette Miller has just released her second novel, Highlander Taken. (*Juliette has created R-A-R M content, too, at her blog.)

A new author who is making a big splash with her smooth writing is Terri Osburn. Her debut novel, Meant to Be, is a contemporary romance set on the Outer Banks. (*And Terri, too – read her R-A-R M content here.)

Julia has generously donated a copy of Homecoming Ranch to give away (international is okay). To enter, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by midnight EST Aug 1 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.


 

headshot90kJulia London is the New York TimesUSA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best selling author of thirty novels, including her most recent titles, The Last Debutante and Homecoming Ranch.  She is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a four-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Find Julia’s books on Amazon

 

 

  • lisa

    Thanks Julisa for all your wonderful stories. Keep them coming!

    • Julia London

      If you keep reading, I will keep writing 😉

  • Nancy Huddleston

    This is a wonderful idea. Thanks to all the authors who are involved this month. Can’t wait to read everyone’s thoughts and feelings.

    • Julia London

      Me too!

    • Thank you! They are all so great!

  • TrishJ

    Romance does matter!!! I read romance books because they can brighten my day, make me feel like I can do anything, rule the world and kick butt (can you guess I just finished a great action book). I also love romantic comedy books. Nothing like laughing out loud when reading a good book!

    • Julia London

      I agree, Trish 🙂

  • Martha Lawton

    Thank you for your wonderful words about the topic of romance. I love this idea of a whole month. Thank you!

    • Julia London

      Very welcome, Martha. I am really happy to be a part of it

    • Guest

      Martha, you are so welcome. I love this concept, too. Great idea!

    • Thank you! xoxo

  • Terri Osburn

    That is such a great story of your great great grandmother. My grandmother came over from England when she was 12, alone! Can you imagine crossing the Atlantic on a ship alone when you’re 12 years old? She never saw England again.

    • Julia London

      I can’t. But then again, at 12, you’re too young to understand completely why it’s so scary, right? 🙂

      • Terri Osburn

        Good point!

  • Carla Michelle Peavler Alcorn

    I adore your books! You are one of my “keep” authors. Meaning, you have your own space on my bookshelf. Thanks for all the happy hours of reading :o)

    • Julia London

      Thank you, Carla! That’s very cool.

  • alisha woods

    I have almost all of your historicals

    • Julia London

      Thanks, Alisha!

  • Ruth

    Your words are a great way to start the first day of RARM. I love hearing about romance that transcends fiction. Romance IS reality! And you’re right – I am here because of two flawed yet fabulous people found love. My mother told me that she knew after two weeks she would marry my father. Thanks for helping me recall that!

    • Julia London

      Glad you are here, Ruth

    • lovely, Ruth!

  • Jen Ferraro Stepke

    I totally agree, Romance Matters! When I am having a really stressful day or just sick of the day to day drama that is my life, I pick up a romance novel and my day is immediately improved. I would like to give a great big “Thank You” to all of you amazing romance writers. Keep these stories coming! 🙂

    • Julia London

      We are so happy to do what we do!

  • Thank you, Julia! I love this, and really appreciate your going up on the first day! (Always quirks on the first day…). I, too, love this story – what an amazing historical legacy for your storytelling and determination!

    • Julia London

      One of these days, I would like to write her story.

  • Kathy Arel

    I have been reading romance novels since my early teens, plus all other kinds of books too, I am now in my 60’s and still love a good romance book. When you are reading you can escape into the book and help your day become a little better, so thanks to you and all the romance writers for giving us a little getaway

    • Julia London

      Very happy to be writing them!

    • Thanks Kathy – sounds like you found the right place at R-A-R M xoxo

  • Niki Rittenhouse

    I love your screaming head in a hat. It is awesome! I really enjoyed reading your comments.

    • Julia London

      Thanks, Niki! That screaming head in a hat did not get a good grade, I am sorry to report.

      • really?? another teacher who lacks vision… xoxo

  • girlygirlhoosier52

    My favorite lunch hour pastime, well besides eating, is reading a romance novel!

    • Julia London

      mine too!

  • Linnea Bassin

    I agree I could not imagine a world with out the current Royal family in England. My husband doesn’t get it, but that is okay he doesn’t need to. There is nothing like a good romance book.

    • Julia London

      Are you ga-ga over Prince George? Will he not be the most adorable toddler?

  • Courtney Cogswell

    Love your thoughts on romance–you’ve got some great insights on historical figures. I’ve always loved the romance genre and I’ll definitely be adding your books to my list as well! (After this month, I’m going to have a crazy long to-be-read list)

    • Julia London

      That’s a good problem to have, Courtney. Thank you!

    • I know, right??!

  • Jessika Zee

    Love the screaming head in a hat haha! Romance is everywhere I believe that’s for sure. Thanks for the blog!

    • Julia London

      I was hoping someone would comment on my artistic talent 🙂

  • SuzyQ

    Wow, Julia, your great great grandmother sounds like quite of women! Any plans on a story about her?

    • Julia London

      Suzy, I would love too. But I struggle with that need to present fact vs dressing it up in a sexy romance novel, you know?

      • SuzyQ

        Maybe you could do it as a personal project for you and your family…sounds like a story to be handed down.

  • Laura Cook

    Art is in the eye of the beholder! Love all romance books. Right now reading more historical.

    • Julia London

      Excellent! I’ll always be a historical girl at heart.

    • There are some crazy good historicals coming out these days – Anne Gracie, Sarah MacLean, Juliana Gray, Jennifer Ashley, Tessa Dare (not to mention the usual ones, Eloisa James, Teresa Medeiros, Christina Dodd…) Can’t wait for another Lisa Kleypas historical!

  • Amy McKechney Lang

    I think it is awesome that you consider love a monetary gift! I think love is a more important currency than cash, credit cards, etc.

    • Julia London

      Oh my gosh, do you know I just this moment realized that the question asked about a monetary gift? LOL! I just read “gift.”

      I don’t think I have ever received a monetary gift. Hmmm….

      • No it should be non-monetary – is that a typo?! Sorry!

      • Julia London

        Bobbi says that it should have said non-monetary gift. So glad she cleared that up! I wondered how I could have missed that

  • suepeace

    Your Grandmother sounds like she should have written a book!! 🙂 I have read your books (love them!) and am looking forward to reading Homecoming Ranch 🙂

    • Julia London

      Thanks so much, Sue! I would give anything to talk to her now. I never knew her, but have heard the lore all my life

  • shanan mallard

    Would love to read this one.

    • Julia London

      If you don’t win here today, Shanan, it’s on sale August 13. Good luck!

  • Helen Mary LeClair

    Really funny – but I just bought Juilette Millers book for my kindle. I hope I enjoy it as much as I enjoy your books.

    • Julia London

      Thank you Helen 🙂

  • Kim Cornwell

    I couldn’t live without my romance books! Anything goes for me! Thanks for the chance to win. I love this monthly romancing thingy! I get to find so many new authors and more books to read!

    • Julia London

      It is the great brainchild of Bobbi. Great idea!

    • Thank you, Kim – glad you found R-A-R M

  • Bette Hansen

    very interesting blog and I must say I haven’t read any of your books before but now I am looking forward to Homecoming Ranch as well as some of your other contemporary titles

    • Julia London

      Thanks Bette. I happen to know that three of them are in the Kindle 100 deal for 99c this month. 🙂

  • christinejensen

    As the song says, “Love,Love Changes everything!” Thanks for the chance to win 🙂

    • Julia London

      Very welcome!

  • brhill2010

    Your blog is very interesting and I have never really thought that romance had such an influence. YEs I love to read romance but you have put it in a new presepective for me. Thank you!!

    • Julia London

      You are welcome. It’s what I do…I sit around and contemplate my navel and other things

  • Tawnya Bentley

    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway! And thank you for sharing your gift of story telling.

    • Julia London

      You are very welcome. Thank you for being a fan

  • Donna Logan Brown

    Love the concept of this blog, Julia, and your insights into the world of romance. I’ve been a romance reader for well over fifty years and have enjoyed every minute. My talents at sculpting run along the same lines as yours, even the one where I had to make an imprint of my hand. I’ve already read Homecoming Ranch and thoroughly enjoyed it, so please don’t enter me in the drawing.

    • Julia London

      Thanks Donna. So glad you enjoyed it!

    • Thank you, Donna! Sounds like R-A-R M is perfect for you! xoxo

  • Monica

    Sounds like a great book to read. Will add it to my wish list.

    • Julia London

      Thanks Monica!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I love romance! I would love to read your book.

    • Julia London

      Thanks Melissa. Good luck!

  • Raynelle Nazario

    No Princess Diana!! OH NO!! 🙂 No Julia London!! Can’t imagine it!!! 🙂

    • Julia London

      I know, right??

  • Nicole Fortuna

    Your new book sounds great I can’t wait to read it.

    • Julia London

      Thank you Nicole!

  • Karn Jones

    I read a book a day and almost always leave a review. I would love an ARC!!! I promise a review!

    • Julia London

      Thank you, Kam. Good luck!!

  • Lee

    Books make the world go around…. I never leave the house without my Kindle, a book, and/or my phone which has the kindle app on it 🙂

    • Julia London

      I know. It’s so much easier to read on the go than it used to be

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Great historical info – I had no clue! Looking forward to reading your book. PS I love Terri’s book, too!

    • Julia London

      Thanks, Sharlene 🙂

      • Sharlene Wegner

        You’re welcome!

    • Thank you, Sharlene!

      • Sharlene Wegner

        Of course, Terri!

  • Lisa Scolese Chan

    Loved hearing about your family history, what a great story to tell!! You should put your great great grandmother in a book. 🙂

    • Julia London

      I should. I would love to find where she lived in Tennessee

  • tonda hargett

    Books and love, both a blessing! 🙂

    • Julia London

      And a love of books on top of that. Not every one has it, as we all know

  • Mary Anne Landers

    Thank you for your post, Julia. Here’s my take: romance matters to me, but not because of its influence on public life, its role in important world events. Situations like that are rare. The Abdication Crisis took place back in 1936-1937, and on the other side of the pond. But in private life, on a personal level, romance is important—sometimes more important than anything else. I doubt anyone would be interested in my love life. But you can bet it matters to me! I believe this gap between “love means nothing” on the world stage and “love means everything” for an individual, creates a need to fill it with fantasies, with the imagination. And that includes romance fiction.

    • Julia London

      Great perspective, Mary Anne.

  • Valerie

    I love getting recommendations of new books to read. Thanks!

    • Julia London

      Welcome!

  • JW Ashley

    It’s interesting this sense that romance matters on a global and political scale. In grad school, I made the argument–along with a lot of scholars that romance as we know it is a relatively modern invention. Despite that, I have hope for it. I’m a romance writer and a blogger and book reviewer. I grew up reading novels by the dozen and will continue to do so, but I’d be interested to know: even if romance matters… why do romance novels matter? (And I think they do. I just want to hear what others think about it…)

    • Julia London

      It’s probably true, JW. But as humans have evolved, so have our emotions and our romance

    • Hi, JW – R-A-R M is really about the romance genre, rather than the concept of romance. All of the authors were requested to write on the subject “Romance Matters” in whatever way they chose. Julia took a more historical approach than many others, but I hope you’ll read all the essays, because there are so many good responses to your question.

      As for me, I also have a lot of reasons, but the main ones are that it matters because we like it, it makes us feel better, and the books are empowering and uplifting. I’ve written about the idea in a number of places, including NPR, on Kindle Gal and today at the HEA blog.

      Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month – I hope you’ll stay for the month and look around! xoxo

  • JW Ashley

    PS: Great ceramic face!

  • ceblain

    I am new to the romance genre, but have been finding more and more really great author’s books that I am hoping to try soon. Winning a copy would certainly get me started on your novels, Julia. What a nice interview; the books sounds so good.
    Thank you for adding me to the giveaway list.

    • Julia London

      You’re welcome — and good luck!

      • ceblain

        Thank you so much.
        Cynthia

  • Susan Mallery

    Love your 3D self-portrait. Hysterical!!! And wow, I love the examples of how love has changed world history. It certainly changes our personal histories, too.

    • Julia London

      That new baby in England sure brings it into focus

      • Susan Mallery

        I’m going to love him and squeeze him and pet him and call him George.

  • Juliette Miller

    Love your post, Julia – and, of course, your sculpture! I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of this event. Thank you so much for recommending me!!

    • Julia London

      You are very welcome Juliette

  • Morgan

    Great post, Julia! Romance and relationships, where would we be without them!

    • Julia London

      Precisely, Morgan!

  • Dee McGee

    Bahahahaha! I have a similar bust of clay I made of my dad. He still has it and scares my girls with it when they visit.

    The Seduction of Lady X is the very first Julia London book I read. I wasn’t a historical romance fan and it was this book that made me one. Thanks Julia (Guila). ♥

    • Julia London

      Oooh, then my work here is complete. Thanks, Dee!

  • Kim Cornwell

    I have a gator head hanging on mine! Went to a local sporting goods store with hubby to meet Swamp People and he brought it home! Thanks for the time you spent introducing yourself here! I’m loving it! Thanks for the giveaway too!

    • Julia London

      Very welcome, Kim!

  • Heather Swindler Braswell

    We have a ceramic piece that my sister made for my grandma. It’s supposed to be a cup with an owl on the front. Looks NOTHING like it’s supposed to but my grandma cherished that cup so we do too.

    • Julia London

      Isn’t it funny how the worst art is the treasured art in the family? LOL (altho, to be fair, no one treasures my creation but me)

  • May

    Love your books so looking forward to this one too!

    • Julia London

      Thank you May 🙂

  • Dana Shoulders

    I love that the perspective was completely different than I expected. I was thinking of why romance matters in fiction, but you are completely right that it totally matters in our lives and it has the power to change history both for good and bad. I also loved your great, great grand story :).

    • Julia London

      Thank you Dana. Carrie (my great great gran) would probably think it was a lot of fuss over nothing

  • Cheryl Hastings

    I love how you carry your ceramic masterpiece after all these years 🙂

    • Julia London

      hahaa…masterpiece is right!

  • QuenKne M

    I am a romantic through and through and I love reading romance novels. Thanks to all the great writers like you, Julie, who can write stories that bring such pleasure to readers like myself. By the way, love the self-portrait!! 🙂

    • Julia London

      Thank you, QuenKne. I am feeling inspired to make a companion piece

  • Dana Brown

    Love the Q&A! Thank you Julia for all of the wonderful romances novels! Can’t wait to read Homecoming Ranch!!

    • Julia London

      Thank you, Dana 🙂

  • Karen Gallagher

    Romance novels have been my constant companion since I read my first
    Danielle Steel in Jr High. I’ve long since reached the age that they
    matter enough to me that it doesn’t really matter whether or not they
    matter to anyone else. Well, except my mom, who reads my hand-me-downs
    and used to read my grandma’s hand-me-downs. I remember the first time I read one of my grandma’s books – I must’ve blushed for a week. And it still makes me crack a smile.

    • Julia London

      I love that – discovering Grandma has something else going on than cookies.

  • Ayannali1

    Romance Rocks, Romance Matters and I am glad you write the great stories you do!

    I do have to admit, Scotland is one of my favorite places to read about then England (even better romances that are set near the border so it hits both 🙂 )

    Off to finish my romance book, oh to curl up and be taken away by a good story

    • Julia London

      Thanks, Ayannali. (BTW, the Last Debutante is set in Scotland)

  • erom13

    Your movie sounds fabulous. I always find it hilarious when the credits include “paperboy #1” or “dogwalker”

  • Tracy Riva

    Julia, in a world where romance is so often looked at as frivolous or old-fashioned, it is so nice to be reminded of all the ways it really does matter and don’t forget, it gives hope to so many of us who have yet to find our HEA.

  • Jen C

    Romance, in real life and in the books I read, definitely plays an important part in my life..

  • Marcy Shuler

    I rarely read anything BUT romances. LOL They make me happy.

    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

  • Britney Adams

    Romance definitely matters! Thank you for the great essay and giveaway!

  • Lisa White

    You said ‘Pick up a romance novel today’ but my problem is which one. My family made me thin through my books before I could get more. After donating about a 100 books to local groups, I still had over 1100 books. 🙂 Good thing I’m a fast reader and can read a book in a day or two. I really don’t know what I’d do without my romance books.

  • Rose

    Romance novels are some of my favorite. I love your books! Thank you for the awesome stories!

  • MaryC

    Love the ceramic thing!

  • Jacquie Tobin

    I read romance to escape to a world where anything can and will happen. I prefer historical romance because I was born 150 years too late. When I read a romance novel I pretend I am the heroine in the story.

  • Alina Popescu

    What lovely thoughts! Thank you for sharing them.

  • Sarah Morgan

    Julia, I love your ‘screaming head with a hat’ and I love your post!

  • Jen Barnard

    this book sounds great – would love to win it.
    I hope I’m in time to enter I live in the UK and am unsure about the time difference.

  • Becky Rabalais

    Thanks for sharing your grandmother’s inspiring story!

  • Cindy Austin

    Julia London writes books that speak directly to my heart. I rush to get a copy of each new release. My favorite is The Last Debutante. I love witty Daria; she is my newest role model. No matter what is thrown at her; this lady takes it and turns it to her favor. Oh to be so lucky!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    I READ ROMANCE! I have been out of the closet about it for some time now. Life is just too short to only read about war, death, and family dysfunction all the time. Thank you for the HEA’s, Julia.

  • Karin Anderson

    I love your point about most of our classics. They do seem to be romances. 😀 Romeo & Juliet, Tristan & Isolde, Robin Hood. They all have elements of romance.

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    I certainly will pick up romance novels everyday! What a story about your grandmother! Glad you are writing those romance novels!

  • cynthia owens

    Will your new book Homecoming Ranch be released on the Nook. That is the e-reader I have and so far it is not showing up.

  • Cindy A

    Love your family story! Which Texas town? My great grandparents came from Germany and set up a dairy farm in N. Texas.