Day 11 Lorraine Heath – Romance Makes A Difference

Romance Transcends

I never was a reader. I loved to write. I loved to tell stories. But I never was much for reading others’ stories. I read maybe a book a year. Ken Follett, Sidney Sheldon, Irwin Shaw. I certainly wouldn’t read a romance novel. I saw the covers portraying scantily clad couples in passionate embraces. I knew what happened between those covers. Or so I thought.Lorraine Heath

In 1990, I was traveling to a computer conference on business. Three-hour flight. I wanted something to read. I went to the bookstore. There among the New York Times bestsellers was a book with flowers on the cover. I read the blurb about a woman advertising for a husband. A down-on-his luck, just released from prison, drifter answers her ad. I was intrigued. I’d read nearly half the book before it dawned on me that it might be a romance. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer was a beautiful story about a couple overcoming obstacles to find love and well-deserved happiness. When I returned to the bookstore for more of Ms. Spencer’s books, I discovered her books were indeed romance. By the end of the month I’d read everything she’d written. I moved on to Judith McNaught, Jude Devereaux, Johanna Lindsey…

I was no longer reading a book a year. I was reading three or four books a week. I adored this genre that always, always gave me a happy ending. And, I not only became a reader, but I also discovered the kind of stories that I wanted to write.

What I hadn’t expected was to also discover the wonderful community of romance readers and writers. Extraordinary people who not only appreciate and love the genre, but share their enthusiasm for it—at bookstores, at libraries, at bookclubs, over wine. They network online, they offer recommendations, they get excited about new releases, new authors, established authors. They are devoted to the romance genre.

The romance community is incredibly close-knit. Those who are part of it often come together for causes, to assist those in need.

An event near and dear to my heart is the Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy (bunsandroses.org). Each year romance The Gunslingerwriters generously give of their time to attend the event at their own expense. Romance readers purchase tickets to have tea with their favorite authors. For three hours on a Sunday afternoon, the atmosphere in the room is rejuvenating. People talk about books, they talk about reading, they share stories. They laugh, they make new friends, they catch up with old acquaintances. And they make a difference because through their efforts, they raise money for literacy and give the gift of reading to someone they may never meet.

Reading romances brings them joy. They come together to share that joy, to inspire, and to celebrate. During this afternoon in October, the hope and love found within the pages of a romance novel transcends beyond the covers to touch others in a meaningful way.

This is not the only event where romance readers and writers come together to make a difference. There are many across the country. Reading romance has affected the lives of so many people. For some romance is an escape. For some romance provides comfort. For some it unlocks the door to a community of people with similar interests.

Romance novels matter because they give us a commonality. They provide us with an opportunity to share our passions. And sometimes they provide an opportunity to make a difference.

I truly believe that I will never meet a more generous group of people than romance readers and writers. How glad I am that I discovered this genre that has given me so many friends and transformed my life.

Recommendations:
I love Addison Fox’s House of Steele series. The MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER is the latest in the series. Each book stands alone although I do recommend reading them all. Addison is an auto-read for me. (Read Addison’s RARM post here.)

An historical romance author I’ve recently discovered is Erin Knightley. Her stories are fun, humorous, and charming. I’m looking quite forward to THE BARON NEXT DOOR. (You can read Erin’s RARM post here.)


 Questions for the Author:

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

The most daring thing I ever did was marry my husband when between us we had only $35 in the bank. That was nearly 38 years ago.

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 always knew that I wanted to be a writer. I loved to write letters. I kept a diary. I had these characters who lived in my head. I just didn’t know what to do with them. Once I discovered the romance genre, I knew I had found a home for my characters and I started writing seriously with an eye toward publication. I sold my first novel three years later.

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

It would have to be MORNING GLORY by LaVyrle Spencer. It made me fall in love with the romance genre and made me want to write the kind of stories that touched readers’ hearts.

Lorraine Heath will offer a signed copy of both THE GUNSLINGER, a novella, and ONCE MORE, MY DARLING ROGUE. Domestic only.


Lorraine HeathLorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she became not only hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since.

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  • Kathy Nye

    Love your books!
    I still have my copy of Morning Glory and other titles of L. Spencer. It’s fun to see writers enjoy other authors. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Kathy!

  • Anna

    Romance readers and authors tend to be the nicest people! I get a little star-struck when I meet my favorite authors, and everyone around me is generally very understanding, which helps.

    • Lorraine

      I feel the same way. I remember when I went to my first conference and was in the book fair browsing and saw Jill Marie Landis. I was too star-struck to speak with her. A couple of years later, we met at an event and she was so nice. I wished I had told her the first time I saw her how much I loved her books. But at least I had the opportunity to tell her later.

  • Angie Frawley

    Romance if a mainstay in my life,and I thank my mom everyday for teaching me the value of reading!

    • Lorraine

      That’s wonderful that your mom taught you the value of reading.

  • Amanda Wills Roberson

    Romance novels help us to live out all our romance fantasies!

    • Lorraine

      They are a safe environment.

  • angryreader

    Isn’t it amazing how very much the romance gene GIVES to people? Not just the joy, fun, fantasy, or even peace that the books themselves bring, but the charity such as the Tea, the cameraderie among the authors and readers, the community to those who need it. Romance rocks!

    • Lorraine

      I agree! Romance rocks!

  • Sue G.

    I love reading my romance novels. I love the happy ending.

    • Lorraine

      Happy endings are the best!

  • Claire Gilless

    just picked up my first book of yours and am looking forward to reading it.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Claire. I hope you enjoy it.

  • Lorraine

    I think there is just something very nurturing about those who write and read romance. I find it all very uplifting.

  • Sara Underhill

    I was hesitant to read romance for a long time, too. It didn’t help that a lot of the “older” ones had creepy premises, but I also love LaVyrle Spencer and have most of her books on my shelf!

    • Lorraine

      I think it’s interesting to follow the evolution of romance. The stories today are filled with such strong heroines.

  • Martha B

    It (romance readers) really is a community. You make me proud to be part of it! I Love, love, love the spin off books, Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Series. Not only does it tell their story but gives glimpses of their parents who were featured in the Scoundrels of St. James! Lucky me. Thanks, too, for the book recommendation to others.

    • Lorraine

      Martha, thank yo iso much for the kind words. They mean so much to me.

  • Sarah Harlow

    Ive read romances since I was a teenager just something special about those happy endings and the journey they make to get there.

    • Lorraine

      I think because I know I will have a happy ending that even when I’m reading an angst-filled part of a story, I can be relaxed because I know all will turn out.

  • Kim

    Judith McNaught’s books have a wonderful balance of angst and humor. I’ve read a couple of your books and really enjoyed them, so I have to get started on your backlist.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Kim.

  • Deb Hinshaw

    I remember my first romance; I was 12-years-old. It was THE GENTLE FLAME by Katrina Britt. Rereading it now, it wasn’t a great story or romance, but at the time, it made a young girl’s heart flutter. 🙂 Thank you for being here today, Lorraine.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you for visiting, Deb. Making a young girl’s heart flutter is a talent, I think.

  • Hey Lorraine!! Just finished When The Duke Was Wicked. Loved it!! Thanks for another great read. I, too, loved MORNING GLORY, I think not only was it a beautiful story, but it took place during the WWII era and I just loved that time period.

    • Lorraine

      Hey, Suz! Thank you for the kind words and for dropping by. Love WWII as well.

  • Patty Vasquez

    LaVyrle Spencer was my gateway back to the romance genre after a period of time away from it. That Camden Summer is still one of my favorites!

    • Lorraine

      Oh, yes That Camden Summer. So good.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I am glad you are able to write the stories that are in your head. I have always been an avid reader & for a while read anything & everything I could get my hands on. However, I keep going back to romance as my comfort read. Maybe it’s the HEAs or maybe it’s just the well written story. Either way I get to escape my life for a little while & become engulfed in the story.

    • Lorraine

      I love how romance novels can draw me in.

  • Joyce Rajnyak Burkhardt

    I moved to a new city a few years ago and it has been very hard to make friends. I have my books and the romance authors who keep me company. Thank you for your writing. (I love Erin’s writing too!)

    • Lorraine

      Books make wonderful friends, don’t they, Joyce? You might see if there are any book clubs in your area. I’m fortunate to be a member of a wonderful group that meets monthly. We share wine, food, books, and laughter–not always in that order.

  • Emmel

    Yes, Morning Glory is one of the most moving books I’ve read. But so is Parting Gifts. 😉

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Emmel! I’m so touched by your words.

  • Barbara E.

    I’ve always been a reader, and I discovered romance in the library at age 17. I came across Georgette Heyer’s books and I was hooked. I love that there are so many different kinds of romances, but the one thing they all have in common is that I’ll be happy at the end and so will the main characters, no matter what trials and tribulations they may go through to get there.

    • Lorraine

      That’s what I like as well. Always the happy ending.

  • Julie

    I had health issues as a child and read to keep myself entertained. Now as a healthy adult, I love reading even more. Thank you for sharing your talent.

    • Lorraine

      You are so welcome. I’m grateful people enjoy reading the stories.

  • Sheryl N

    Thank you for writing books that I love to read. I am a huge fan of historicals as well.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Sheryl!

  • Moriah

    I actually only read historicals, and I love the Rogues of St James books

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Moriah! I’m rather fond of them myself.

  • Sara E.

    I’ve recently discovered your books. I’m looking forward to reading your latest.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you so much, Sara!

  • Bernadette Long

    Isn’t it wonderful that we have so many choices as romance readers?

    • Lorraine

      Absolutely!

  • rebecca moe

    LOL–I love that you read so much of it before it even occurred to you that it was a romance! Great story!

    • Lorraine

      I should not have pre-judged. How many more romances I would have read by now.

  • Pamby50

    I love that LaVeryle Spencer was the author that got you hooked on reading romance. I enjoyed her books that I’ve re-read them.

    • Lorraine

      I have most of her books on my keeper shelf. Loved Hummingbird, Vows (although I always wanted Charles to have his HEA)…so many.

  • Janie McGaugh

    Thank you for the recommendation of Addison Fox. I’m just finishing up The Baron Next Door (my first Erin Knightly read) and am enjoying it.

    • Lorraine

      You’re very welcome!

  • Glenda

    I love that you were halfway through the book before discovering that it was a romance. 😀 I’ve always read a lot and a ton of different genres, but not romances. One day it dawned on me that the books I enjoyed the most tended to have at least one romantic relationship as one of the central themes…. Hmmm. I should try a romance book. I haven’t looked back. 🙂

    • Lorraine

      When I speak at schools, I’ll tell the students that if they are not readers, it’s because they haven’t found what they enjoy reading and to explore different genres.

      • Glenda

        When my kids were younger I did a lot of volunteering at their schools. My main passion was book fairs. I was bound and determined to help those kids who didn’t enjoy reading books that they did enjoy. One of my happiest moments a couple years ago was one one of the kids then a senior in high school thanked me for showing her that there are good books out there!

  • Judy C

    Thanks for recommending Erin Knightley. I also enjoy fun, humorous, and charming historical romances.

    • Lorraine

      I love that romance provides us with so many different types of books.

  • Marie Campbell

    Awesome!

  • Sandy Xiong

    I remember back in middle school to high school, I would read young adults and even though there was a small romance in it, the young adult genre over power it a lot. i think the first time I read a romance book though, I did notice that it was very romance lol. Thank you for the recommendations. I have read Erin Knightley’s books before so I’ll have to check up on Addison Fox

    • Lorraine

      Enjoy!

  • Sheila M

    I’ve never read Morning Glory but now it is on my TBR list.

    • Lorraine

      I think you will enjoy it.

  • Stephanie M.

    Thank you for your great post today. Judith McNaught, Jude Devereaux and Johanna Lindsey are favorites of mine, too.

    • Lorraine

      I loved their books.

  • ki pha

    I believe so many of us started off on the same path you did Lorraine. I know for sure I never thouguht I would be loving romance novels as much as I do and own a whole load of them in my bookshelf and Kindle. My story followed almost the same as yours; picking up a book to past the time and not knowing it was a romance novel. But I loved every moment of it.

    • Lorraine

      Since then, I’ve tried very hard not to pre-judge any genres. Even if I’m not into a particular genre, I respect that there are those who are.

  • Tammy H

    I enjoyed your post. I think my husband and I were about as well off as you and yours when we got married 26 years ago!

    • Lorraine

      I love stories of people taking a chance and it working out.

  • Debbie Oxier

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Linnea Bassin

    I enjoyed reading your post.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you for stopping by!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I loved Morning Glory…I started out reading a lot of those same authors. I have never heard of Buns and Roses but I think you just helped me come up with an idea for a ladies’ trip next year! I look forward to reading about your rebels, scoundrels and rogues 🙂 Great post!!!

    • Lorraine

      Courtney, it would be awesome if you joined us!

  • Sharlene Wegner

    The cover of Once More, My Darling Rogue is gorgeous! I,too am noticing the generosity and the comradery of the romance community. The internet gives you the opportunity to make friends who like the same kind of books you like, discuss books & get recommendations.

    • Lorraine

      The cover gods have certainly smiled on me. 🙂

  • mariannewestrich

    I love it when authors and readers can get together. I’ve attended several conferences and think it’s a great way for readers to “fan-girl” and for authors to understand just how much their work touches others.

  • Pam P

    So true how great the romance book community is Lorraine; quite a few readers and authors I’ve met from all over and still in touch with. One private group of readers turned me on to your books, been a fan ever since.
    pambook

  • Laurie W G

    I have Addison Fox’s book on the top of my TBR pile. I do want to read Ms Knightly too. So many new authors to try.

    My first book was also by LaVyrle Spencer, FORGIVING. I’m so glad I picked it up and read it on the plane returning home from a vacation in Florida.

  • Angela H

    I read a LaVyrle Spencer book years ago and loved it too

  • Laurie Skinner Gray

    I agree with you, I love reading romance books for their HEAs. Who wants to be depressed at the end of a book?

  • Jen C

    I enjoy the community of readers too! And LaVyrle Spencer books!

  • LSUReader

    What a great story about finding (tripping into) romance books. Thanks for a good post.

  • MK

    I too, love the HEA I know I’m going to get at the end of a romance. I go for the happy movies too!

  • Erin F

    ah the great LaVyrle Spencer 🙂 I remember sneaking her books off my grandmother’s bookshelves and reading them in a corner! Definitely started my love for romance 🙂

  • Adaffern

    For the longest time I wouldn’t read romance either, one book was all it took to hook me.

  • Emily Seelye

    Love your story! Glad you found your calling.

  • Marcy Shuler

    I loved your post. I also recognized Morning Glory just from your description f the book. 😉

  • Judy Goodnight

    Morning Glory is my absolute favorite LaVyrle Spencer story. Isn’t it fascinating the power a single book can have to change your life?