Day 2 – Beth Kendrick

Romance, The Best-Ever Gateway Drug

Romance is a gateway drug.

You start out, as a reader and/or a writer, telling yourself that okay, you’ll just try this one story. One first kiss. One leap of faith. One happy ending.

But one is never enough, is it? Next thing you know, the floodgates are open and you’re still reading and/or writing romance, but somehow romance has proliferated into many other varieties of love: bonding with a critique partner, talking to strangers at writing conferences, joining a book club, sharing your favorite novels with your mother and your sister, helping to organize fundraisers for worthy causes, taking in stray puppies you find on the street… Where will this madness end?

Well, the madness never ends, because love never ends. It perseveres, getting exponentially stronger as we bring new recruits into the fold. In real life, as in books, romantic love does more than fulfill the lovers. Romantic love leads to friendship, charity, forgiveness, piety.

  Every time I read the last page of a great romance, I feel a subversive little thrill, because the author and I know the truth: love really IS the meaning of life. Love really can empower us, heal us, protect us. Romance is so much more than tales of hot sex with guys who have angst and six-pack abs. A compelling love story requires trust, loyalty, passion, conviction…plus a lot of other people. Love cannot take hold and thrive in a vacuum. The supporting characters push the hero and heroine together, or pull them apart. They listen. They advise, they challenge. They provide the friendship and devotion that emboldens the hero and heroine to do the thing they think they cannot do.

Even if a heroine finds the best romantic partner in the world, she still needs her female friends and confidantes.  I love writing about female friendship because our friends are the family we choose for ourselves. I consider my good girlfriends to be my bonus sisters. Especially my writer friends. We love and support each other unconditionally. (SPOILER ALERT: It’s because we’re all crazycakes.) Romance readers and writers truly are a close, caring community. I hit the “clueless newbie writer” jackpot with several patient and generous mentors who helped me more than I can ever hope to repay. But I do my best to pay it forward, and I’m so excited to shamelessly name-drop my writing buddy Marina Myles, whose paranormal romance debut, Beauty and the Wolf, was just published by Kensington. (Read more about Marina and her book at www.marinamyles.com.)

And the readers! Romance readers deserve their own private island, complete with a vast romance-centric library (booze, chocolate, and comfy chairs available 24/7) and zero haters. We’ll call it the Republic of Romance Readers, every room will have an ocean view, and the weather will be 84 degrees and sunny every day. Who wants to be on the planning committee? My wonderful readers make me laugh, make me think, and make my books better. Facebook fans have nominated themselves–and their dogs–for cameos in my books. They’ve chosen a name for a heroine’s little red convertible (Scarlett) and put together the ultimate bitter breakup playlist featuring songs from all genres. Were it not for readers, I might have wasted my whole life without ever listening to the musical genius that is Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City.”

Love connects us, in all its variations, until we are unsinkable. Love prepares us to reach our potential and be a good partner to somebody else. And that’s what romance is really about: Belief in one’s own intrinsic worthiness. Faith in things unseen. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway, because you know someone will catch you if you fall.

(Although, let’s be real, a little hot sex with a guy with six-pack abs never hurt anyone.)


 

Questions for the Author

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

Craziest would be my giant red mutt, Friday. He’s not the smartest dog in the world, but he compensates by being extra loopy. When he first wakes up in the morning, he likes to roll over on his back, thrash around, and open his gigantic jaws. We call him “Gator Friday” because, well, he sort of looks like a furry red alligator.

Now that I’m actually typing this out, it doesn’t make 100% sense, so let’s just move along, shall we?

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

“Deadline Jail: The Beth Kendrick Story”.  It would be a gritty thriller shot in grainy black and white, full of exultation, despair, and futile escape attempts.

I would cast Chris Hemsworth (see also: hot men with six-pack abs) as Beth Kendrick. I hear he’s a method actor, so he’d have to come to my house, immerse himself in my world, really connect with me on every level. These are the sacrifices we make for art!

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

My author bestie Kresley Cole dedicated a book to me. I shed a little tear when I first saw it. But don’t tell her I said that.

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?)

Grab The Week Before the Wedding and enjoy the fireworks. Ryan, the hero, strode in on the first page, all swarthy and badass, and commandeered the whole story. I always get a little crush going for my heroes, but this guy took it to another level. By the end of that book, I was like, “Ryan Lassiter, WHY AREN’T YOU REAL?!?”

Two words: bathtub scene. You’ll thank me later.

Beth is generously donating three copies of The Week Before the Wedding to give away (U.S. only, apologies to international readers.) 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 2 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.


 

Beth Kendrick lives in Arizona with her trusty rescue dogs, Roxie Hart and Friday. She is the author of nine women’s fiction books, including The Week Before the Wedding, The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service, and Nearlyweds, which was made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Find out more about Beth at www.bethkendrick.com

Search for Beth’s Books on Amazon

  • lisa

    I want to escape to that island too:)

  • Linda White

    I am getting The Week Before the Wedding right now. I haven’t read your work yet, but am looking forward to it!

  • Jen Ferraro Stepke

    Love your take on romance novels….gateway drug indeed! “My name is Jennifer and I am a romance addict!” LOL 😉

  • Thanks so much Beth, for taking part in R-A-R M! Ryan sounds yummy!

  • Margaret Hughes

    I love your thoughts on friendships and that “friends are the family we choose for ourselves” – so true!

  • Bette Hansen

    I would definitely love to visit the romance readers private island!!

  • Tory

    Republic of Romancr Readers AKA Paradise 🙂

  • Courtney Cogswell

    Great message–I especially like your thoughts on supporting characters in books. I think that is a huge part of what makes certain books really stand out. I love a good hero/heroine but quirky and fun sidekicks are always awesome. Definitely planning on checking out your books…starting with The Week Before The Wedding I think 🙂

  • Diane Giarrusso

    Buying my ticket to the Republic of Romance Readers right now! Thanks for the great post! I can’t wait to read The Week Before the Wedding!

  • Kelly Harms

    Ahhh bathtub scene! Sold!

  • Amy McKechney Lang

    Your dog looks like my dog Chewy! We had to give Chewy to a friend because we had to move into a rental property that does not accept large dogs…..but the nice thing is since our friend has him we still have visitation rights.

  • Britney Adams

    Looking forward to meeting Ryan Lassiter!

  • Carla Michelle Peavler Alcorn

    Wow now that sounds like a hot read!!

  • Karen Johnston

    I think I will head straight over to amazon to find ryan! ;)00

  • Melanie Backus

    Can’t wait to meet Ryan!

  • brhill2010

    Ryan was my favorite character!! YOU are definitely right about the bathtub scene!! How did you get inspiration for Ryan?? Love your books and can’t wait to read more by you!!

  • M Kuxhaus

    The Republic of Romance Readers sounds blissful! I might sweat at 84° though…could we make that 74° instead? PS I enjoyed The Nearlyweds on the Hallmark channel; I didn’t realize it was a book, too. I bet I’d enjoy the book even more.

    • Hi, M –

      I grew up in El Paso, TX (hot dry heat) lived in DC for twenty years (swamp) and now live in Madison, WI (the Arctic in winter). 85* does not sound too hot when you live in the desert, but when you live in WI, it really does! I’m with you, right around 74* is perfect. xoxo

    • Cheryl Hastings

      I agree with the drop in temp to 74!!

  • Rochelle

    I love your books! I just got back from vacation where I enjoyed all the elements of the Republic of Romance!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    That sounds like a great read. I like the island idea. 🙂

  • Hannah Weitzman

    Oooo. Can’t wait to read.

  • Jordan H

    I was not familiar with Beth Kendrick before seeing this contest, but after reading about this book I think I’ll definitely have to pick up her books. 🙂

  • suepeace

    Love what you’ve written about romance, it’s so true!

  • Ruth

    The Republic of Romance Readers? Sign me up!! As a self-appointed planning committee member, I must add ice cream to our list of requirements. And it looks like I have a date with Ryan Lassiter. Thanks!

  • Ann Mettert

    Enjoyed reading this. 🙂

  • Morgan

    I am finding so many great new writers this month! And Beth, you are winning the cutest dog award! I’ll dog sit anytime!

    • So glad you found R-A-R M, Morgan! (And only Day 2!) xoxo

  • christinejensen

    Love it what it’s all about!

  • Bridget O’Neill

    I SO want to read this!

  • Tina B

    Ooh, I love bathtub scenes! And Ryan sounds sexy! 😉
    I have to agree with you about Romance books. As soon as I started reading them, I could not get enough. I read most of the sub-genres. I have even read the ones that make me ugly cry. Lol. Thanks for sharing and for the opportunity to read one of your stories. I am adding this one to my TBR.

  • Becky Rabalais

    Thanks for sharing! I want to try reading one of your books after reading your entry. Many thanks!

  • tonda hargett

    Your description of Friday makes perfectly good sense, I love it! ha ha

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Hi Beth! Can I come to that island? Can Chris Hemsworth come, too? LOL! (He could be my son!) I love your description of the romance community. From FB & blogs, I know there is a great common bond & a caring community.

    • Agreed, Sharlene – glad you’re here! xoxo

      • Sharlene Wegner

        Me, too! This is a great event. The authors are putting in a major effort to give us information about themselves, their books & other things.

        • Thanks so much! I hope you’ll share when you can. xoxo

  • QuenKne M

    Sign me up!! Just tell me where The Republic of Romance Readers island is and I will be there (and let’s make sure there are enough sexy hot hunks for everyone, I don’t want to share 🙂 )

  • Chanpreet

    I don’t have sisters and consider my close girlfriends to be my sisters too! I can’t wait for my brother’s to get married so i can add to the pool of “sisters.” I’m just hoping they’ll be women I love as well.

  • TrishJ

    This is a new author for me, but I loved her post. I want to live on that island!! I can see this month is seriously going to eat into my mad money for books. But I read a LOT so finding new authors is fantastic.

  • Kim Cornwell

    Wow I love finding new authors and this is such a great way! Thanks for stoping by!

    • And thank you for stopping in, too, Kim! xoxo

  • Erica H

    I was not familiar with your work, but you totally made me want to pick up one of your books!

  • Kim

    I might just need to meet Ryan. I love the idea of a romance readers island! Where can I sign up?

    • I think R-A-R M should meet there next year, what do you think Kim?

      • Kim

        Absolutely!!

  • Cheryl Hastings

    Just reserved this book through my library…I love romances centered around weddings!! I’ll join the Republic, but I prefer a nice 74 degrees with a slight balmy breeze 🙂

  • You had me at gateway drug, but I’m glad I stuck around for the bathtub scene tip. Another one click winner. (And Friday is cute!)

  • Marlene Egnel

    Great interview and giveaway.

  • Dana Shoulders

    I think your casting is inspired for the movie of your life! 😉

  • Meg Staib Munson

    Sounds like such a fun read! Would love to win a copy:-)

  • Jen C

    Gateway for sure! I used to be the anti-reader. Now, I’ve always got at least one book in my presence and I’m either listening to it or reading it! 🙂

  • MaryC

    Love The Luck Dog Matchmaking Service and The Week Before The Wedding – looking forward to reading your backlist.

  • Vickie P

    I can’t beat Terri Osburn’s comment! No way!,

  • leah g

    I am so on the planning committee. But I think one side should be beach and one side snowy cabins that you are totally snowbound in with a fireplace and some wine and you have to cuddle up for warmth

  • Mo

    And what a wonderful gateway drug . . . .

  • erom13

    Since I don’t have any biological sisters, I too believe in adopting my close female friends as sisters. And that includes sharing a fun romance novel or two.

  • Rebecca Berus

    I would totally be all for that Island! Friday is cute and I think its funny/cool that you call him Gator Friday.

  • Yes. Love IS the meaning of life. I’ve not yet read your books, but I’m planning to fix that, in part because of what you said about the importance of female friends, and more broadly friendships in general, both for the romantic couple and for, well, everyone! And in part because I can tell you’ve got a good sense of humor. But can we please also have a gorgeous alpine mountain range in the Republic of Romance Readers? Because I’m really not a beach person.

  • Laura Z

    Read the excerpt from The Week before the Wedding, Sounds like a winner so now I need to read it.

  • Niki Rittenhouse

    You are totally correct. These books suck me in for hours…sometimes days…. Help feed my addiction. 🙂

  • You’re so right! I often talk about how I got “hooked on” romances ever since I picked up Amanda Quick’s “Reckless” when I was a little girl. But, I’ve gotten a lot of flak because of that. Once, a friend of mine insisted that romance novels were like Coke products. Addicting and terribly bad for you. I told him to imagine, instead, that they were like addictive apples. He didn’t get it. And no wonder. No one thinks its reasonable to love something that’s good for you. 😉 Reach our full potential indeed! I’ll take a good ol’ steaming mug of romance any day!

  • Linnea Bassin

    I know I could not have made it through teaching that last 7 years if it wasn’t for a few of my teacher friends who have helped me through. I know the bonus sister feeling, even though I have three wonderful sisters.

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    I am so far beyond the “Gateway,” Beth, and loving every minute of it!

  • Jenny Martin

    What a great giveaway!

  • Sandy Porter

    Wow, I really am liking this Read A Romance Month. I have never read any of your books. But I love your way of thinking & I’m definitely thinking I want to read your books!! I love your dog Friday. I really think I agreed with everything you said. I loved the gateway drug aspect the friends you have are the family you choose. Just great. I guess we think a lot alike. Will have to check out The Week Before the Wedding if I’m not the lucky winner. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Hi Beth! I have read The Week Before the Wedding & loved it! I will volunteer to live on the island! Romance novels are extremely addictive!