Day 29 Tessa Dare – Romance is Real

Love is Real

ANY-DUCHESS-WILL-DOI’m a public librarian by training, so I’m no stranger to stereotypes. I know you’ve heard them, too. Librarians are all shy, repressed, buttoned-up. We all wear buns, cardigans, and pointy glasses, and we all live alone with our pampered cats. Our favorite word is Shush. And so on.

But the stereotypes about romance writers and readers? Nothing in my librarian days quite prepared me for those. I won’t try to list them all, but the one that frustrates me the most is the frequent assertion (from genuinely concerned individuals, I’m sure) that romance novels give readers “unrealistic ideas” about life and love.

Now I’ll be the first to admit, the romance genre has its share of—shall we say, loveable quirks. Do that many men really smell like sandalwood? Maybe not. As a writer, I enjoy exploring the playful, even absurd side of love and relationships—because my real life has more than its share of absurdity. (Don’t ask me about my husband, our first date, and a collision with a flagpole.)

One of the great joys of being an author is hearing from readers. People have told me all about the places they read my books. At the beach, on airplanes. Some read after long days of caring for special-needs kids. Others, to unwind from a high-powered office job. Some read to take their minds off a husband deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some read while deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. And still others read to pass time while waiting for a loved one to undergo chemotherapy treatments. Some days, a romantic waltz with a sexy duke is just what a girl needs.

As for those “unrealistic” charges—we’re talking about commitment, not unicorns. The day a committed romantic relationship becomes an “unrealistic” ending is the day I permanently move to Fantasyland. (Luckily, I’m ten minutes from Anaheim. It’s just down the road.)

To me, reading a great romance novel is like attending a mushy wedding. You know, those ones where the bride and groom just glow with giddy love for each other, and it’s so infectious you can’t help but feel it too?

Those weddings make us laugh, sigh, shed a happy tear, or even smile for days afterward. There’s the joy of witnessing the birth of something truly special between two other people, and at the same time, we’re reminded of the love and romance in our own lives. We know every couple faces inevitable challenges, but we take a few hours to celebrate new love and boundless hope, and affirm some of life’s most important truths:

Love is real. Relationships are vital. Romance matters.

Recommendations: One of my personal favorites is Leigh LaValle. Her historical romances are beautifully written and emotionally rich. You can find her at

Questions for Tessa:

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

Well, we have quite a few “special” craft projects created by the two darlings. Once, my daughter made me a “vase” by gluing an old plastic cup to a piece of leftover plastic siding.  It’s still in the dining room cabinet because I can’t bring myself to throw it out.

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

Feed, Play, Scrub?  Gone with the Laundry?  Guess What We’re Having for Dinner?  Those are the movies my life resembles most days. I would like to be played by Jessica Rabbit.   Just because.

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

The encouragement from my husband when I decided to quit my job and pursue a writing career.  He’s my hero.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be?

Even though their book isn’t first in the Spindle Cove series, I often recommend Colin and Minerva in A WEEK TO BE WICKED.  They were just too much fun.

You are reading this essay at Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.

Tessa is generously donating one autographed copy of ANY DUCHESS WILL DO to a US reader and one to an International reader (International readers enter here).  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 11:59pm EST Aug 27 to be eligible, though winners will be announced at a later date.

Also visit the Awesome Contests page to register this week to win a Kindle Paperwhite and “A Month of Romance” (31 books) from Amazon Montlake, or  the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!

If you love Read-A-Romance Month and decide to buy recommended books, please consider using the links from the site. Every bit helps and I do get a tiny percentage of sales. Thank you for considering it!

Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award -winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and book-lover at heart, she makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a big brown dog.

  • Nancy Huddleston

    Well said. Thank you.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thank YOU, Nancy!

  • Kim Cornwell

    I love meeting new authors. Thanks for stoping by and sharing.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Kim! Great to meet you, too.

  • Allison Siegel

    Well said. Love is real; relationships are real; commitment is real. Will definitely be reading one of your books soon.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Allison – hope you enjoy whichever book you pick up!

  • Thank you so much for your words! And for the international part of the contest too!

    • Tessa Dare

      My pleasure, Marinella!

  • Deb Hinshaw

    Crashing into a flagpole, huh?! That would be a fun story to read. 🙂 I love the giddy feeling I get when reading a good, romantic story. Who couldn’t help but gush over the hero declaring his love for the heroine, especially a woman who was passed over by other men, but Mr. Hero Man saw the true worth of her? Thanks for the post today, Tessa. Love your books!

    • Tessa Dare

      The “pole” story is fun to tell, but it wasn’t very fun to live through.

      I *love* scenes like the one you describe. My next book has one just like it!

  • Laurie W G

    My son’s wedding was like that. They never stopped smiling! It was contagious!

    Every romance is unique. I love to be transported into the author’s dream of an exceptional relationship with it’s special HEA.

    • Tessa Dare

      Aww, your son’s wedding sounds wonderful!

  • Mary McCoy

    I agree with you, if commitment is unrealistic, look for me in Fantasyland! Thank you for your books and your sense of humor. I love Leigh’s books, too.

    • Tessa Dare

      We can ride Peter Pan’s Adventure together. 🙂 Thanks, Mary!

  • mariannewestrich

    My husband and I both love to go to weddings. When they are filled with joy, new love, hope and expectations – it rejuvenates us and our marriage!

    • Tessa Dare

      I totally agree!

  • Anna

    I really enjoyed A Week to be Wicked. And Any Duchess Will Do, for that matter. What a twist on the Cinderella tale! 🙂

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much, Anna! So glad you enjoyed both.

  • Cyndee Martin

    Love your books and it was fun to read more about you hear and also on Facebook.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Cyndee!

  • Rochelle

    Love your books!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Rochelle!

  • Joanne Ozment

    I agree – I read to escape the everyday stress of life.

    • Tessa Dare

      ME TOO. 🙂

  • bonnierz

    I am loving the Spindle Cove Series, and A Week to be Wicked is my absolute favorite to date.

    • Tessa Dare

      Aww, thank you! I can’t lie – Colin and Minerva were extra special to me.

  • Thank you so much, Tessa!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thank you for inviting me, Bobbi!

  • Britney Adams

    Love certainly is real and romance does matter! Thank you for this wonderful essay!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much, Britney!

  • Kathy Nye

    I love the Spindle Cove series. Both the heroines and heroes are great. Thanks for writing them. I didn’t know you were a librarian in training. I think librarians have the greatest job and must be happy all the time.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Kathy! I worked as a librarian for several years, and even though I’m now a full-time writer, I still miss it!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I enjoyed your essay.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Melissa!

  • Anne

    Thank you for your wonderful essay. I do enjoy your books and hope you keep writing.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much, Anne!

  • Donna Logan Brown

    Tessa, your books certainly reflect your philosophy and bring me that feeling as I read. So glad you could join Bobbi’s amazing group of authors in her fantastic endeavor. Aren’t special crafts projects really special?

    • Tessa Dare

      Donna, yes – special craft projects are … special. 🙂

      I’m so glad my books work for you that way! Thanks for reading.

  • Melanie Backus

    Tessa, romance always has and always will matter. You just keep doing what you are doing. A wonderful essay! Thank you!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Melanie!

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    Oh, how I envy you! I’ve always wanted to be a librarian, to me it’s the perfect occupation!

    • Tessa Dare

      Being a librarian is a GREAT job. I really loved it.

  • Judy Goodnight

    Love, romance, and commitment are what make life worth living. Why wouldn’t we want to read about it?
    Anxiously awaiting Izzy Goodnight’s debut in print…

    • Tessa Dare

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      I am excited for you to meet your namesake!

      (And well said – I agree. What more important subject could there be for fiction?)

  • jcp

    Great essay!!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, jcp!

  • Tawnya Bentley

    I love your movie titles!! Gone with the Laundry. There is only myself and two teens, one of which is a girl, man alive it feels like that’s all I do.
    Thank you for the chance to win.

    • Tessa Dare

      Laundry is eternal, isn’t it? It’s like that other movie: The Neverending Story.

  • Emily Wesley Wheeler

    I have never read any of your books but happen to have A Week to Be Wicked already downloaded on kindle and look forward to reading it. Susan Elizabeth Phillips sings your praises, and you can’t get a more solid recommendation than that, so I’m sure I will love your books.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much, Emily! SEP is the best. I just adore her.

  • christinejensen

    Books aren’t necessarily meant to represent reality. Story telling, from it’s inception, was meant to represent the ideal, as opposed to reality. Why should romance be any different? I love it (and I will move in next door in Fantasy Land if a committed relationship become unrealistic).

    • Tessa Dare

      Well said, Christine! I agree on all points.

  • PJ Ausdenmore

    Colin and Minerva are one of my all-time favorite couples. I recommend them highly and often. 🙂

    • Tessa Dare

      Thank you so much, PJ! that means a lot.

  • Evelyn S

    Spindle Cove is one of my favorite series!! Love your books!!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much, Evelyn!

  • Lisa Glidewell

    Thank you for being here today! Great essay! 8~)

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Lisa!

  • Kareni

    I’ve enjoyed many of your books. Thank you for them, Ms. Dare, and for this essay.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much for reading, Kareni!

  • catslady

    I just read my first Tessa Dare – A Night to Surrender, and loved it!

    • Tessa Dare

      Oh, great! I hope you enjoy the rest of Spindle Cove!

  • Stephanie M.

    Thank you for your essay. I’ve always thought librarians are great resources of information, sometimes better than any book. You are on my TBR list. 🙂

    • Tessa Dare

      I love librarians – they might not always know the answer, but they know where to look. 🙂

  • Nicole Fortuna

    I look forward to reading your books. I have A Week to be Wicked in my kindle and am going to get Any Duchess Will Do.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much, Nicole! I hope you enjoy them both.

  • Sue G.

    Nice blog. I just love your covers. They are so pretty. Beauty and the Blacksmith is my favorite. That dress is just gorgeous!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Sue! I love the cover for BATB, too! It was made from a gorgeous photo by Jenn LeBlanc.

  • Valerie

    I love Spindle Cove! Thank you so much!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Valerie!

  • M Kuxhaus

    I, too, loved Colin and Miranda, er, Melissande, er Minerva!

    • Tessa Dare

      LOL. Love it. Thanks so much!


  • Shannon Watson

    I really enjoy your books, Tessa! Thanks for writing them!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much for reading them!

  • Cheryl Hastings

    LOVE A Week To Be Wicked…I missed a book or two in Spindle Cove (horrors, I know!!) but I’ll be catching up now 🙂
    I’m pretty sure I’ve bought the movie rights to Guess What We’re Having for Dinner, but you can play my quirky sidekick 😛

    • Tessa Dare

      Ha! I would love the role of quirky sidekick. Especially if that means you’re making dinner.

  • Michelle Fidler

    Feed, Play, Scrub is funny. So’s the Jessica Rabbit comment. I like Regencies. One librarian I encountered years ago seemed like the strict stereotype of a librarian. I was checking out some Agatha Christie mysteries and the white-haired librarian said I shouldn’t be reading them. I was a teenager but looked young for my age. Good thing I wasn’t checking out Stephen King or romances or she might’ve really had a fit! I thought librarians were supposed to encourage people to read, not discourage them! I’m at the library right now and always come here to use the Internet computers.

    • Tessa Dare

      Oh no! Well, there are bad (sour?) apples in every profession, and I’m sorry you had the misfortune to run into one of them. If Agatha Christie was too wild for her… eek.

  • Caryn Lindauer McKay

    Great Article! I have a copy of the book you are giving away signed by you in Naperville a short time ago. I wanted to say that I love the Spindle Series and am finally caught up!!

    • Tessa Dare

      Great! I had so much fun in Naperville. Thanks so much!

  • Pamby50

    I am so glad to hear your husband supporting you as you change from being a librarian to romance writer. Looking forward to reading one of your books.

    • Tessa Dare

      My husband is great. So supportive. Thanks so much!

  • Marcy Shuler

    “Do that many men really smell like sandalwood?”
    LOL I sure hope not because I detest sandalwood. 😀

    • Tessa Dare

      LOL. I can’t say it’s my favorite either, but there is something about that Clean Man Smell that’s just… rrawr.

  • Brenda E

    Hi Tessa, love your likening of reading a great romance novel being like attending a mushy wedding. And love it that your hubbie is your hero. Haven’t read your novels yet, but will sure look for one now. Thanks for sharing your post.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much, Brenda! I really hope you enjoy my books.

  • Becca Luman

    Hi Tessa!
    I always thought being a librarian would be a great job – getting to be surrounded by books all day! But then I realized I would have to work, not read, so I figured I’d stay away from the temptation to abandon my work in favor of the adventures within the pages of the nearest novel! Thanks for being part of the giveaways!

    • Tessa Dare

      Hah, yes – that is a common misconception, that librarians get to read all day. But librarians do get to do all day is learn new stuff, and that was the best part of the job. I loved learning things along with the patrons I helped. People have interesting questions!

  • Meredith Richardson

    Kids always make the most adorable gifts!!

    • Tessa Dare

      LOL because I read this the wrong way. Like the kids themselves are a great gift idea.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Enjoyed your story & answers Tessa. I have some of your books, but unfortunately (?) they are on my tbr pile. I do hope to get to them soon. 🙂

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Eileen! I definitely understand the Towering TBR. 🙂

  • Patty Vasquez

    Colin and Minerva are great fun. I don’t really care how many books write about men who smell like sandalwood. It smells really good; definitely warm and sexy!

    • Tessa Dare

      A sandalwood fan! Thanks so much. 🙂

  • Barbara E.

    I loved your essay Tessa, and I so agree, romance does matter! It matters very much to me and reading books has gotten me through plenty of bad times as well as good ones. I loved your description of mushy wedding, and it brought back memories of attending just that type of affair. 😀

    • Tessa Dare

      thanks, Barbara! Books have gotten me through tough times, too.

  • Karin Anderson

    The people who think love is unrealistic just haven’t found the right person yet.

    • Tessa Dare

      Good point!

  • Beth Re

    My mother is a retired public librarian. I gained my love of reading from her

    • Tessa Dare

      Oh, that’s wonderful!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    Hi Tessa!

    Gee, if I had known that you lived so close to Anaheim, I would have invited you to coffee at last year’s RWA! Thanks again for joining us in Atlanta this year.

    Ladies, this is nobody’s idea of a librarian; I would say that she is more like one of the heroines in the wonderful books that she writes. Let’s see: Wife, Mom, Romance Writer of very high caliber, RITA Winner, but most of all a very likeable and approachable real person who takes the time to answer emails from fans and meet them to talk about her work.
    Do yourself the favor of reading A WEEK TO BE WICKED. You’ll be hooked and love it!

    • Tessa Dare

      Awww, Flora – thanks for all the lovely words! It was great to get to know you in Atlanta. What a sweetheart you are.

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    Oh, I forgot last thing: Tessa is absolutely gorgeous, too! 😉

    • Tessa Dare

      *flails and blushes*

  • Such a truthful essay! Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us today, Tessa!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Brooke!

  • gamistress66

    not sure about the mussy wedding part 😉 but do agree that a good romance book can brighten the day 🙂

    • Tessa Dare


  • Sandy Xiong

    A good romance book does brighten up the day. It gives us a happy ending to even the worse day…especially for me since it’s college.

    • Tessa Dare

      Ooh, you NEED some fun reading while in college, as a break from all the required stuff!

  • rebecca moe

    Great post! I absolutely LOVED Any Duchess Will Do! (another book I sat next to my daughter while reading and got yelled at CONSTANTLY for laughing. Geesh. Kids.)

    • Tessa Dare

      Oh, I love that! I love it when readers tell me they annoyed people around them by laughing. 🙂

  • Ann

    Great post, thank you!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Ann!

  • Dana Shoulders

    Loved your post so I just used the link to purchase A Week to Be Wicked. I’m excited to try it out :).

    • Tessa Dare

      Whee! I hope you like it!

  • Nancy

    It’s great when romances can become especially meaningful during difficult times in our lives. While romance readers just love a good romance, I think romance books are helpful when we’re having an off day, month or even year. I know that when I’m stressed or dealing with some difficult events in my life, the first books I turn to are romances.

    • Tessa Dare

      Excellent points, Nancy. I agree. Romances are comfort reads.

  • ki pha

    Fabulous post and beautifully put Julia!

    • Tessa Dare

      🙂 Thanks!

  • Glenda

    Great post! For the record some of the most extroverted people I know are librarians!

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks, Glenda! Librarians really are a diverse group – the field encompasses so many different kinds of jobs.

  • QuenKne M

    You’re another great author who I met through R-A-R-M, thanks for participating!! I’m headed to check out your books and add them to my TBR list.

    • Tessa Dare

      Thanks so much! I hope you like the books!

  • MooMoo Cake

    Thank you for creating absurd moments in your books for readers to enjoy. I loved your milkmaid serie and look forward to reading more of your work.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I enjoyed your post. We could all use some of that “unreality.”

  • Larena Hubble

    I know I enjoy reading romances to escape into a another world or time and read sometimes absurd moment sometimes emotional ones.

  • BookLady

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on romance.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about love & romance! Lucky for us that your husband encouraged you to write & you took the chance!

  • Joan Varner

    Thanks, Tessa! Would love to hear more about that “first date” with your husband.

  • J.J.

    My first Tessa Dare book, was the Stud Club (One Dance with a Duke). Since then Tessa Dare’s books are a must buy/must read for me.

    ok, you know you can’t just start telling us about that first date n the flagpole business, and then just leave it like that.

  • Jen C

    I enjoyed reading your post. I also think that vase is incredibly precious. 🙂