Day 10 Anne Gracie – Never Too Much Love

Celebrating Romance

Why celebrate romance?

1) Because it’s fun. When I was a kid almost all my reading was for fun. These days, so many of my friends think they ought to read only books that are worthy, and so they join book clubs in order to make themselves read. How dreary is that? What is wrong with reading for fun, for pleasure, because you enjoy it?The Winter Bride

2) Because romance is a feel-good genre. How many books have you read that make you feel better at the end? A good romance novel will take you on a journey, and it might explore some of the darker, grittier, more painful aspects of life, but always, always it will deliver you into the light again. A good romance novel will make you feel, make you laugh and cry and worry. It can be a cathartic experience, and at the end, it will leave you feeling happier and more positive about life.

If I weep copious tears into my pillow at night, I’m having a miserable time. If I’m reading a romance and weeping copious tears, I’m having a lovely time.

3) Because romance celebrates the most important human emotion of all — love. And there is never enough love in this world.

4) Because romance novels provide a balance to the bombardment of negative messages about the world that come from the media.

5) Because love stories have power. They can change people’s lives, people’s perceptions of themselves, they can strengthen dreams, give people peace and hope and remind them that love is the most important thing in the world. And that it’s possible.

Many years ago, Georgette Heyer wrote a lighthearted, funny regency romance called Friday’s Child. Lightweight fluff, many would say, of no importance to the world. Not a worthy book. But to a woman imprisoned in dire conditions for twelve years as a political prisoner in Roumania, that story became a candle in the darkness. She retold it from memory to her fellow prisoners, over and over. It gave them hope, took them out of that ghastly place, gave them something to laugh about, to talk about. It helped to keep them sane, remembering that there was another world where goodness and frivolity and love prevailed.

Stories that offer the world a little extra bit of hope and love and happiness? How could you not celebrate that?


I have glommed two new authors in the last year. The first is Bec McMaster, who has a series called London Steampunk – steampunk romance that very cleverly blends history, vampires, steampunk and romance in a series of thrilling adventures. Excellent characterization and storytelling and her world-building is superb. Start with Kiss of Steel (Sourcebooks Casablanca 2012)

The second recommendation is C.S Pacat, The Captive Prince, part one and two. It started as a self-published story published in episodes on a blog, but the audience has grown hugely. It’s currently available on amazon and has been contracted to a major publisher. It might not be for some — it’s a male-male romance and in places it’s violent and ugly and explicit, but the characterization is superb, the developing political plot is brilliant, and the writing wonderful. I’m totally hooked and waiting impatiently for part three to come out.

 Questions for the Author:

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

I backpacked solo around the world for almost a year, through North America, Europe and Asia.

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’ve always had stories in my head, and family legend claims that at the age of four I told stories to my pets. I was always a passionate reader, but I never really thought of becoming a writer, and besides, my job was too busy and stressful to have time to write. But while I was backpacking, and in countries where I didn’t speak the language, stories started nudging at me, and in the evenings I started to write. I came home at the end of the year with notebooks full of handwritten stories and a firm resolve to try and make it as a writer.

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

Probably the book that changed my life was the first book I read all by myself. From then on, I read everything I could get my hands on. I read stories that swept me off to strange and magical lands, or took me deep into the past. I read stories about people I’d never met but could recognize, stories that made me laugh and some that made me cry. I experienced cruelty and heroism and kindness and pettiness and nobility—and fabulous adventures. And I learned that imagination was endless. And that one could never have enough books.

Anne Gracie is generously offering two of her books (winner’s choice of available titles) for the drawing, one for a US drawing (entry below), and one for the international drawing (enter here.)

AnneGracieAnne Gracie spent her childhood on the move when her father’s job took them around the world. The gypsy life taught her that humor and love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are.

A former bee-keeper and teacher, Anne lives in Australia, but writes regency-era historical romances for Berkley books, USA. Her bestselling books have won a number of awards, including the  National Readers Choice Award (USA) — twice–  the Romantic Book of the Year (Australia) also twice, and have been nominated five times for the prestigious RWA RITA. She’s a former president and lifetime honorary member of Romance Writers of Australia.

Find her online at

Buy Anne’s Books:

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  • Kathy Nye

    Fun and hope–what more do you need? Thanks for sharing. I also love your recommendation of Bec McMaster. Her books are great.

    • Anne Gracie

      They’re fab books, aren’t they, Kathy? When I find a new author I love i can’t help raving to all my friends. I did a real fan girl on Bec when she was at the RWA conference this weekend.

  • lisa

    Exactly the reasons I read them! Thanks for your POV. Btw, loved The Winter Bride :).

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Lisa — I did have fun writing Freddy and Damaris. I’m delighted you enjoyed it.

  • angryreader

    Gracie’s regencies have always left me with a warm glow and usually at some point in choking tears. Perfect rainy day books… and a joy.

    • Anne Gracie

      Aww, thank you so much for that lovely comment.

  • cheryl c.

    I read strictly romances these days because I do want to feel good at the end. There is enough to be sad about in real life without adding to it with sad books and movies.

    • Anne Gracie

      Yes, Cheryl — that’s how I feel too

  • Sheryl N

    New author for me, thanks for the recommendations and I can’t wait to start reading your books.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Sheryl — I hope you enjoy them.

  • Anna

    Romance used to be all I read. Now I also read historical fiction, and occasionally delve into YA or sci-fi/fantasy. I do sometimes think of joining a book club, but only to read a book that I “should” read? No, thanks. Life is too short.

    • Anne Gracie

      Exactly, Anna. I love word of mouth for book recommendations, but so many clubs don’t operate like that. For me, an obligation to read usually robs a book of a certain amount of pleasure, and books chosen for reasons not to do with excitement or enjoyment — and sometimes for snobbish reasons? Nope. As you say, life is too short.

  • May

    Love your books! Looking forward to reading your next one.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks May. I’m writing as fast as I can. Well — I will be as soon as I get home.

  • Deb Hinshaw

    I read romance for the celebration of love and the HEA.
    What a brave soul you were to backpack through North America, Europe, and Asia! I’m sure you had many favorite places on each continent.
    Thank you for your post today, Anne!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Deb, I know it sounds “brave” but so many people do it, and the anticipation/anxiety before you leave home is the worst part. As you progress, you learn heaps and meet so many fascinating and wonderful people that it becomes almost addictive. The world is a wonderful place.

  • Meghan

    You’re a new author for me – can’t wait to go to the library and see if they have your books available 🙂

    • Anne Gracie

      Meghan, I hope your library does have them. If not, ask them to order one or two in. Or enter competitions.

  • Glenda

    Hey Anne! I really don’t understand those people who have to force themselves to read. I think they’ve just never read the right books for them. I do have friends who only read ‘serious, socially worthy and mentally challenging novels’ – always novels, never just books. It seems that they have a harder time letting go of life’s stresses than my friends who read for fun.

    • Anne Gracie

      Glenda that’s so right. Sometimes I think people have a rigid idea of romance that they won’t let go of.
      But all it takes is for them to read one good romance and they’d change, I’m sure. I’ve been doing that with my friends who’d never read romance, converting them one book at a time. They start with one of mine, and read it purely out of curiosity and politeness — LOL — but then some of them have asked me for other romance recommendations, and I know they’re hooked. That’s me, a romance pusher.

  • pamela paterakis

    Reading is and should be a pleasure! I feel sorry for those that feel obligated to read and to only read books that are “good” for them. How boring is that!?

    • Anne Gracie

      Yes, Pamela, it’s a strange mindset. Life is too short to be obligated to read a narrow band of literature, when there is so much joy to be had between the covers of so many books.

  • Moriah

    I love all your books. I can’t imagine reading something because I feel like I have to or should. I think more people would read if they focused on books they enjoy instead of ones that are held up as classics.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you Moriah, lovely of you to say so. Yes, books might be a tonic for the soul, but there’s no need to force them down your neck because you think they’ll do you good, or make others think you’re intelligent. Being happy does you a LOT of good, and IMO it’s intelligent to be true to your own tastes — and be proud of your choices..

  • Katrina Wreggelsworth

    Reading should be fun, interesting and a adventure! I agree that we should read something that makes us happy, but also explore something new as well. I use to stick my nose in the air and say I will not read a vampire book…. till I bought one by mistake. I had bought a Chrisine Feehan book and I was hooked. Read what makes you happy BUT EXPLORE as well. You may be surprised in the end.

    • Anne Gracie

      Katrina, that’s exactly what happened to me too. I started the first JR Ward vampoire series because a friend had forced it on me, and I needed to be able to tell her (honestly) that I’d read the first 50 pages but it wasn’t for me. So I started it — and read the first four books in one weekend — even driving into the city to buy #3 and 4 from the only bookshop that stocked them. And I was certain I would never read — let alone enjoy — a male/male romance, but a friend told me I’d like the C.S. Pacat book and I started the first one with faint, reluctant curiosity, — and ended up finishing it in the wee small hours of the night, then buying book#2 (in e-book) and I finished book#2 around 5 am. And book 3 isn’t available yet, but I would have bought that immediately as well,
      A good book / good writer/new subgenre is a joy to discover.

  • ki pha

    Hi Anne, absolutely love your answer. I don’t know why some people force themselves to read Just so they said they read and not because they wanted too for the pleasure of it. Wouldn’t that be boring if they have to force themselves then? Wouldn’t they be more likely to not enjoy the book because they felt it was a waste of their time? If they’re not reading for pleasure than it’s going to be seen as a burden to them.

    • Anne Gracie

      Yes, Ki Pha — I don’t understand why people persist in reading books they don’t enjoy just because they feel it must do them good. It’s a mystery. I have a varied literary diet, and reading is usually a joy for me. Sometimes a book is difficult and challenging but worth while, but then I like to read something that’s pure pleasure. Variety is the key. There’s something grim and joyless in only reading “serious” books.

  • Erica H

    Romance IS absolutely fun!

    • Anne Gracie

      It is, isn’t it, Erica?

  • rebecca moe

    Fantastic reasons for reading romance–not that we needed one! 😉

    • Anne Gracie

      You’re so right, Rebecca.

  • Emmel

    Why I can’t do book clubs: love the idea, but then the books they actually choose to read are just way too depressing!

    • Anne Gracie

      Emmel, yes, I feel the same — but you could always start your own bookclub. I’m sure lots of people would love a romance novel club. I know of a few in Australia.

  • suepeace

    Great post!! 🙂

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Sue.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    I definitely need to have my happy ending! I refuse to read a book that is going to bring me down. Same with movies.

    • Anne Gracie

      Absolutely, Sharlene — why should I pay to be made miserable. I can get that for free.

  • Mary Jo Putney

    Anne–my paltry one way trip to San Francisco after I graduated from college PALES next backpacking solor around the world! I’ve always had so much admiration for the Anzac women I’ve met who had done that. It almost makes publishing look easy. *G*

    • Anne Gracie

      Mary Jo, as you know, it’s a bit of a rite of passage for a lot of young people from Australia and new Zealand — we grow up hearing about countries on the far side of the world and we want to see them. And we want to see as much as we can, so we do it as cheaply as we can, and as I said above — the longer you do it the easier it gets. Like exercise, maybe

      • Mary Jo Putney

        Anne, I know it’s a rite of passage. The “OE” for Overseas Experience, I think? But it’s still -very- impressive. *G*

        • Anne Gracie

          LOL — well if you WANT to be impressed, Mary Jo, I won’t try to stop you.

  • Tammy H

    Romance novels are the best!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Tammy — yes indeed.

  • Kim

    Backpacking across the globe takes a lot of courage. I can’t imagine feeling comfortable where I don’t know the language or know anyone.

    • Anne Gracie

      Kim, it’s scariest to do just before you leave — you don’;t know what will happen, you have no idea if you will cope of not, and it’s scary. But the amazing thing is, it gets easier almost from the moment you’ve left your comfort zone. On your own, it’s easy to meet people, and traveling always reinforces my belief in the fundamental goodness of most people. Yes, there are some nut-cases and baddies out there, but you’re just as likely to come across them in your home town as in a foreign land. People can be SO kind to a stranger, traveling alone, believe me.

  • Sara Underhill

    Reading for me is complicated. I love to read to learn, but I also read to unwind after long, stressful days, and that’s where my romance obsession comes in!

    • Anne Gracie

      Sara, yes, reading a good engaging book is a great way to unwind. There’s no better way to forget about your own problems than being swept away to other places, other realities, other people’s problems — and know that no matter how bad it looks for them, it’s not your problem — and in any case, they’ll end up happy. It adds a little bit of balance to life, I think.

  • Jo Anne

    I so agree! I read for fun and I want a happy ending. If I want angst, I can watch the news or chat with a friend whose got a problem. When I’m into learning something new, reading works. But mostly, reading is for my entertainment, for inspiration, for finding how other folks work through problems, how they feel, and it’s for fun and HEAs. Romance rocks!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Jo Anne, you’ve pretty much summed up my feelings about it too.
      And I’ve spent the last couple of weeks with hundreds of romance writers at two national conferences in two different countries and I have to say romance writers rock, too.

  • alisha woods

    most adventuress thing I ever did was drive by my self in early 20’s from Nw Louisiana to Nw Arkansas. In an older 1967 mustang. No air no good radio

    • Anne Gracie

      Alisha that sounds like a great adventure. I have a friend driving in the US (which for her is on the wrong side of the road) through the mountains from Montana to Seattle and then south in a black impala. I told her she needs Sam and Dean from Supernatural with her . 😉

  • Barbara E.

    I think romance is fun as well, and the main reason I read romance is for the happily ever after. I don’t want to be depressed by what I read, there’s enough of that in every day life.

    • Anne Gracie

      Barbara I completely agree.

  • bpaine

    I’ve read them in doctor’s waiting rooms, helped with our library’s book-and-bake sale at the Romance table – I’ve had such lovely conversations with strangers over a shared love of romance books! the world’s a smaller place when we can meet over a book.

    • Anne Gracie

      I’ve had such lovely conversations with strangers over books. Coming back from Texas this month, I had some extra copies of my books and I gave them away to people I met who liked reading. Some had never read romance and I’m sure only accepted the book to be polite — but three have written to me already (it was only 10 days ago) and said they’d read it and enjoyed it and have bought some more. That’s lovely, isn’t it?

  • Debbie Oxier

    Went through a bout of depression. Reading was my escape.

    • Anne Gracie

      Hugs, Debbie — it’s a rotten thing to battle with. And I’m so glad you found some solace in romance. Imagine if you’d been reading all those depressing books that so many people think are more “worthy” — these days I want all my entertainment — books and movies — to leave me feeling good at the end. I don’t want to pay to feel gutted and miserable.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Thank you for describing why I read romance books. Sometimes it is hard to read a book that brings up a bad time in my life with lots of regret over how it was handled. Yet, reading the book helps heal the hurt I’ve felt over that awful time. I love reading romance as an escape from the daily grind of stress & demands. I never ever go anywhere without a book.

    • Anne Gracie

      Eileen, I think a good romance can be such a cathartic experience. I met someone recently who’d never read a romance — thought she didn’t like them — but she read one of mine that a friend gave her and she was so surprised by how much she enjoyed it. She told me — in utter amazement — that it made her feel happy at the end, and that she felt happy all the next day as well. I told her that’s what a good romance does. I suspect she might read some more in future. I hope so, anyway.

  • Quinn Fforde

    Reading is the best fun there is!

    • Anne Gracie

      So true, Quinn. Maybe not the *best* fun, *g* but up there with the top five.

  • Cam

    because even people who don’t claim to enjoy it will no doubt enjoy books with romance in it since it permeates every genre out there!

    • Anne Gracie

      Cam, that’s so true. Take the label off and people who say they don;’t read romance will find themselves enjoying a good book regardless.

  • Patty Vasquez

    Your passion and excitement for life is evident in your activities and your writing. I’ve read Bec McMaster’s books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I’ve read OF C.S. Pacat’s trilogy; your endorsement of her writing probably pushes her books into the must buy category!

    • Anne Gracie

      Parry, Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series is wonderful — I saw her at the conference in Sydney this weekend and gently nagged her to hurry up with the next one. (A case of the pot nagging the kettle.) And CS Pacat is not for everyone — a male/male relationship and there’s some pretty confronting violence in the early part of the book, but push on and I think you’ll be rewarded. She is a stunning writer IMO.

      • Patty Vasquez

        Anne, I’ve been reading male/male romance for about 4 years. (I’m a pretty eclectic romance reader.) If the violence is over much, I can skip through it. Another m/m romance author I’d like to try is KJ Charles book, The Magpie Lord.

  • Julie

    I love to read because it relaxes me. Thank you for writing.

    • Anne Gracie

      Julie, when I was working full-time in a stressful job, reading was my best relaxation, too. So thanks for reading.

  • Alexandra

    I love your story about how you came to be a writer! And the traveling… Also – the cover for The Winter Bride is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in a while!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks so much Alexandra — I’ve been very lucky with my covers lately, I agree. And I love traveling — am just back from San Antonio and oh, I didn’t want to leave. 😉

  • Anne Gracie

    Apologies for coming in late — I’m at the Australian Romance Writers’ conference. But I’m catching up now.;)

  • Marcy Shuler

    I loved your list of why we read romance, Anne! I totally agree with all 5 points. 🙂

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Marcy.

  • Hope Stern

    I found you last year thanks to other romance friends and have been into one treat after another….and I agree, why not romance? Why not cads and rakes and ditzy and courageous heroines and funny, quirky, gut wrenching stories….why not? Thanks for your gifts….I love to read and I adore your work

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you Hope — it’s lovely of you to say so.
      Exactly — why not romance? A little bit of entertainment and feel-good fun makes the world go around just that little bit more easily.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I enjoyed your list and agree with all of them. I think hope is the most important reason, of all, for the existence of romance novels.

    • Anne Gracie

      Jamie, yes hope is such a powerful thing.

  • Cay Scheumack

    Georgette Heyer was one of the reasons I got hooked on Regency way back when!

    • Anne Gracie

      Me, too Cay.It’s my belief she’s the sol reason the Regency-era genre is known for humor — she was so funny and witty. I’m sure all periods of history had their funny moments, but between Austen (writing contemporaries for he) and Heyer, we often associate regency books with humor. Which suits me down to the ground.

  • Sue G.

    I agree…I love my happy ending and a great love story!

    • Anne Gracie

      You can’t beat a happy ending, can you?

  • Martha B

    Remember the Jerry Maguire film starring Tom Cruise? Where she says, “You had me at Hello?” YOU had me at the first sentence – “Because it’s fun”. I couldn’t agree more!

    When I’m asked to join book clubs, I respond, “I’m sorry I don’t have time…..” However, now I’m encouraged (by you,) to be even more honest and say, ‘I can’t join because you don’t read the type of books I want to read!’ Besides, nothing’s wrong with having fun and being entertained. Total aside, I’m enjoying the Chance sister novels (also enjoyed many others you have written). Those are recent ones I’ve just devoured! Thanks..

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Martha. I think a romance book club — or at least a “let’s read for fun” book club is the way to go. And thank you for those kind words about my books — so pleased you enjoy them.

  • Cay Scheumack

    I so agree and thank you for all the fabulous books

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you, Cay.

  • Judy C

    I love your story of how you first got into reading. Your first book that I read was “The Perfect Rake.” It was recommended by many people online, and I really enjoyed it. Thanks!!!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Judy — Gideon from The Perfect Rake is a lot of people’s favorite hero of mine.

  • Marie Campbell


    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Marie

  • Stephanie M.

    Reading romance IS fun! I love everything about it, including the occasional heartbreak. Thanks for a great post!

    • Anne Gracie

      Stephanie my favorite kind of romance is the “smiling through tears” kind.

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Sheila.

  • Linnea Bassin

    I love to read and never understood forcing oneself to read, until I had a child that was dyslexic. Now I get it.

    • Anne Gracie

      Linnea, that’s a tough road for your child — I’ve taught a number of dyslexic adults, and it’s never easy. Even so, making reading fun adds that little bit of incentive to *want* to read, instead of *have* to read. Best of luck helping your child.

  • Bernadette Long

    I think that we should always read for fun because life is already serious enough!

    • Anne Gracie

      Maybe not always, Bernadette — there does need to be some serious reading — documents, and written instructions, as well as serious fiction. But variety is the thing IMO.

  • Mj

    Reading is a necessity in life.

    • Anne Gracie

      That’s true, MJ — which is why I’ve taught adults how to read all my adult life.

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you, Anne. You are right that reading romance is fun and it opens the reader up to experience all of the “feels” that the book has to offer.

    • Anne Gracie

      Yes, Joan, I love a good romance that sweeps you away to a different place and time and reality. Magic.

  • mariannewestrich

    Hope, hapiness and escape from the day-to-day … that’s what romance is all about!

    • Anne Gracie

      Perfectly summerd up, Marianne — thank you.

  • Angela H

    How cool that you backpacked across Europe. It is a dream of mine to go to Europe although I don’t think I could backpack.

    • Anne Gracie

      Angela. we all go the way we can at the time. I was very nervous to start with, but I met such lovely and friendly people along the way it became so easy.

  • Diane Sallans

    I have to have that HEA so I do feel good at the end – if I don’t get that I don’t read that author again.

    • Anne Gracie

      Diana, I so agree.

  • LSUReader

    What a great list of reasons to celebrate romance! Perfect! Thanks so much.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you — not that we really *need* reasons, do we? Romance is good enough in itself. 😉

  • Ann Mettert

    Good post.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Ann

  • Jen C

    So nice to hear. Great list!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Jen

  • MK

    Wow, you had to backpack around with notebooks? That would get heavy!

    • Anne Gracie

      MK — it builds muscle. 😉 Actually there were only 6 — that’s not that heavy. I nearly always come home with extra books and rocks as well.

  • Pamby50

    I enjoy reading especially romance. Will have to check out the authors you recommended, It shouldn’t matter who you love. Everyone deserves to find your HEA.

    • Anne Gracie

      Pamby, that’s so true.

  • Erin F

    what an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!

  • Adaffern

    I agree with you on book clubs, too much like homework; not only that but the time I spent discussing the book would have been better used reading the next one!

  • Gretchen

    I have too many books waiting to be read that I look forward to, I just don’t have time to “force myself” to read dreary stuff.

  • Judy Goodnight

    I do enjoy my book clubs. Wish I could find one (besides online) of people who just want to read romance. That would be something to celebrate!