Day 11 Lucy Monroe – The Transformative Power of Romance

Romance…Celebrate the Power

Worse than being asked (on more occasions than I’d like to remember) when I’m going to write a real book, worse than being told I was wasting my talent on throwaway books, even worse than being asked why romance of all things, I’ll never forget a fellow romance author calling our genre chocolate box fiction.

I was appalled. She wasn’t proud of the industry that had provided a lucrative lifestyle for her, nor did she approve of the Lucy Monroedirection our genre had taken.

I’ve been told romance is pure entertainment, the panacea for stress-filled lives. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing, but because of my own experiences, I can’t help asking if that’s all it is?

Romance…is it chocolate box fiction or a genre so powerful, it can change lives?

If you know anything about me at all, you know I can only answer that question one way. I believe that romance fiction is bigger than entertainment, though it undoubtedly is entertainment. It is more than a few hours of stress relief, though there’s no denying it provides that service very well.

The romance genre is, in truth, an entity so powerful, so big that it changes lives…the lives of its readers and the lives of the authors who currently do or seek to make their living writing it.

My first brush with the life-altering power of romance was as a young reader. I used to sneak into my older sister’s stash of Harlequins and I read them all. I was a voracious reader, so I was also devouring my entire school’s library from A to Z and checking out as many books from the public library as I could manage.

But none of the other fiction or nonfiction I read fed me the way romance did. Romance novels told me love could conquer all. Between the covers of those old Harlequins I found very different men than my own father. Men who didn’t hurt their families, cheat on their wives or abandon their children. And somewhere deep inside, I decided I didn’t have to share my mom’s taste in “fixer-uppers” – that somewhere out there was a man who would make a darn good hero in my own life.

Because of that overriding belief, I didn’t settle. I didn’t stay in the relationships that didn’t work and I didn’t give up when the one I loved broke my heart. Did I meet my hero? Yep. We’ve been married and in love for over 25 years and he’s still amazing!

The transformative power of romance did not stop there, though. Because you see, I decided to write the books I loved reading so much. And that changed my life too. Well before I published, the discovery of like-minded individuals enriched my life. I found a fellowship among romance readers and authors that continues to bless and surprise me. Publishing opened up that world in a whole new way. I consider my readers as much a part of my life as the books I write that connect them to me.

My editors call me an issues writer and my stories have dealt with things like domestic violence, women’s health issues that are often swept under the rug, sexual dysfunction, family dynamics as they are in today’s world, and other issues close to my heart. I’ve received hundreds of reader letters/emails in the past decade and a good half are from readers who no longer feel alone in their own challenges because of my books. But I am far from unique.

I’ve never spoken to another romance author who hasn’t gotten similar letters in one form or another. Perhaps it’s the reader who made it through a hard time because of that author’s books, or the reader who identified with the main character(s), or maybe the reader who just needed to remember that there was still good in the world.

Romance is elemental. It’s unique. It’s special. And it’s important.

So, why not celebrate its power to transform lives?

I’d love to hear from you. Has reading (or writing) romance helped you through a hard time, made you feel less alone, or opened up a world that was previously closed to you? Share your stories and become part of the celebration!

Recommendations:

This list could be longer than the post, so I’m going to limit myself to three. They aren’t necessarily my three top favorites, just three authors I think you should try. Because I have A LOT of TOP favorites. 🙂

Jami Davenport because she writes fun and sexy sports heroes, Adrianne Lee because she writes amazing emotion, Amy Lane because she writes really intelligent gay romance.


Questions for the Author:

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

My mom raised us to see life as a series of adventures and challenges to overcome. She encouraged us to always look in the face of our adversary and step forward, never back. While I’ve never climbed Mt. Everest or gone hiking alone in the desert, I did step right up to the “shoot to kill” zone at the border between East and West Germany (before the fall of the Berlin Wall) and gave my German hostess a near heart attack. My baby sister and climbed over the rails at a lookout point at the Grand Canyon to stand on the furthest edge. (Mom wasn’t so pleased by the results of her teaching at that moment, if her screams were any indication.) I got my MBA when there were a total of 7 women in the entire program and the glass ceiling was a foot-thick and bullet-proof. I stayed home with my children when too many thought I was wasting my education and letting down fellow women to do so. I followed my dream to be a romance writer though it took me 9 years and 13 finished novels with a mound of rejections before selling my first one. But probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done was to fall in love with, give my trust to, and marry my husband after what I’d seen of marriage and love.

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 wanted to be so many things as a child and then later as an adult, but being an author? That wasn’t on my radar. It never occurred to me that I could write the books I loved to read and I had no desire to pen the next great piece of Literary Fiction. Then I was having a conversation with God in the bathtub and He said, “Write a book.” At first, I assumed it was supposed to be nonfiction, inspirational…something meaningful. After all, God has led me here, right? It took me a while to realize that I could be and had been called to write steamy romance that didn’t make any pretense at naivete. It wasn’t an easy path and I’ve learned to deal with being misunderstood, questioned and judged, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Those early rejections taught me not to take my career for granted. Fighting through what I was supposed to be writing has given me a rock solid certainty about what I do write now. And my kids know that if I could do it, they can do anything so long as they don’t give up.

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

Books are a game changer and anyone who doesn’t realize that, hasn’t been impacted by their power. I’ve had so many books change my life, my outlook. Jayne Ann Krentz’ Eclipse Bay trilogy solidified my need to be a romance author and make other people feel the way she had made me feel reading her books. Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place made me want to be a better person. Lori Foster’s Say No to Joe? made me want to be a better parent. Lora Leigh’s Breed series made me want to be a more creative writer. Every single book I’ve read by Christine Feehan has impacted me in some profound way.

Lucy Monroe is generously giving away 3 copies of Sheikh’s Scandal (Launch book for Harlequin Presents The Chatsfield miniseries) to U.S. readers (entry form below) and 2 copies to international readers (enter here).


Lucy-MonroeWith more than 7 million copies of her books in print worldwide, award winning and USA Today bestseller Lucy Monroe has published over 60 books and had her stories translated for sale all over the world. Her books are sexy, deeply emotional and adhere to the concept that love will conquer all. She’s looking forward to the 2015 spring launch of her newest series Northern Fire, set in a small quirky town in Alaska. A passionate devotee of romance, she adores sharing her love for the genre with her readers.

 

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  • Anna

    Well, romance is helping to get me through grad school, so if that doesn’t count, I don’t know what does!

    • Lucy Monroe

      LOL Anna…it definitely counts! Grad school is one of life’s challenges meant to humble us, I think. 😉 Good on you for taking that route!

  • Sue G.

    We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary! We even renewed our vows. I think each year keeps getting better and better! 😉

    • Lucy Monroe

      Sue…we did that too last year. I had no idea how emotionally impacting it would be – for either of us. 🙂 Congratulations and may you have many more wonderful years together!

      • Sue G.

        Thanks! I remember seeing your pics on facebook! Congrats to you too!

        • Lucy Monroe

          Thank you! 🙂

  • Erica H

    I am not one to post personal information online, but I just had to say something. I absolutely loved your post, and I will say that romance novels has helped me through illness, surgeries, and family drama.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thank you so much, Erica, for sharing that. Hugs! 🙂

  • Sara Underhill

    Romance helps me after tough days at work. I’m more of a “serious” book reader most of the time, but reading romance is my absolute favorite way to relax!

    • Lucy Monroe

      Sara, romance is my favorite form of relaxation therapy too. 🙂

  • Martha B

    Like you, books have transformed my life…

    • Lucy Monroe

      Isn’t it amazing how someone you have never met can touch your heart and impact your life?

      • Martha B

        I totally agree. It surprises me (especially when the character is fictional) that it impacts me soooo much. That said, I no longer worry about where (or what) inspires me to change beliefs, attitudes, etc. Whether it is fictional (or not,) I recognized the value for someone who got me to change! It started in my mind. For me, change is internal first and then moves outward.

        • Lucy Monroe

          We are definitely kindred spirits in that belief. Fiction is sometimes more powerful than nonfiction because we are able to internalize something our mind knows is not real easier than a true life story with the same level of angst and pain – however a triumphant an ending. Hugs!

  • Kim

    Harlequin books is a great way to find new authors.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Aren’t they, Kim? I love Harlequin for so many reasons. Whenever someone asks when I’m going to stop writing for Presents, I tell them never if I can help it. 🙂 I love writing single titles too, but I’ve gotten to take risks in my Presents I couldn’t in my single titles.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I too read everything I could get my hands on growing up & even now, many years later. I love being able to dive into a book & feel as if I am part of the story. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Me too, Eileen! And thank *you* for taking the time to read my post. 🙂

  • Debbie Fuller

    I so agree with this point of view. Romance has power and the stories about romance teach us how to use that power.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Yes! Debbie, that is exactly it. 🙂

  • Laura Van Guilder

    I love Romance books. I have read them since I was a teenager. (Back in the Ice Age! LOL! )
    Some people get so snobby! Don’t let them get you down. I love your books.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thanks, Laura! If they’d had romance novels in the Ice Age, the melt would have started sooner. 😉 Hugs!

  • Patty Vasquez

    All through high school I read romance novels. Then college and the first career came along. So did a series of terrible relationships. I used to think I had developed rose-colored glasses because of all the books I’d read and real, romantic love was a sham. In reality, I think I forgot to keep the characteristics of those romance heroes in my mind; I let myself settle for something less. Then, after a failed first marriage, I met and married a true hero who encouraged me to start reading again. Romance can change lives.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Oh, Patty! What a moving story. Hug that new hero for me. 🙂

      • Patty Vasquez

        Gladly, Lucy. We’ll celebrate our 24th anniversary this year. 😀

  • Julie

    I have been reading since I was a child. I had health issues and the only thing I could do was read. Now I love to read even more.

    • Lucy Monroe

      What a triumph your life has been. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Cindy A

    I’ve read some of your books – nope, you haven’t wasted your talent!

    • Lucy Monroe

      Awww, Cindy…thank you!!! 🙂

  • Ellen

    The great thing about romance is its diversity. Sometimes it deals with serious issues, and sometimes it is like a chocolate indulgence. Many times, a book can do both. Love your books, Lucy. Thanks for sharing with your readers.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thank you, Ellen! I absolutely agree. It is only the dismissal (I think of any genre) as just one thing less than the whole I find untenable. Romance is as varied as fiction can be and we are all made the more richer for that. 🙂

  • rebecca moe

    Reading romance has gotten me through so many difficult times!

    Thanks for posting 🙂

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thank you for sharing that, Rebecca. 🙂

  • donnas

    Its all true. Its not just some throwaway fiction to read. It can inspire and heal and even change your life.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Yes! There is power and beauty and yes fun in the written word. 🙂

  • Pamby50

    Love your post about not settling. Glad you didn’t listen to the people about writing romance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Ready, Willing & Able.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thank you! Hearing that is a blessing every time. Believe me. 🙂

  • Glenda

    There’s a reason that romance as a genre has expanded to cover SO many different sub genres — even the fantasy and paranormal romances provide something that we can all relate to. The ultimate HEA is just bonus – especially when our lives are not going well. 🙂

    • Lucy Monroe

      You said it! 🙂

  • Marie Campbell

    Wonderful

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thanks!

  • Sheila M

    For me, romance is the light and beauty and optimism in a world that at times seems dark and dreary.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Yes! That’s how I see it too. 🙂

  • Stephanie M.

    Thank you for your great post today. Romance always gets me through good and bad times. Recently, the Virgin River Series by Robyn Carr really got me through some tough times. Suzanne Brockmann and Lori Foster books have also been great at making me smile. 🙂

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thanks so much for sharing. I haven’t read Robyn yet, but Lori and Suz B are two of my faves! 🙂

  • Tiffany Boatwright

    Romance to me is about evoking an emotion. When you get so invested in teh characters and stories, that what they go through and how they persevere, grow or change, helps to change you. That is a special book.

    • Lucy Monroe

      It really really is. Thanks for sharing because I think that’s something most of us look for in our favorite books, the chance to be immersed in another world.

  • Tammy H

    You are very daring and adventurous! 🙂

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thanks! Hugs!

  • Debbie Oxier

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thank you for taking the time to read. 🙂

  • Miriam Smith

    Great article. I’ve gotten to know the wonderful world of Regency England through romance stories, and this genre is my go-to when I want to escape or when i want to read something other than vampires, shifters, athletes, lawyers, etc. Not that those are bad, lol.

    • Lucy Monroe

      I love Regency romance, steamy and sweet. Julie Garwood’s Regencies were some of my favorite books. 🙂

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I don’t have a lot of drama (or trauma) in my life, thank goodness. However, I love reading romance as an escape from normal day to day stress. I’m pretty sure that reading romance keeps me optimistic and happy. I am very thankful to all of your authors out there that keep me in books! And I’m also very thankful for all the new authors I have discovered courtesy of Bobbi and Read a Romance Month!!!

    • Lucy Monroe

      I’m pretty sure it’s one of the best and most reliable stress reducers and endorphin makers out there. 🙂 Hugs!

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you, Lucy, for your post. I have blessed to have a life that wasn’t filled with drama or trauma but I have worked in jobs that created a lot of stress in my life. That stress was left behind when I got home and curled up with a romance novel.

    • Lucy Monroe

      I really love hearing that, Joan. 🙂

  • Beautiful post! Thanks for your words and your romances too! I love Children of the moon series. I have appreciated your post so much that I have translated your words in my language. You can read it here: http://letturedimari.blogspot.it/2014/08/lucy-monroe-celebrare-la-forza-del.html. Hope you don’t mind. 😉

    • Lucy Monroe

      Thank you so much! What a lovely thing to do! XoXo!!

  • mariannewestrich

    In 2010, I lost my father to cancer in less than 3 months from diagnosis to the end. Reading gave me the respite and safe place to go while dealing and healing.

    • Lucy Monroe

      Marianne, I’m so sorry to hear about your father. Grief like that never goes away fully but it gets better. I really believe positive fiction can bouey us as we process out pain. Hugs!

  • Ann Mettert

    I enjoyed your post.

  • Jen C

    “But none of the other fiction or nonfiction I read fed me the way romance did.” – yes! this is how I feel. And the ones that fill me up the most are the ones that deal with big, complicated situations (everything from historical events to contemporary “issues”)…but I like the sweet, easy reads too! (By the way, this was the first blog post I scrolled right down passed the rafflecopter because I was too excited and wanted to post my response right away!

  • Kim

    I love your post!! I love when writers write about difficult topics. I’ve been touched by many different books. One of the more recent books that impacted me was Two of a Kind by Susan Mallery because I really related to the heroine.

  • Erin F

    congrats on the new release!!! Man… talk about biting the hand that feeds ya. I truly don’t understand the “shaming” of romance readers or writers.

  • Peni Anne

    You go girl, there is absolutely nothing wrong and many things right about writing and reading romance. It is certainly better than 99% of what is on tv. It leaves you with a good, hopeful attitude and lightens the spirit. I get enough depressing, serious, ugliness in the news, government and everyday life. Romance gives me the break I need to keep sane. I have read many of your stories. Actually, you are one of my “don’t need to read the reviews to see if good buy” you always are. Thank you 🙂

  • JanD

    Reading romance is my comfort zone. It helps me relax.

  • Cheryl Hastings

    Love your books…thanks for the recommendations, especially Jamie Davenport…Love sports romances!

  • Judy Goodnight

    Thanks for sharing your powerful testimony on the power of love and romance.