Day 11 Laurin Wittig – Delicious Hope

Really. It’s the Hope.

Daring the HighlanderRomance matters. I’ve known this ever since I got hooked on Nancy Drew and wondered what the heck was up with Ned. I mean, the boy had no game and Nancy deserved better. I was ten.

I’ve known romance matters ever since I read Little Women and was heartbroken that Laurie didn’t end up with Jo. That was so wrong. I was eleven.

And, growing up in the Deep South as I did, I knew that romance mattered to Rhett Butler, even if it didn’t seem to matter to Scarlet. I wanted better for Rhett. I think I was about ten the first time I saw the movie.

I read fantasy for a long time, and discovered at one point in my mid-twenties, as I looked at my keeper shelves, that I had a preference for female writers who featured strong romantic story lines in their books. I devoured those stories and read them over and over.

I didn’t realize it yet in a conscious way, but romance stories were (and remain) my favorite sort. They spoke to me in a way coming of age stories, mysteries, or any other genre just didn’t. They fed my heart and my soul and made me feel…well, they make me feel.

And then, in my late twenties, I happened to discover the wide world of romance novels. Can you say heaven? I couldn’t get enough of contemporaries (I discovered Silhouettes first), and then I wallowed in historicals, especially those that wrapped closest around my heart, Scottish historicals. And then I discovered paranormal romances, which brought me very close to my fantasy-loving roots.

It wasn’t until I wrote a romance that I began to get questioned about my choice of genre. At first, I got defensive. I learned to say, “Jane Austen wrote romances. So did Shakespeare.” That usually prompted questions about what defined a story as a romance, and again, I was prepared with something to the effect of “it’s a story about a couple that ends with them in a committed relationship, and always has a happily-ever-after.” Stock answers that really said nothing about why they mattered to me so much that I had to spin my own romance yarns for other people to read.

But it got me to wondering what it was exactly that I found so delicious and affirming about a romance novel (or a movie, or a play). As I cast about for something profound, something academic, perhaps, something weighty that would validate my choice of genre, I realized that none of that mattered. I needed to dig deeper until I discovered the real reason I love romances, and I found it.

Romances celebrate hope.

Highlander BetrayedThey are about the hope of the characters finding their way through trials and tribulations to their very own happily ever after. They affirm the importance and the value of the pair bond, the committed couple, and that value always stretches beyond the hero and the heroine, imbuing their community, their families, their friends, and their own lives with joy, happiness, and hope.

Romance matters because it gives us all hope that we, too, just like the heroes and the heroines of our favorite novels, will prevail in spite of troubles and turmoil; that we will strive to become a better version of ourselves; and that we will find our own happily ever after. Romance holds out hope for a better, happier, more loving future.

Pick up your favorite romance and see if hope isn’t always threading its way through the story. You, the reader, bring a lot of hope to the story, too, as you read, ever hopeful that the hero and the heroine will figure it all out, as you hope they find their way to each other, as you hope their happily ever after will make you sigh and believe that all is right in the world, at least for those moments you lose yourself in the pages.

So now I have a better, truer, more personal answer when someone asks me why I read and write romances: Romances, at their most basic, make me feel hopeful and I want to share that hopefulness with the world.

 

Recommendations:

I’d like to recommend Suzan Tisdale to anyone who loves Scottish historical romances. Suzan publishes independently and has had her books in the Amazon top 100 historical romances for most of the last year. Her latest novella is McKenna’s Honor. Please give her a try! www.suzantisdale.com


 

Questions for Laurin:

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

I have a ceramic blob that looks vaguely like a fat person with three smaller people stuck to it in odd places. It’s all white and it was made by my son when he was in first or second grade. When I asked him what it was he said it was a storyteller with children in her lap. It’s one of my most treasured pieces and sits on the bookshelf in my office.

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

Who is easy. Susan Sarandon would play me now, and Emma Stone would play the young me. What it would be called: Can I Go to My Room Now?

What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

When the kids were younger we had a family portrait taken – lots of pictures actually. When we went to view the proofs and choose what we wanted, the first thing we saw was a 3×3 grouping of pictures – 9 pictures altogether. I think I drooled over them. My ever-cost-conscious husband asked the price and I knew it was beyond what we had budgeted so I took another wistful look and moved on to choose other fabulous pictures. A month and a half later Christmas day dawns. My husband makes me wait for the very last present to be opened before he gives me his gift. I pulled those nine beautiful pictures of my family out of the gift bags and cried. I’ve never cried over a present before or since and I still look at those pictures every day.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

Catriona and Tayg in Charming the Shrew will always have a place in my heart. They were such fun to write, especially the snowball fight scene!

Laurin is generously donating one copy of Highlander Betrayed to give away internationally (enter here) and one copy to U.S. readers. Winners’ choice of either print or e-copy. To enter the domestic contest, 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 12 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.


Laurin WittigLaurin Wittig, award-winning, bestselling author of enchanting Scottish historical romances, has been published traditionally, independently, and by Montlake Romance/Amazon. She studied cultural anthropology at Brown University, then launched a career in the computer industry in Washington, DC, but it was storytelling that always called to her. Today Wittig lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, and happily gets to spend her days writing her stories. Her latest novel, Highlander Betrayed, the first book in her Guardians of the Targe trilogy, is an August release from Montlake Romance.

 Buy Laurin’s books on Amazon

 

  • Nancy Huddleston

    Now I have someone new to read.Yippee!

  • Melanie Backus

    I love romance and I love a good book! Keeping my fingers crossed for the win!

  • Kim Cornwell

    Love finding new authors! Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  • Sandi in OH

    When movies don’t have the ending that I want, I change the ending to suit me. I agree with you about Little Women and Gone With The Wind. I also agree about hope. You can find hope even in the middle of despair.

  • Britney Adams

    I love that romance books celebrate hope!

  • Patty Vasquez

    I also got hooked on romance as a 10 year old. My path was by way of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles and the story of Taran, the pig-keeper, who grows up to be the High King, and Eilonwy, who becomes his wife and Queen. Sigh. I remember the magic of that first crush on a book hero. I wanted to be Eilonwy, who never lost hope. She was smart and brave and proud, and got Taran and her HEA in the end.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    I like your message about romance giving you hope. And I totally agree that Scarlet was a witch & didn’t deserve Rhett, and that Laurie should have ended up with Jo and not the silly sister! LOL!

  • rebecca moe

    Absolutely. What was Louisa May Alcott thinking? At least Rhett left Scarlett–because, hello. He could do sooooo much better.

  • Marcy Shuler

    Romances do give me hope, along with making me happy.

  • MaryC

    Laughed at the comment about Ned – I remember having the same reaction.

  • Mary Jo Burke

    Hope is a quiet yearning that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

  • Kristy Birch

    Gone With the Wind was a catalyst for me as well. How can you not want to find a story where a Rhett type finds the lady and keeps her?

  • Karin Anderson

    I don’t know if you ever read the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Supermysteries, but in Secrets of the Nile – Nancy & Frank kiss!!! I searched LONG and hard for that book when I found out. 😀

  • Donna Logan Brown

    I was never as insightful about Nancy Drew as you seemed to be. Kudos to you. I agree about Rhett, though. He needed someone not so narcissistic to love him in return. You are a new-to-me author although some of your books are in my vast TBR assembly of books. Am so glad you’re a part of this wonderful concept.

  • Ann Mettert

    I always thought Ned was kind of a wimp. 🙂 And I felt the same about Laurie and Rhett as you did. No wonder I like your writing. 🙂

  • Meredith Richardson

    I’ve just gotta say that looking at the cover of Daring the Highlander is all the encouragement I need to read your book *blushes*

  • Nicole Fortuna

    Gone With the Wind led me to books with happier endings. I was also disappointed that Jo didn’t end up with Laurie in Little Women. Now I read romance books no disappointment!

  • miki

    i’m really happy to discover yoyu thanks to this event!

  • glittergirl54

    I am with you about romance and hope. I also seek the HEA but romance also gives us a picture of hope that we cling to when life gets to be too much. Our reading journey is much the same — Highlanders being my first love <3 Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Dear Laurin, thank you for your words about hope. This is the reason why I love so much romance. They bring me to think that there is good in life, even when I can’t see it. They give me strenght in difficult moments, for I hope that…tomorrow surely will be better!! And thank you for the international part of your give-away…I’m in Italy!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I am all for the hope that romance books provide. :0) We all need a little hope in our daily lives.

  • Carrie Marie

    Beautifully stated!! : ) Also – the story of your husband’s Christmas gift to you? LOVE!

  • Glenda

    Loved the story of your favorite gift. I think any mom who has ever been on a budget can relate. 🙂 You are right romances give us all hope for a happy ending.

  • ki pha

    Oh Laurin, you got it right on target. Hope is always around but in books it’s mostly unknown or unseen. More like, people don’t think of it that way. But we readers read about it and see it all the time. Why do you think we’re always happy while reading a book? LOL Thank you for your wisdom Laurin!

  • Ruth

    I was in fourth grade when I read “Little Women.” I was so angry that Jo and Laurie didn’t end up together, I threw my book across my bedroom and didn’t pick it up again for a week. And I’ve always maintained that what this world needs is more Captain Butlers 🙂 I read romance for hope. And Highlanders. I mean, really. Who doesn’t want one of her very own? You are a new author to me, Laurin. You had me at “Scottish.”

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    You said it, Lauren! Literally! Your post today really resonated with me because it is so much the same as my own journey to reading and loving Romance. Brava!

  • QuenKne M

    I think of Hope and Love are just as essential as food and water. Without either, life would be very difficult to get through. My sister has a chronic debilitating illness and actually started a charity that emphasizes Hope. It is called Hope 4 SATOBS [Hope for those who are Sick And Tired Of Being Sick]. That might sound odd, but when you are chronically ill, you just don’t want to dwell on your illness and have it be the only thing people see, you want Hope. Hope to get better; Hope to find importance in your life; Hope to find love.

  • tonda hargett

    Thank you for your essay. No one could have said it better! Please keep giving us hope!

  • WinnieP

    Your craziest or ugliest object, a storyteller with children, is my favorite so far.

  • Barbara E.

    I enjoyed the post and I agree, romance does matter. I loved your answer to best non-monetary gift, I treasure those types of gifts over anything else. 😀

  • Pamby50

    I love reading books about Scottish highland clans. Looking forward to reading a book of yours.

  • Ann

    “Romances celebrate hope.” – Another great quote for RARM!

  • Jen C

    Oh, you had me so wrapped up in this post! I was thinking, “Yeah, how do you define it. Agh! That’s so difficult.” Then BAM – “Romances celebrate hope”! Yep, I think in three simple words, in the simplest complete sentence of subject-verb-object, you got it. Good on you! I’ve really enjoyed reading all these essays this month so far, and yours is definitely one of my favorites.

  • BookLady

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on romance. Love your books and the covers are absolutely beautiful.

  • Katy M

    Hope is so important in life, and it’s wonderful to be able to pick up a book when you’re feeling drained and put it down feeling full again with a smile on your face.
    Also, I remember making a storyteller when I was around the age your son was as well. Your son gave it to the right person 😉

  • Janie McGaugh

    I always felt so bad for Rhett and agree that he deserved better. Thank you for sharing your take on why we read romance.

  • Kim

    Great post! Hope is a great reason for reading (and writing) romance novels!

  • Rhiannon Rowland

    Yes, that is it exactly. Knowing you can turn to a romance, no matter what is going on in your life and find that hope, happiness and love!

  • I haven’t read a highlander book yet, but I’ve really been wanting to. I, too, was fascinated with Nancy Drew around the samge age. 🙂 Thank you for coming by today!

  • leah g

    Romance month is making me fall in love with romance. I realized a similar thing about my most beloved books recently. They are all mysteries and thrillers but the ones I love and have gone back to also have a hint of romance with a strong female protagonist and quick witted dialog. The realization definitely made me re-evaluate how I felt about romances.

  • Laurin! Thanks so much for participating in R-A-R M, and for writing such a great post. xoxo

  • Laurie W G

    I like romance because I want a happy ending. I don’t want to be depressed or scared out of my mind . I like to travel and see new places via the eyes of the author. I like to learn about historical events and different cultures.
    I haven’t read your books but I’ve heard wonderful things about your historical accuracy and intriguing characters.

  • Lisa Glidewell

    Love the post! You had me hangin on every word! Love the book covers. I’d love to have that hot hunk of a man hold on to me like he’s holding on to that sword of his! Lol! He is yummy!

  • Laurin Wittig

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by, especially those who left comments! So glad my take on why romance matters resonated with you! 🙂 Read on!

  • Ketta Peters

    I’ve read “Daring the Highlander” and “Charming the Shrew” — absolutely loved them both!

  • MK

    Can’t wait to read your new release!

  • Mary McCoy

    Ever since Pandora let out all the evils upon the world, it has been important to hang onto hope! And I agree that Jo letting Laurie go turned that book for me into sermon instead of a romance.

  • Rowan Worth

    Great post! Yup, Romance is all about hope. And hope is what gets us through the tough times.