Day 1 Katharine Ashe – Romance and Revelation

Revelations On Romance

Katharine Ashe I Adored a LordYesterday I wept at the beauty of a romance. Admittedly, I’m a weeper. I see a brilliant sunset, hear a toddler’s laughter, witness an act of kindness, and I become a watering pot. The spectacular glory of life — whether of the natural world or of human creation — gets to me in my deepest core of joy. But the weeping I did over that book yesterday made me think about this piece for RARM that I’d been pondering. This is because it touched upon some ponderings already rolling around in my head. And it made me understand why, when I can write any kind of fiction or non-fiction, I choose to write romance. Now, I’m a scholar by training, and I generally tend to present my deeply held convictions (or even passing notions) in the classic scholarly style: point #1, plus evidence; point #2, plus evidence; point #3, plus evidence… You get the idea. But that’s not right for this. Instead, here I’m going to call the four points of my ponderings “revelations.” Because that’s how they happened, as moments when my mind, heart and spirit came together to understand something big and special.

Revelation 1 In her fantastic “The Book that Writes Itself” workshop for writers that I recently attended, best selling author Madeline Hunter said, “In most romances there is not one over-arching conflict. There are two: the romance and a conflict that is external but intertwined with the romance.” I understand this well. My latest book, I Adored a Lord, is a historical romance as well as a house party murder mystery (like Clue!), with the hero and heroine as co-sleuths who discover all sorts of sexy scandals along the way to solving the case, including their love. But you don’t need to read or write two fiction genres in the same book to see this. Because romances can be about anything. Romance is, in fact, everything. It is murder mysteries and sunsets and acts of kindness and children’s laughter. Love stories are interwoven into real life, so when we write them on the page, real life radiates from our love stories. And this isn’t confined to the romantic relationship at the heart of the story. The love of siblings, parents, friends and even pets make romance novels glow too. All life lends itself to a romance novel. The genre has an infinite quality about it. Revelation #1: Romance is infinite.

Revelation 2 Not long ago I heard a perfect pop love song, “1000 Years” by Christina Perri with Broadway star Steve Kazee. It gave me sublime shivers. A sample: “The day we met / frozen I held my breath / right from the start I knew that I’d found a home for my heart / beats fast / colors and promises / how to be brave / how can I love when I’m afraid / to fall / watching you stand alone / all of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.” Lyrics, tone, rhythm — this is poetry. Revelation #2: Romance is poetry.

Revelation 3 Thanks to our wonderful university, next year author Laura Florand and I will teach a course on the romance novel. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course is about history, literature, popular culture and creative writing. In developing the syllabus, we are considering a variety of moments in the history of the genre to share with our students. We will not, however, present the assigned book list as a “canon” of romance fiction. To confine a genre so varied and poetic would be to confine a golden eagle to a shoebox cage. Revelation #3: Romance is unfettered.

Revelation 4 Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is a gloriously perfect romance between a young man and his own heart. It is an adventure story of sorts, and one of my favorite books ever. At one point in the novel, the young man falls in love. The moment this happens renders me breathless. The first time I read it, tears from my eyes fell onto the page. I was in public, but I could not stop them. My heart beat so hard and fast that I could barely breathe. There was a mystical, epic quality about it, even though it was simply a boy telling a girl he loved her and the girl promising her love in return. It was small and simple yet enormous and grand. Revelation #4: Romance is the universe in a few intimate words. There it is: I celebrate, write and love romance because it is infinite, poetic, unfettered and intimately epic. So if you see someone trying to put romance in a cage, tell her kindly—but with passion—that you won’t stand for having your wings clipped. And she shouldn’t either.

Recommendations:

I stayed up all night reading Sophie Jordan ’s ( sophiejordan.net ) New Adult romance Foreplay. It was that good.

Kieran Kramer  ( www.kierankramerbooks.com ) whose historical romances are so much fun, has just started writing contemporary romances and I absolutely adored Sweet Talk Me. Highly recommended. Find Kieran’s RARM post here.

Erin Knightley’s historical romances are sweet, sexy and wonderful. You can find her online at haveyourcakeandreadittoo.blogspot.com She writes families with warmth and affection like Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas. Erin created a RARM post too – you can read it here.


 

Questions for the Author:

1 – Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

The most daring and inspiring adventure of my life: My son. ☺

2 – Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I have always written, and I have always written romance. As a tiny girl, when I read stories about dogs, I wrote cute little dog romances. As a teenager, when I consumed every girl-and-her-horse book I could find, I wrote girl-and-her-horse-meet-cute-boy books. And when I was a graduate student researching my dissertation in history at the Vatican by day, by night I wrote my first historical romance. I didn’t quite realize that writing romance should be The Thing I Did With My Life until a bit later. My parents encouraged me to write as a child, my sisters read my teen romances with glee, and my husband and whole family enthused over my first historical novels. I am infinitely grateful to them for the love and support.

3 – Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

Many books have changed my life in little and big ways, so I can’t truly fix on a single choice. One work, however, that made a profound mark on the landscape of my imagination is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. I read it first as a teenager and later as an adult, and it moved me. It has epic adventure, noble deeds, bravery, honor, friendship, pathos, deep evil and great goodness, intimate relationships and world-changing events, and profound love. It’s the stuff of racing hearts and swelling emotions. And it has lots of history. And horses. And warriors. And tall, handsome elves. It speaks to me. Katharine is generously donating three pairs of signed copies of my Prince Catchers books I Married the Duke and Kisses, She Wrote to domestic readers (three winners will each receive both books – enter below) and one signed copy of I Married the Duke  to an international reader. (International readers enter here.) a Rafflecopter giveaway


Katharine Ashe author photo small KATHARINE ASHE is the award-winning author of historical romances that reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including How to Be a Proper Lady, an Amazon Editors’ Choice for the 10 Best Romances of the Year, and How to Marry a Highlander, a 2014 RITA® Award finalist. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of history, she writes romance because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit www.KatharineAshe.com.

 

Buy Katharine’s books:

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  • Sheryl N

    I love reading Katharine’s books. I liked the interview and especially where she recommends some of her favorite authors. Thanks

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thank you, Sheryl!

  • lisa

    No cages for me thank you 🙂

    • Katharine Ashe

      #nocages! Let’s start it trending, Lisa. 🙂

  • Katie Smith

    Romance is infinite. <– I really like that!! It's so true

    • Katharine Ashe

      So true! 🙂

  • Katie Smith

    And, just have to tell you Katharine, it is very rare that I find another Katharine that spells it the same way!!!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Greetings, sister oddly spelled one! 😉

  • Sue G.

    I love that you say that your son is your daring adventure! Isn’t that the truth…kids sure are!

    • Katharine Ashe

      They really are, Sue!

  • Hope Stern

    I adore this! Now I have authors to check out, books I must download and writing advice I can use

    • Katharine Ashe

      So glad, Hope. :)))

  • cheryl c.

    I enjoyed this article, especially this quote: “… real life radiates from our love stories.”

    • Katharine Ashe

      So true, so true, Cheryl. Thanks!

  • Joyce Rajnyak Burkhardt

    Wonderful points from a great author!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thank you, Joyce!

  • alisha woods

    enjoyed reading discission, I also like the song 1000 yrs

    • Katharine Ashe

      Such a great song. Thanks, Alisha.

  • “Intimately epic” is an amazing and wonderfully true oxymoron. My ancient-greek teacher would have appreciated it too. Thank you so much for your words and for the international part too!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thank you, Marinella. :)))

  • Kathy Nye

    Love your post, especially your points about the song “Thousand Years.” I discovered it about a year ago, downloaded it and listened to it often. A favorite.

    • Katharine Ashe

      It’s beautiful. I can’t seem to get it out of my head. Glad you agree, Kathy. 🙂

  • Meghan

    Really enjoyed reading your blog post 🙂

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thanks, Meghan. 🙂

  • Jen C

    I’m a weeper too. And I can’t stop it when I’m reading in public either. Also, I am so glad to see us academics represented so strongly in this genre!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Here’s to bridging the gap, Jen!

  • mariannewestrich

    Thanks so much for sharing your ‘revelations”!

    • Katharine Ashe

      My pleasure, Marianne. 🙂

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I really enjoyed reading your post. All of it is so true!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thank you, Melissa!

  • LisaVH

    Just wow! Thank you for this. I agree whole-heartedly with your ‘revelations’. My favorite is Romance is infinite.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Infinitely wonderful! Thanks, Lisa. 🙂

  • Nicole Fortuna

    I enjoyed reading you relevelations. Thanks for sharing!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thanks, Nicole. 🙂

  • Anne

    Thank you for joining RARM this year! Thank you for your revelations and recommendations.

    • Katharine Ashe

      You’re quite welcome, Anne. 🙂

  • Mary Dieterich

    Thanks for the revelations. I really think there’s a little romance in almost every book.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Agreed, Mary!

  • Quinn Fforde

    What beautiful way to start the month!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thanks, Quinn. 🙂

  • Patty Vasquez

    Your fourth revelation really struck a chord in me. I read the book, Brothers of the Wild North Sea, by Harper Fox, earlier this year. Like you, she also writes lush, deeply romantic historical novels. In this particular story, written during the age of the Vikings, an invading Viking and young Christian monk on the northern shores of Britain, fall in love. Her description of the depth and strength of their love is breath-taking. As you said: you can’t put romance in a cage; it needs to soar!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Oh, Patty, that sounds like just the sort of novel I love the most. Thanks for mentioning it. I’ll be picking it up now!

  • Arizona Dutt

    So excited for Read-A-Romance-Month! Thank you for the wonderful post Katharine, I am loving I Adored A Lord! 🙂

    • Katharine Ashe

      I’m so glad, Arizona. <3

  • Karin Anderson

    Thank you for participating in this fantastic blog. I loved it last year, too.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thanks for celebrating romance with us, Karin!

  • Kim

    It’s interesting that you’re teaching. Any statistics yet on the female to male ratio?

    • Katharine Ashe

      That last I heard, Kim, was a statistic from RWA (if I remember correctly): 8% male readership. But that might be out of date.

  • Michelle Harlan

    I love your books. The Lord of the Rings is such a beloved book. It’s something I stressed to my kids that they should read. I think it opens your mind to the world.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Yes yes yes, Michelle! 🙂

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Thank you for the thoughtful post! How great that you will be able to teach with Laura Florand! Love her books, Kieran’s & Erin’s, too!

    • Katharine Ashe

      They’re wonderful authors, agreed, Sharlene!

  • Michelle Fidler

    I’d love to win your books. I’m not into Lord of the Rings and I haven’t seen the movies so tall elves sounds like an oxymoron. I love mysteries so the fact that your latest book features one interests me. That’s interesting that they have a course on romance books. I’m sure you’ll enjoy that. I like historical romances. I’m not really into contemporary ones.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Michelle, yes, tall elves does seem odd, doesn’t it? Especially when we’ve been reared on Keebler and the like. But Tolkien’s elves were tall, beautiful, immortal beings!

  • M Kuxhaus

    I Adored a Lord sounds like a fun read! I just sent a sample to my Kindle.

    • Katharine Ashe

      It was great fun to write. I hope you enjoy it, M. 🙂

  • Sarah Blumkin

    I love historical romances and I will be adding yours to my list to read!

    • Katharine Ashe

      I hope you enjoy, Sarah. 🙂

  • Stephanie M.

    I love your revelations and thanks for the recommendations. My TBR list is growing by the minute. I love RARM!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Isn’t it fun, Stephanie?! Congratulations to Bobbi for making it happen!

  • Martha B

    Thanks for a thought provoking post. For me, romance novels make me feel deeply; they can move me to tears, make me laugh out loud… Well, you ‘get the picture’. These novels take me on a journey (without leaving home,) and transport me to another place, time and setting. The best ones make me care so much about the characters that they are like family. I will visit then again just like I travel many miles to see my extended family. Certain books stay on my keeper shelf; I re-read them to capture that same magic.

    • Katharine Ashe

      You’ve said it perfectly, Martha. Agreed!

  • Jami

    I cry a lot reading books. Especially ones with so much feeling. Kat Martin’s Necklace triology and her book “Heart of Honor” were the first historicals to make me cry. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” made me cry when the family bond is broke due to death. There is so much heart and soul poured into most books. Love is across all genres of reading!

    • Katharine Ashe

      It’s lovely to meet a kindred spirit, Jami. 🙂

  • Sarah Rosenbarker

    I love that you are going to be teaching a class on romance novels. I would love to take that class just to see if it is anything like I imagine it would be. I love your book recommendations. “Foreplay” is one of my most favorite books that I have read and opened up a whole new sub-genre of romance to me. You would not even believe my obsession with New Adult that all started with reading that one book.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Foreplay did the same for me, Sarah! What a fantastic book.

  • Jena Lang

    Great post. I love hearing about the journey you took to becoming a writer. I wrote stories as a kid, too, but it wasn’t until I was finished with college that I realized all the signs were telling me I should be a romance writer.

    • Katharine Ashe

      I’m so happy you and I both realized it, Jena. 🙂

  • Barbara E.

    I enjoyed the post and I agree with all your recommendations Katharine, those are great authors. 😀

    • Katharine Ashe

      So glad you agree, Barbara. What a great age it is to be a romance reader!

  • Marcy Shuler

    Hi Katharine. I’m looking forward to reading your new book! I enjoyed your post.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thanks, Marcy!

  • Lynne Oberdieck Ernst

    Can’t wait to read your new book. It is at the top of my TBR stack,

    • Katharine Ashe

      I hope you enjoy, Lynne. 🙂

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    Historical romance novels are my “go to” books, especially if they involve Highlanders! Lol

    • Katharine Ashe

      Oo, Tonda, I love a good Highlander too. I’ve written a few!

  • David Atkins

    Hi, Katharine. I’m reading My Lady, My Lord. Looking forward to your book signing at our library there in Troy, NC!

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thanks so much for inviting me, David! I hope you enjoy Ian and Corinna’s story. 🙂

      • David Atkins

        Oh, I am. I certainly wasn’t expecting the twist. That’s all I’m going to say. No spoilers here folks. Readers you’re just need to buy a copy or check a copy out from your public library.

  • Gina Burgos

    Great post!

    • Katharine Ashe

      🙂

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    I love your books. I wish I could attend your course on the romance novel.

    • Katharine Ashe

      Thanks, Liza! I wish you could too. 🙂

  • Deb Hinshaw

    I would love to take a class on romance novels; not so much about writing them, but just to see what your take is on them. Thank you for a great post!

  • Glenda

    I adored My Lady, My Lord!! I’ve got your other books on my wish list!

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for sharing some books that I can put on my to read list.

  • Sandy Xiong

    First off, Congrats on your newest release. I would love to be in the course that you and Laura Florand since you are both experience in the subject

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I love that you wrote dog romances as a girl and I’ve had so much fun with your pet pics over the past month on Facebook:) Can’t wait to read I Adored a Lord and it’s great to see you here in the first day of RARM!!!

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    I’m a weeper, too! I haven’t read your books yet, but that’s going to change! I love the cover of your latest release! Great recommendations, too. I’ll be liking you on FB ASAP 😉 Smiles!

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you for the author recommendations. I love your romance revelations as they are all true.

  • Gretchen Miller

    Awesome

  • Evelyn Brix

    I just added the books you mentioned to my TBR list.

  • Cheryl Hastings

    Thanks for book recommendations, love all those authors!! I’m a weeper, too 🙂

  • Carrie

    I haven’t read your books before I will definitely be checking out your new release. I love historical romances and mysteries.

  • Amy Dudley

    I can’t wait to read this one especially since you have said the game Clue played a big role in the writing of it.

  • Glittergirl

    Loved this post and you are so RIGHT about romance being infinite, poetic, unfettered and intimately epic. This quote resinated with me “Romance is, in fact, everything. It is murder mysteries and sunsets and acts of kindness and children’s laughter. Love stories are interwoven into real life, so when we write them on the page, real life radiates from our love stories. And this isn’t confined to the romantic relationship at the heart of the story. The love of siblings, parents, friends and even pets make romance novels glow too. All life lends itself to a romance novel. ” Thank you!

  • Michele H.

    You had me at Clue. Guess I have a new author to try out!

  • Betty Hamilton

    I am looking forward to reading this! TY

  • Penney Wilfort

    This sounds very good I can’t wait to read it, thanks
    Penney

  • Meredith Richeson Hillenbrand

    This is so true about romance. It is infinite, poetry, unfettered, and epic. Unfortunately, many today have lost the insights and understanding of what that word really means. Most relationships are “hookups” and the like. I hope that we can get back to your description of Romance!

  • rebecca moe

    Fantastic post! Just your description of the scene had me tearing up–must be RARM 😉

  • Diana

    Great recommendations and intro to new authors.

  • Cyndee Martin

    I love your explainations about romance! I agree with you. I don’t write but what you discussed is why I love to read romance!

  • Mary McCoy

    I totally agree with you regarding LOTR, one of my gateway books to romance and fantasy as a child.

  • Texas Book Lover

    I’m a weeper too! My family loves to make fun of me when I read because they will look over and I’ll just be crying and to them I’m just crying to myself!

  • Meredith Richardson

    Thanks for sharing your revelations with us 😉 I always love a little poetry with my romance hehe

  • Janie McGaugh

    I love your take on what romance is. Your revelations show why romance touches us so deeply (and, at times, makes us cry).

  • PEGGY ALLEN

    Love the cover of your book. It captures you in and makes you want to pick it up. I also loved your take on what romance is. Great post

  • LSUReader

    Your new book sounds great. I am adding it to my TBR list now. Thanks for visiting.

  • Diane Sallans

    I often can tell if I like an author by who they like to read – love your choices!

  • Ann Mettert

    Loved reading your revelations. 🙂

  • Love to read your books

  • Marcy Cordova

    I’m a weeper too. I love a book that has me so invested that I can’t hold back the tears.

  • I love a book that can make me cry. I know, for me as well, its not hard to make me cry some days.

  • victoria schultz

    My most adventurous thing was also having my daughter!

  • Chelsea B.

    LOVE the title Kisses, She Wrote! SO AWESOME! Kinda love Murder, She Wrote 🙂

  • Erin F

    thanks for the fun post and recommendations 🙂

  • Adaffern

    My husband always rolls his eyes when I cry over a book, he just doesn’t understand how you can get so invested in a story.

  • Rita Wray

    I enjoyed the post.

  • Gretchen

    Thanks for the author recommendations. I’ll check them out!

  • Lynn B

    I love your books as well as the authors you mentioned. Thank you for your giveaways. I would love to take your course on romance.

  • Dawn Anderson

    I am also a big Tolkien fan. Reading them as a young girl everyone thought I was weird because they were “boy” books. I was more of a sci-fi fan and some of the most kick-a$$ characters are the women. 🙂

  • Ruth

    Great post

  • Judy Goodnight

    I love your four revelations about romance! And absolutely yes to everything about LOTR. 🙂