Day 3 – Nina Rowan

Romance – A Journey of Discovery

I like to eat. I like the juiciness of a well-seasoned steak and the sweetness of chocolate mousse. I like that the world has such an endless array of different foods. I like spices, flavors, aromas, textures. I like watching cooking shows and pretending that maybe one day I’ll be able to cook like that. And I especially like knowing that there will always be something new and interesting to discover about food, whether it’s the Chinese broccoli (kai-lan) that I found at the store, or the fact that there’s a dark chocolate version of a Reese’s peanut-butter cup.

And that, my friends, is why romance matters. Because romance is all about discovery. Romance speaks to the explorer, the adventurer, the daring heart in all of us who knows that love is complicated, beautiful, and a little scary, but ultimately well worth the risk of exploration.

Romance is about seeking out and finding all the nuances of another person, about looking beyond ourselves and taking chances. Romance is about hoping for your perfect happily-ever-after ending, while figuring out how to chart a course and being prepared to struggle. Romance is about having courage when faced with the unknown.

But back to the food. The connection between food and romance has been touted by writers and gourmands throughout history—both for the aphrodisiac qualities of certain foods as well as the fact that the exploration of both territories involves all five senses. The taste of a kiss, the scent of a man’s skin, the touch of his hand, the sight of his smile, the sound of his voice…all give us a sense of pleasure and anticipation that we also find in a much-loved meal.

Trying new foods and indulging in favorite dishes elicits the same kind of anticipation and enjoyment that we also discover on the path to romance. But there’s disappointment too, like when we try a new food we don’t like, or work hard on a recipe for a cheese-and-bacon soufflé that falls flat.

That may be a far less-intense disappointment than a romance gone wrong or an unrequited love, but the essence of the attempt is the same—we’ll try again (and again, and again) because we know in our hearts that the successful result will make us so happy. That’s the reason we love the exploration, the discovery, the challenge. We want that perfect dish. We want our own happily-ever-after.


What about after the happily-ever-after? Under the name Nina Lane (, I’ve self-published a romance series about a passionate couple who are already married! Liv and Dean are wildly in love, but when secrets and temptations rise to the surface, the fallout threatens to break them apart. They are a couple determined to fight for their love and marriage—and for their second happy ending.

I’m also in awe of Laura Navarre’s ( historical romances, a combination of lush, sensual prose, compelling characters, and fascinating settings of the Tudor court and Anglo-Saxon England. The Devil’s Mistress centers on the brilliant Allegra Grimaldi, an Italian apothecary forced to infiltrate the court of Henry VIII. In By Royal Command, a courageous woman must choose between a fierce, Viking warrior and a mysterious, passionate baron. Navarre’s deft interweaving of intrigue, romance, and suspense will captive you.


Questions for the Author:

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

A dirty, stained, torn, well-chewed, one-eyed, stuffed pig that was my son’s favorite toy as a newborn. I will never throw it away.

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

Title: Crazy Blessed
Actress: Rachel Weisz (ideally!)

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

My family. Aside from my family, the best gift I’ve ever received are two Russian icons that my grandmother brought with her when she emigrated from Russia to the US. The icons were very much a part of our family life, and have since been passed on to me. I treasure them deeply.

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?)

My Nina Lane books are all about the passionate, intense relationship between medieval history professor Dean West and his cherished wife Olivia. Their happily-ever-after doesn’t end with “I do.”

And I love the scene in my Nina Rowan book A Study in Seduction when Lydia marches into the crowded meeting hall with her troupe of genius mathematicians in order to save Alexander, the love of her life. She does it with both her brilliance and her determination, both awesome qualities in a heroine!

Nina Rowan and Grand Central  are generously donating two sets of Nina Rowan books (A Study in Seduction and A Passion for Pleasure) to give away, and Nina Lane will give away one set of her Spiral of Bliss novels (Arouse and Allure).  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 3 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.

Originally from California, Nina Rowan holds a PhD in Art History from McGill University, Montreal, with a specialization in 19th century French and Russian art. A PASSION FOR PLEASURE is the second book in her Daring Hearts series with Grand Central/Forever Romance. A librarian-at-heart, Nina loves both reading and organization, and she found a happy avenue for both by pursuing a degree in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Wisconsin. She lives in Wisconsin with her atmospheric scientist husband and two children.

Buy Nina Rowan books and Nina Lane books at Amazon.

  • Allison Siegel

    Romance is an adventure, beautifully stated.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Allison – the adventure is just one of the reasons I think romance is so enduring!

  • Kim Cornwell

    I agree food and romance go together! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Nina Lane Author

      What’s better than food and romance, right, Kim?

      • Kim Cornwell

        Yep that’s why I can’t lose weight! Haha

        • Nina Lane Author

          I hear you. But food and books — we’re living the good life. 😀

  • Lorie Glowania

    My thoughts have always been that reading is adventure it takes you places you have not been. I tell my children that every day..

    • Nina Lane Author

      Lorie, exactly what I tell my kids, who thankfully have inherited my love of books. <3

  • Brandi Franklin

    Love this and love Nina’s books. Arouse and Allure are two of my all-time favorites and of course I adore Dean and Liv….love how professor Dean calls his wife Beauty *sigh* so very romantic ♥

    • Nina Lane Author

      Brandi, thanks a million times over for your support!! You’re the reason I love to write. <3

  • Nina, thanks so much for taking part in this! It has been such a joy watching your career blossom. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for you! xoxo

    • Nina Lane Author

      Bobbi, this is SO much fun, thanks so much for including me! I can’t figure out how to post comments as Nina Rowan (not the right FB page, apparently), but I’m here!!

  • Cheryl Hastings

    I love how you equated food and romance…two of my favorite things!! I am looking forward to exploring your books and those you recommended! Day 3 and I have so many more books to choose from than I did on July 31st!!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks, Cheryl – two of my favorites too! And I know, what are our TBR piles going to look like at the end of August?

    • Thank you, Cheryl I am so glad you’re enjoying this, and thanks for all the comments. xoxo

  • Melanie Backus

    Love your thoughts and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a win!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Melanie!

  • Britney Adams

    “Romance is all about discovery.” Such a beautiful statement!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thank you, Britney — it’s the reason I love to read and write so much!

  • PJ Ausdenmore

    Is it a coincidence that I’m watching a cooking show and have a new recipe baking in the oven while I read your thoughts on romance? I think not. 🙂

    • Nina Lane Author

      PJ, I LOVE that!! I’m a cooking show addict myself. What are you baking? I’m trying out two new zucchini bread recipes this weekend with all the zucchini from our garden.

  • Nice metaphors! I’m curious. What food metaphor would you use to describe the genre as a whole? Stephen King compares his books to Big Macs. (Not too flattering, is it?) Would the romance genre be a healthy food? A colorful one? A spicy one?

    • an international buffet, with a little bit of everything. xoxo

      • Nina Lane Author


    • Nina Lane Author

      JW, what an awesome question! Wish I’d thought of it. 😀 I would never compare romances to fast food (no offense to Stephen King). I think the genre as a whole spans such a wide range of tastes that it can be compared to anything — spicy curries, sweet cupcakes, filet mignon, delicious chocolate…it’s just a feast for all the senses!

  • Kristy Birch

    I love the comparison! Both are such personal experiences that only you know when you’ve found something perfectly delicious.

    • lovely, Kristy! Thanks for all the great comments. xoxo

      • Kristy Birch

        Bobbi, thank YOU for giving us such wonderful access to these amazing authors. August is always my favorite month, my birthday is the 11th, but now I really love it! Thank you!

        • Awww, thank you Kristy! It’s my pleasure. :o) Happy birthday in advance!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Kristy – exactly! Very personal experiences — love that.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I love your comparison between love and food. I am going to have to look into your books.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thank you, Melissa! They’re on the spicy side, flavor-wise. 😀

  • Donna Logan Brown

    I’ve been reading romance for fifty-seven years and your blog is the first time ever I’ve heard the comparison between romance and food. Where have I been? Or just not paying attention. Haha! Your books are appealing on many levels, and, as a new-to-me author, I can’t wait to try them. So glad you could be a part of RARM, such a wonderful concept.

    • Nina always thinks out of the box! xoxo (and thanks again for all of your great comments!)

    • Nina Lane Author

      Donna (love your middle name, BTW, as it’s my son’s name!) — romance and food are just two of my favorite things, so it was an easy comparison for me. Thanks so much for giving my books a try!

    • I put this on Nina’s comment, but it should go here… ;o) Nina always thinks out of the box! xoxo (and thanks again for all of your great comments!)

  • Wonderful comparison between romance and food. I definitely agree! Both can be deliciously seductive.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Brooke, thanks so much. I also love was another readers posted about them both being so personal.

      • My pleasure, Nina! 🙂 I love when something personal connects us all!

  • Hannah Weitzman

    Wow, I’m just stuck on the icons. That’s amazing!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Hannah, I love those icons — it’s especially meaningful to think I’ll be able to pass them on to my own children one day and tell them the story of their great-grandmother.

  • Becky Rabalais

    Thrilled to read that you are a librarian. Me too! Elementary school librarian, but now retired. The good life….. Happy to learn about your Nina Lane series. Happy weekend!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Becky, I’ll always be a librarian at heart! I satisfy my librarian urge now by volunteering at my children’s school library — school librarians are my heroes! <3

  • Linnea Bassin

    I love to find authors with ties to the mid-west. Since I am from Michigan. I can’t wait to read your books. I am going to look for the Nina Lane book about the married couple fighting for their marriage. I don’t think there are enough of those books.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Linnea (love your name, BTW), thank you so much! The Nina Lane books are erotic romances (so like spicy foods, to continue to food metaphor!). I’m originally from CA but have lived in the midwest for 12 years and am still not used to the winters, but it’s such a lovely place to live.

  • suepeace

    Great comparison between romance and food! 🙂

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thank you, Sue! Two of my favorite things. 🙂

  • Sandy Xiong

    I never even thought about the comparison between food and romance. That’s a new thought to think about about. I love that your books have heroine that are smart and use it to gain something that they want.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Sandy! I love a heroine who goes after what she wants.

  • QuenKne M

    I love your analogy between food and love – I never thought of it before, but you’re right…both are highly tied to all five of our senses. Thanks to this site, you are another author new to me and I’ll be adding your books to my TBR list.

    • Nina Lane Author

      QuenKne – thanks so much for giving my books a try! I like to think of writing the same way, involving all five senses.

    • So glad you’re finding it valuable, QuenKne! xoxo

  • Carla Michelle Peavler Alcorn

    So happy to discover you! Can’t wait to try some of your books :o)

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Carla!

  • Jen C

    I love that so many educated women write and read romances. 🙂

    • Nina Lane Author

      Jen, me too! 🙂

    • me three! xoxo

  • Deb Hinshaw

    Nina, you are a new-to-me author and I like what I have read here about you and your books! I like your answer about different foods for diff stories: spicy, sweet, etc. I think Penelope and Colin Bridgerton are a good introductory couple to the romance genre (Julia Quinn).

    • Nina Lane Author

      Deb, thanks so much! I like both reading and writing different kinds of books for the same reason I love trying different kinds of food!

  • Rebecca Berus

    I love your idea that reading romances is like creating/finding great food. And I also watch cooking shows and pretend that one day I could create the same. Thanks for the fascinating article.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Rebecca — I totally do the same thing with cooking shows. Completely addicted to them!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    Hi Nina, you know I love your “Nina Rowan” books; now I have to check out those under the “Nina Lane” alias!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Hi Flora!!! Great to see you here! My Nina Lane books are contemporary erotic romances, so much sexier, just to let you know. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

      • Flora Segura-Buchler

        I know, Nina; Zeca told me. That’s why I have to read them, too! Hope you’re having a great but busy summer.

  • Dana Shoulders

    I love exploring my world through cooking/tasting a wide variety of foods and also through reading a wide variety of books. I look forwarding to “tasting” some of yours :).

    • Nina Lane Author

      Awesome, Dana, that’s exactly what I like too! Thanks for giving my books a try.

  • leah g

    now I am definitely hungry. Time to grab a book and some dinner!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Me too, Leah! Carnitas and guacamole are on our menu tonight, and I’m reading Fault in Our Stars. LOVE evenings like this!

  • Cat C

    What a luscious metaphor! Thank you for the beautiful language and insights.

    “I like watching cooking shows and pretending that maybe one day I’ll be able to cook like that” rather describes me with regard to reading romance novels!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Cat! That’s me with so many things – now I just have to do it!

      • No you don’t. You just need to keep writing! xoxo

  • Kim

    I enjoyed reading your first book as Nina Rowan and now I have to read the next one. Will there be more in this series?

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thank you so much, Kim! I have a novella coming out this December centering on the twin brother Darius (‘Twas the Night Before Mischief”) and next May, the third novel will be about the sister Talia. So glad you are enjoying the adventures of the Hall siblings!

  • Laura Z

    The Nina Lane books sound interesting, am going to go check them out. Love that I am finding new authors to read.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Laura! I really wanted to do something different with the Nina Lane books in focusing on a passionate married couple — I hope you enjoy reading Liv and Dean’s story as much as I’m enjoying writing it.

    • I’m so glad, Laura! That’s what I hope for! xoxo

  • tonda hargett

    I love the title for your movie! 😉

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks, Tonda! It’s all too true. 🙂

  • Ann Mettert

    I like the idea of romance as exploration and discovery. Very interesting. 🙂

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks, Ann! I always think of reading that way too – it’s the reason I love both reading and writing different genres, with romance my favorite, of course.

  • Valerie

    I love the idea about discoveries and sensations…. I would have never thought about it that way, but I love it.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thank you, Valerie! I love discovering new things, especially through reading, writing, and travel — three of my favorite things in life!

  • ki pha

    There’s a dark chocolate version of a Reese’s peanut-butter cup!??? Ohhh~ LOL And I love food too!!! But that’s a great way to look at romance. We try it and if it doesn’t quite work try it again for certain then set it back on the shelf.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Ki pha — I know, right? I was shocked too. But you must RUN out and get a dark chocolate peanut butter cup! They are amazing and a keeper, just like a great book!

  • erom13

    I love your comments on food and romance. As a lover of both, I definitely approve.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Erom, I get it — some of the best things in life, right?

  • Kelly Jetzer

    I absolutely love your Spiral of Bliss books – can’t wait for the next installment!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Kelly, thank you so much! So happy you are enjoying Liv and Dean’s story — I’m working hard on Awaken and will post on my Facebook page as soon as I have more info about the pub date!

    • Thanks, Kelly! xoxo

  • Victoria Schultz

    I agree with you romance is about seeking out and discovery! You wander this world looking for that special someone and you really have to look inside yourself to see who you really are that way you can be the best for that person. Along the way to that “perfect” romance you discover many things about yourself as well.

    • Nina Lane Author

      VIctoria – EXACTLY! Perfectly said.

  • Robin Ray

    I’m always willing to read an Author I haven’t read before or heard of previously provided the storyline says read me. The books currently available buy Nina Rowan are at least saying give me a try so I’m thinking I will.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thank you so much for giving my books a try, Robin — I hope you enjoy them!

  • Ketta Peters

    Cooking and romance — what an apt comparison! Thanks for a remarkable article.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Ketta!

  • Ruth

    Food and romance? Delish! That’s the Russian in you, you know. I come from a Russian-Italian family and you never met such a passionate, loud, demonstrative, food-loving group!! So I’d say our love of romance and discovery and adventure and daring is genetic! It is a pleasure to add you to my author’s list! And thanks for all your hard work!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Russian-Italian?? Wow, Ruth, when can I come over? What an awesome-sounding family – your get-togethers must be huge amounts of fun. Thanks so much for giving my books a try – much appreciated!

  • Jordan H

    I was unfamiliar with Nina Rowan before seeing her on this giveaway, but I’m so glad I did. She’s going to be a new author on the top of my to-read list.

    • Nina Lane Author

      That is so wonderful to hear, Jordan, thank you so much!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    First of all–dark chocolate Reese’s cups? How did I miss this? Thank you for that discovery! Also, I’m very excited to hear about your Nina Lane series. I love the idea of a story continuing after the happily ever after. Definitely going to have to check out Liv and Dean’s books 🙂

    • Nina Lane Author

      Courtney, thank you so much! I promise the peanut butter cups are SO worth it. And thanks for giving Liv and Dean’s story a try — I hope you find them worth it too! So appreciate the support.

  • M Kuxhaus

    Now I’m hungry for steak! I’m going to check out your Nina Lane series; sounds awesome.

    • Nina Lane Author

      M, thank you so much! I really wanted to do something “different” in writing about a married couple with the Nina Lane books, so I hope you enjoy them.

  • MooMoo Cake

    I need to read more of your writing! Anyone who feels like this about food and romance is someone I want to read more from 🙂

    • Nina Lane Author

      I love your name, MooMoo Cake! We must be kindred spirits, then. 🙂 Thanks for giving my books a try – hope you enjoy them!

  • Kim

    I love that there is such a wide array of options in romance. The journey as the hero and heroine discover themselves and each other is one of the many reasons I love romance! I actually purchased Arouse and Allure…now I just need the time to read them!!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Kim, thank you so much! I wanted to do something different with the Nina Lane books in writing about a married couple’s romance so I hope you enjoy them. Totally sympathize about the “finding them to read” issue!

  • Lisagk

    A scene that includes a posse of math geeks has to be a fun read. Kit Kat also has a dark chocolate version, like the Reese’s, a favorite of mine.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Lisa, I didn’t know that! I’m going on a Kit Kat hunt next time I’m at the store. I really had a fun time writing that scene with the math geeks and Lydia all marching in to save this big, hunky viscount. I could just picture it all in my head like a movie!

  • Nicole Sipe

    Very well said, I never thought of Romance in that way. It is an inspiring definition of the word. I actually just finished Liv & Dean’s story, literally 20 minutes ago, looking forward to the final book. What a beautiful,real story of love & marriage. Loved it!! Thank u.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Nicole, THANK YOU so much!! I’m thrilled you’re enjoying Liv and Dean’s story – that really means a lot to me. I’m working hard on the third (and last) book in their story and hope to have it ready soon. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!

  • Sheila M

    Wait! There’s a dark chocolate Reeses PB Cup???? And a new author as well??? Be still my heart!

    • Nina Lane Author

      Aw, Sheila, I KNOW you’ll love the PB cup and I HOPE you’ll enjoy my books too! Thank you so much.

  • Pam

    Great post. I’m looking forward to reading the spiral of bliss series.

    • Nina Lane Author

      Thanks so much, Pam! I hope you enjoy them.

  • J.J.

    I l.o.v.e. both your books, and I love eating various kinds of food, and love spicy food, yes, but I’ll leave the cooking to someone else who knows what they’re doing, so I eat out a lot. 😉

  • Niki Rittenhouse

    I love books that pull history into things. I think it would have been amazing to be alive during that time periods.I enjoyed your post.