Day 6 Susan Wiggs

Romance – The Essence of Life

Romance–that magical combination of feeling and showing, is the essence of life. It’s that impulse, driven by deep, heartfelt sentiment, to make a positive, loving demonstration of your regard for a person.

As a romance writer, of course I’m a fan of the grand gestures of romance–the walks on the beach, shouting one’s love from the rooftops, The Apple Orchardproposal on bended knee, the whisking-away to a far-off place, the glittering jewels, the frequent, always-orgasmic sex on a bed of dreams…But the little things matter, too. The small gesture that says you value your loved one. Maybe he brings you a perfectly-crafted espresso in the morning, or takes your hand as you’re walking onto the ferry, buys you something you didn’t know you needed, like a push button umbrella or an aebleskiver pan.

Romance is about being present in the moment with your loved one, telling him he’s valued in ways big and small. It’s about giving someone your whole attention, and making time in your life for the things that matter to both of you. Romance can show your loved one that he’s the very center of your world, but it’s more than a feeling or gesture. It’s reaching out from the heart to embrace his very self.

In book after book that I write, and have been writing since I sold TEXAS WILDFLOWER to a publisher in 1986, to my latest reissue, JUST BREATHE, the romance is a journey of discovery–mutual discovery. At its essence, and the conclusion of every good love story, is the heart-deep knowing that you have a home with this person, no matter where you go.



I’d love for readers to discover the funny, heartfelt romantic comedies of Sheila Roberts. Her books are adorable. I love them.

Also the warm and fuzzy books of Elsa Watson, whose DOG DAYS kept me chuckling page after page.

Questions for Susan:

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

Lenny, my tiny rescued chihuahua. He’s not ugly but he’s crazy. He barks at ghosts, he zooms around the yard and stands under the tall trees waiting for the eagles to drop scraps on the ground, he rides with me on the stand-up paddleboard. He’s the most entertaining dog I’ve ever had. You can see a picture of Lenny here.

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

I would like to be played by someone younger, thinner and more beautiful. Charlize Theron, okay? It could be called A WORK IN PROGRESS, because that’s what I am.

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

My husband Jerry, a clothing designer, designed and made a couture wedding dress for me. It’s awesome. He’s awesome. There’s a picture and a nice writeup on the wedding here on the HEA blog.

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?)

Oh, probably the waterfall scene in THE CHARM SCHOOL. Ryan and Isadora in a romantic historical adventure. I still get feedback from readers on that one.


Susan is generously donating one copy of the Apple Ochard to international visitors (enter here)  and two copies for  for U.S.  readers. For domestic entries, 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 7 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.


Susan Wiggs’s life is all about family, friends…and fiction. She lives at the water’s edge on a Puget Sound island and finds inspiration in the rhythm of the seasons, and in emotional dramas of everyday life. She’s been featured in the national media, including NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and is a popular speaker locally and nationally.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has received three RITA  Awards and numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. Her novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages.  Susan is a former teacher, a Harvard graduate, and a passionate supporter of libraries and literacy. She loves hiking, biking, yoga and skiing, yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book. Please visit her at

Buy Susan’s books on Amazon.


  • Jen Ferraro Stepke

    I love your books and your post! Thank you for the giveaway!

  • Heather Coulter

    I have enjoyed many of your books; also recommend Sheila Roberts.

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    I will definitely check out your books and your recommendations. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Ora

    I really like small gestures. I love it when my husband comes back from a business trip and picks up something because he thinks I would like it.
    I remember last summer when I was at Myrtle Beach and someone wrote in the sand in big letters, I (big heart) Anna. Something so simple and heart felt. My friends teenage girls were with me and they both had the same reaction with loving it and wishing someone would do that for them. They both love romance books, even though one of them classify their books are about relationships and not romance. Regardless seeing and reading about gestures makes them want something better for themselves and not willing to settle for less. Yay romance!

  • tonda hargett

    I agree with you! I like the grand gestures, but I love the little things!

  • Melanie Backus

    Grand gestures or beautifully spoken words, romance is wonderful. A warm, secure feeling and just like you said “you are home with that person.” Thank you for this post and your great books.

  • Amy McKechney Lang

    I love your Lakeshore Chronicles series!

  • brhill2010

    Wow, you are a one of a kind author that does a lot of things and to have a designer as a husband that is pretty cool!!! Your books sound amazing to read. I am going to have to try one. Romance is the most amazing type of book!!

  • Linnea Bassin

    I have enjoyed the books of yours that I have read. I am finding so many authors that I want to continue to discover or rediscover. I have a crazy mini schnauzer that use to bark at ghosts now he is a grump old man.

  • Bette Hansen

    thanks for sharing!! Love your lakeshore chronicles

  • Rochelle

    Susan – your books are beautifully written, and leave the reader inspired.

  • Anna

    I just started The Apple Orchard, and I’m loving it!! I can’t wait to continue on. 🙂

  • Kathy Colligan

    Your Lakeshore Chronicles series are wonderful books! I love and enjoy them all! Actually I get such pleasure reading all your books…thank you!

  • Britney Adams

    Susan Wiggs writes beautifully! I love that she included the link to the article on the HEA blog where she detailed some of her own romantic gestures!

  • rebecca moe

    Thanks for the links–love the post about your courtship and wedding. What a gorgeous dress!

    Adding The Charm School to my TBR pile now…

  • Kim Cornwell

    Love your books! Thanks for being a part of this wonderful group. My hubby bought me a tractor! I’d rather hav it than diamonds anyday!

  • Kim

    Thanks for the interview. The picture of Lenny is so cute. I can’t imagine many dogs sitting still like that.

  • christinejensen

    Small gestures definitely make a big difference 🙂

  • Patty Vasquez

    The little gestures are like puzzle pieces: they go together to create the big picture that is your love. It works according to your own special “couple” language! Thank you for the great author recommendations. I enjoy romantic comedies.

  • Cyndee Martin

    I agree that gestures can be a wonderful expression of love, and opens the door to love. Is there anything better than little things that mean so much!

  • Meredith Richardson

    Love lakeshore chronicles!!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I really enjoy your books. The Charm School and Just Breathe are 2 of my favorites.

  • Sue G.

    How awesome that your hubby got design the dress you would wear. That is so romantic!

  • Jennifer Huelsebusch

    I love your books! Lakeshore Chronicles series is my favorite!

  • Diane Giarrusso

    Romance in all of its forms…how lovely. Thanks for writing!

  • Kathleen O

    Your books have brought me so much reading pleasure since I read my first book of yours Table for Five.. since then so many great books… Thanks for all my hours and hours of wonderful reading..

  • Sharlene Wegner

    I think romantic grand gestures are few & far between, so you are right about looking for the little, every day gestures that show love. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ruthann

    Wonderful. Susan’s books are exactly what one would wish in a romance; historically accurate, intelligence for both the men and women. Multicultural. Honoring family. And delicious reads–all of them! When I meet a veterinarian like NOAH, I will have to leave my husband of 33 years!!!!!!!!!!!! (Or give him the book for “cute” lessons.)

  • Deb

    LOVE this post Susan…Romantic gestures need not be grand, yet they’re exciting when you receive one! I always tell my hubby I want the small ones, they mean more.

  • alisha woods

    Loved The Apple Orchard

  • suepeace

    Susan, I love your books!! 🙂

  • TrishJ

    I love this post!. Anyone can say they love someone, but just remembering the little stuff can mean so much! It shows you pay attention and want to please.

  • Courtney Chance

    Charlize Theron is so classy and gorgeous and just seems very wholesome. Good choice!
    And Lenny sounds hilarious 🙂

  • Pamby50

    I remember reading the first book to the Lakeshore Chronicles. I couldn’t wait to come back for more. Thanks for writing such beautiful books.

  • Paula Pugh

    My husband isn’t a flowers & candy kind of guy but he has called me every day at noon since I met him 41 years ago just to say “Hi, I’m thinking about you.”
    One book of yours I always recommend & have read multiple times is The Ocean between Us” because it captured my heart on first read. It is a wonderfully written story of 2 couples that intersect.

  • Ruth

    What you’ve today is absolutely beautiful, Susan. I checked out Lenny – what a character! I have noticed that almost all of us romantics have a dog or a cat (or two!) that we dearly love and happily share pictures and stories about them. The heart of a romantic is just so big. Since I am a sucker for a wedding dress, I just had to check out yours – so, so lovely. Heartfelt congrats to you!

  • Ruth

    Sorry, Susan, but I’m back. After reading about your HEA,

  • Jen C

    Beautiful wedding dress! What a wonderful treasure! Love the orange and blue bouquet too (I live in Gator country!). 🙂

  • Victoria Schultz

    How incredibly sweet your husband designed your wedding dress!

  • QuenKne M

    It started with “Table For Five” and from then on I have loved all your books. You are one of my favorite authors of all time. When we were young my Mom always told us to look for a September 11th guy (this of course was before 9/11/2001). A guy that would surprise you when it wasn’t a holiday or special event; it didn’t have to be big – a note on your pillow, 1 flower..a gesture of romance, love from the heart. And let me tell you, when you finally find that guy – it is the most spectacular thing in the world!!
    [P.S. I think you ARE beautiful, I love your hair and am envious 🙂 ]

  • M Kuxhaus

    I love the life jacket Lenny is wearing in the picture!

  • Becky Rabalais

    That’s my favorite form of excercise, too -curling up with a good book! Thanks for the book giveaway!

  • MooMoo Cake

    I love your books, especially Table for Five. I really enjoyed and agree with what you shared and want to thank you for contributing books to this giveaway.

  • Martha Lawton

    I just finished your newest book, The Apple Orchard. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next book in the series.

  • Ann

    Great post!

  • leah g

    I think we are all ‘works in progress’ or at least that is what I tell myself when I look at my seemingly put together friends.

  • BookLady

    The Apple Orchard sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marcy Shuler

    I also like Sheila Roberts books…along with yours, Susan!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I love Lenny…what a cutie. I have a houseful of rescued chihuahua mixes that are amazing reading snuggle buddies 🙂 I love your thoughts, especially about giving your loved on your whole attention. Sadly, I think this is few and far between for most couples but indefinitely believe it is important for us to strive to have the kind of romance written about in novels. Maybe not always the big gestures, but definitely the small ones every day. Love your books and I really enjoyed your blog!

  • Ann Mettert

    I really like your books. Would like to read this one. 🙂

  • Cheryl Hastings

    I love Shelia Roberts. And I love your dress…your hubby did good 🙂

  • MaryC

    Love gestures that show love without saying the words.

  • Kortney

    Love Susan’s books and would love to read this book!!

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    Enjoyed your posts and answers! My grandmother made my wedding dress.
    😉 I’ll be sure to check your recommendations!

  • Ada H

    Enjoyed reading that and quite agree! I enjoyed reading your books 🙂

  • Chris Brandstatter

    I truly enjoyed The Apple Orchard!

  • Rhiannon Rowland

    Love that you recommend The Charm School to new readers, its one of my favorites!!! I have read that one so many times, my personal copy is falling apart.

  • Joan Varner

    Thanks, Susan, for your blog post. I loved your description of romance as “being present in the moment with your loved one, telling him he’s valued in ways big and small”. Maybe someday I will be blessed like you.

  • Erlinda Mejia

    I love your stories. I enjoy the adventures, the romance, the humor, admire the men, am proud of the women and always, always look forward to the next book. I have your entire collection and hope to keep adding to it. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  • Ketta Peters

    How easy it can be to *not* be present in the moment — excellent point.

  • Eileen Wetterstrom

    Yes, love is more about giving and pleasing the one you love. When it is mutual and small considerations DO matter, it is what turns my world. Thank you for your insight into the meaning of love.

  • Jennifer Nicholson Agolino

    Thanks for posting. I love your Lakeshore Chronicles books!

  • Thank you for sharing your post. You tell beautiful stories!

  • Bernadette Long

    I discovered Sheila Roberts earlier this year and I fell in love with her characters.

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    Hi Susan, thank you so much for showing us a personal side of a writer we all love so much!

  • girlygirlhoosier52

    I always enjoy Susan’s books and she’s always on my auto buy!!