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 ( 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.

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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