Day 21 Loretta Nyhan – Proudly Addicted to Love

In Praise of Binges and Communities

We’ve all done it.

My first time was with LOST, the engrossing television series about a bunch of plane crash survivors marooned on a very Empire Girlsstrange island in the Pacific. The show is supposed to be about fate and destiny and the meaning of life, blah-blah-blah, but for me it was always about Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Hurley and Locke.  The characters and their relationships drew me in, so effectively that I watched the entire first season in a week-long Netflix marathon of heroic proportions. I’d stumble up to bed at three a.m., my husband questioning my sanity (until I got him watching), my body drifting off to dreamland while my brain still wondered if I had time for just one more episode. (Only 42 minutes without commercials! What’s the big deal?)

Oh, I love a good entertainment binge.  And, as long as I’m still getting up for work and feeding the kids, what’s the harm? We all need to fall into another world sometimes, to lose ourselves so completely that the stressors of daily life temporarily fade away.  Episodic television is great for this, but do you know what’s even better? Romance novels.

A few months ago, I discovered the first book in Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series, and oh boy, was I hooked.  Imagine my glee upon visiting her web site and discovering not two or three or five books, but nine books in the series. Nine. Enough for a proper binge read, which I happily began, immersing myself fully in her charming Pacific coast town and its lively inhabitants. As I finished each novel, my investment in the world Jill created deepened. Binge reading intensified the experience—I became so familiar with Lucky Harbor and its townspeople, I felt like I lived there.  (The town has the best strip mall ever, containing a bookstore, bakery, and florist. If you’re reading, Jill–maybe I could move in and open a wine shop? Just a thought.) As with LOST, the characters and the complexities of their relationships captivated me–these books not only depict wonderful romances, but also stories of the often complicated bonds between mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, man and beast, new friends, and old companions. Reading them one after another makes it easier to see how all these lives interconnect. Everyone in Lucky Harbor had a story, and darn it, I was going to find out about each one. So I read and read and read…

And emerged from my binge, nine books later, bleary-eyed but satisfied. “Addict,” my husband jokingly called me when I came up for air. But, as far as addictions go, an obsessive desire to read about love and friendship is one I think I can live with.

How about you? Got a suggestion for binge-worthy reading? Please share in the comment section below!


Kristan Higgins’ terrific Blue Heron series and Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners (if you like erotica).

 Questions for the Author:

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

When I was 22, I moved to New York City with no job, no friends, and no money. What the heck was I thinking?

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?)

At my high school senior awards ceremony, my name was announced as “Writer of the Year.” I looked over at my journalism teacher and she was vigorously nodding her head. I’d never had that kind of validation before—it was like she’d given me permission to pursue what had seemed a pretty impossible dream.  (And, I don’t know any writers who can’t tell a good story about a teacher who is at least partly responsible for their careers.)

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

My first binge read—Nancy Drew mysteries. They sparked a love of reading that has never diminished. I think I was in 4th grade. At that point I made a decision—I was no longer going to be nun. Detective work was definitely in my future. Or maybe I could be a nun AND a detective. Nancy Drew made anything seem possible.

Loretta is generously giving away two copies of Empire Girls. U.S. readers only, apologies to international friends. Entry below.

NyhanLoretta Nyhan has worked as a journalist and copywriter, and currently teaches college writing and humanities. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and family. EMPIRE GIRLS, her second novel co-written with Suzanne Hayes, was released in June. Their first, I’LL BE SEEING YOU, earned the coveted Kirkus starred review, and has been translated into Italian, French, and German.


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