Day 23 Jo Beverley – Celebrating Loving Bonds

Romance Isn’t Only Fantasy

Mail AttachmentSome years ago I was interviewed by a reluctant journalist. She admitted from the beginning that she didn’t read romance and was there because someone else was sick. I liked her honesty and her attitude wasn’t dismissive, simply apologetic. The interview went well because she seemed genuinely curious, but at the end, as she closed her notebook she said, “It is all fantasy, though, isn’t it?”

She wasn’t a young reporter and she was wearing a wedding ring—unusual in my experience. Mindful that she might be a widow, I asked, “Are you married?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Do you know many married people?”

“Yes,” she said, looking puzzled.

“As it happens,” I said, “today’s my thirtieth wedding anniversary. How long has it been for you?”

I can’t remember her exact answer, but let’s say she said, “Twelve.”

“So is it all fantasy?” I asked.

She was speechless, and eventually came out with the feeble escape of, “Well, that’s different.” She was good natured and intelligent enough to pull herself together and admit that I had a point and we parted on good terms.

The point is that no, it’s not different. Leave aside brawny Scots in kilts, nattily-cravated dukes, and billionaires with ice in jo beverleytheir hearts, romances are about the human mating dance in all its complexity and insanity, and about the truth that in reality people form loving bonds that last at the least for a while, and often for life.

Yes, for life. Pay attention to all those local news stories about people celebrating their ruby, gold, and diamond anniversaries, and remember that many other marriages were cut short only by death.

What about the “failure” rate. This is from Wikipedia, citing US government statistics. “Of the first marriages for women from 1955 to 1959, about 79% marked their 15th anniversary, compared with only 57% for women who married for the first time from 1985 to 1989.” (2012 data.)

“Only,” but that’s nearly 60% of couples being together for 15 years, and remember some of the women whose marriages didn’t last that long would be widows.

So what we celebrate in romance isn’t fantasy. It’s a reality for the majority of people

What’s more, it’s a reality that is familiar to nearly everyone. How many people get involved in a murder investigation, or find themselves on the run from a serial killer or terrorists? How many travel into space, or struggle against chemicals run amok, zombies, or werefolk?

What we love about those stories is that they’re excitingly different from our daily lives, but the romance element, if there is one, will be familiar, regardless of guns, death, or fur. The patterns of the human mating dance are hard-wired into us, and we’ve all followed the steps, one way or another.

We know what it feels like to be hit by sudden attraction. We know the obsession that can often follow. We know the ways in which the hormones of love can lead us to embarrass ourselves and do things we’ll later regret. If we’re fortunate we know the exquisite delights of love felt and returned, even if it was fleeting. We probably all have heartbreak to remember, but if we’re blessed, we also know deep, life-long love.

This hard-wired, human bonding adventure is what lies at the heart of romance.

It’s real, not fantasy, as is proved every day, and in every joyful anniversary.

It’s definitely to be celebrated.

Recommendation:

Try Emma Jane Holloway who writes intriguing steampunk paranormal romance.


Questions For The Author

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

Mail Attachment-2I’m not a daring person, so I don’t look at something like skydiving and think, “Challenge!” I think, “Why?” I’d do it if I wanted to, but not because I felt it would be good for me. I’ve been uplifted by encounters with the edge of sea where the waves lap dry land. That, to me, is a mystical place because unless there’s horrible pollution, it’s both natural and eternal. That contact, subtly or powerfully changing the earth with every wave, has been the same forever, even if there are now buildings behind and tankers on the water in front. If the surroundings are unmarked by people it’s particularly special.

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 was, I think, though it took a while to sink in that I could actually be A Novelist. I didn’t think it was something ordinary people did. I wrote stories as a child, and a historical romance in a school exercise book in my teens. I dreamed up stories every night as I went to sleep and sometimes wrote a bit down in a notepad or on sheets of paper.

It was a talk at a local library plus the advent of the home computer that changed everything for me. I never learned to type, so the process of typing and carbons defeated me. With an elementary word processor and some practical advice and encouragement, I was off.

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

Oh, so difficult. I suspect for my writing life there were a number in my childhood that set the seed. Perhaps the Lambs’ Tales from Shakespeare. Shakespeare does have some rip-roaring yarns, and they’re all historical for modern eyes. I read that book over and over at a tender age, probably settings patterns in my brain.

Jo is generously giving away one print copy  of A Scandalous Countess and one copy of Seduction in Silk to North American readers (U.S. and Canadian readers may use the entry form below) – one book each to two winners. International readers may enter (here) to win an e-published copy of An Arranged Marriage or a copy of An Unwilling Bride (one book  to  two readers). ****And since Jo is in England, she’ll give two print books to UK readers — An Arranged Marriage and A Shocking Delight. To enter the UK contest, leave a comment that includes “I’m a UK reader – thanks Jo!” And we’ll pick two winners from those comments.


jomayPublishers Weekly declared Jo Beverley “Arguably today’s most skillful writer of intelligent historical romance…” Her work has been described as “Sublime!” by Booklist, and Romantic Times described her as “one of the great
names of the genre.”

She is the NYT bestselling author of over thirty historical romance novels, all set in her native England in the medieval, Georgian, and Regency periods. Her novels have won the RITA, romance’s top award, five times, and she is a member
of Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame.

She also writes some romantic stories with a science fiction and fantasy twist, and The Marrying Maid was an honorable mention for Best SF 2011.

Her web site is http://www.jobev.com, and she regularly blogs at Word Wenches http://www.wordwenches.com. You can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jo.beverley

Buy Jo’s Books:

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  • Kathy Nye

    Thank you for Rothgar.

    • Jo Beverley

      Thanks, Kathy. It was delightful to have him arrive in my imagination. 🙂

      • Jo, I want to send a romance-loving friend one of your novels but can’t decide which one. I’m thinking about “My Lady Notorious” as your first in the Malloren series. Thoughts? Recommendations?

        Just finished re-reading “A Most Unsuitable Man” and “Winter Fire,” which have reminded me just why those are two of my favorites!

        Also, just finished writing my first historical romance novel and am submitting it to a contest. You’ve inspired me!

        • Jo Beverley

          My Lady Notorious is a good one, Abigail, being the first in a series. Or An Arranged Marriage for the same reason.Forbidden Magic in my only stand-alone, so that’s another option. Hope everything goes splendidly with your own book.

  • Tammy H

    Great post. I agree with about skydiving!

    • Jo Beverley

      Thanks, Tammy. Each to their own but I prefer other thrills.

  • Sheryl N

    Great post and thanks for the author recommendation

    • Jo Beverley

      You’re welcome, Sheryl.

  • mariannewestrich

    What a great way to explain romance … yes, it SHOULD be a part of everyone’s lives!

    • Jo Beverley

      And so often is, Marianne. Isn’t it grand!

  • Debbie Oxier

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Martha Lawton

    Thank you for your books.

  • Anna

    If romance isn’t a part of everyone’s lives, it should be. I really like your take on the statistics for marriage. It’s a much more positive way to look at it!

    • Jo Beverley

      I think so, Anna.

  • Joyce Rajnyak Burkhardt

    This was a great article. I love the story of how the couple achieve their HEA in a great romance novel. I also love to ask real life couples how they met and realized that they found the one.

  • Erin F

    I love how you gently but firmly put that journalist in her place 🙂 thanks for such a fun post!

  • Barbara E.

    I totally agree with the Emma Jane Holloway recommendation, I adore her books. I love the idea that romance is a reality, and I see it frequently in lots of ordinary people every day all over the internet.

    • Jo Beverley

      Glad you’re a Holloway fan, Barbara. Yes, we need to _see_ the reality all around.

  • Rochelle

    Thanks for the positive message on marriages. It’s exhausting to listen to all the media drivel on failure rates. For those of us in happy marriages/relationships, romance is alive and well.

    • Jo Beverley

      Yes, Rochelle. These ideas take root and then people stop questioning them.

  • Sue G.

    Love the interview! You probably shocked the poor lady!

  • Patty Vasquez

    It’s interesting that you should mention your encounters with the edge of the sea. I grew up (and still live) in a state that is known as the land of 10,000 lakes. Water everywhere! And yet, when I was 16, we took a family vacation to the east coast and I saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. It was a cloudy, gray day, the wind was blowing and the waves were up. I will never forget how overwhelmed I felt as I watched the roiling, roaring waves tumble up the beach and then recede back into the ocean. I really felt how immense and timeless the ocean was on that trip.

    • Jo Beverley

      The ocean is powerful, isn’t it, Patty. Seismologists can detect the waves beating on the shore a long way inland. Like a heartbeat.

  • Rita Wray

    I enjoyed the interview.

  • Quinn Fforde

    When I was a teenager, people tried to say marriage as an institution was dying, but that is simply not true. I completely agree with you, and I love your “regardless of guns, death, or fur” line!

    • Jo Beverley

      Thanks, Quinn. The essentials of love are constant.

  • Judy C

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Deb Hinshaw

    Love is a wonderful journey, and marriage, with all of its ups and downs, is a love journey to be celebrated…whether for 1 year or 50 and beyond. My parents will be celebrating their 60th this next spring.

    • Jo Beverley

      Congratulations to you parents, Deb.

  • Thank you for describing so well all that lies at the heart of romance. And thank you for the fantastic giveaway! (from international point of view!) 🙂

    • Jo Beverley

      You’re welcome, Marinella.

  • Cindy A

    The reason I read romance!!! And thanks for the steampunk recommendation.

    • Jo Beverley

      You’re welcome, Cindy. I wasn’t sure I’d like steampunk, but I find it’s fun.

  • Angela

    You are my all time favorite author!

    • Jo Beverley

      Thank you, Angela!

  • Glenda

    I do love your response to the reporter, Jo. :-)I guess I’m celebrating 23 years of fantasy. 😉 Love your books too!

    • Jo Beverley

      “I guess I’m celebrating 23 years of fantasy. 😉 ” LOL!

      It’s a nice way of looking at it, really, isn’t it?

  • Martha B

    One of the reasons I enjoy your books is something you stated clearly above. “This hard-wired, human bonding adventure is what lies at the heart of romance.” You make the story of how that journey unfolds and the beginning of the bonding so interesting! Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with us (your fans).

    • Jo Beverley

      Thanks, Martha. The human mating dance is hard-wired, though the term should have something to say about hormones. Hormones orchestrate everything.

  • Angie Frawley

    It’s been said before,but this makes it clear why you’re one of my TOP go to authors!! Thanks for all the loving adventures!!

    • Jo Beverley

      Thanks so much, Angie! 🙂

  • Adaffern

    Loved your answer to the reporter.

  • Julie

    I love your books. Thank you for sharing your talents.

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you for your insight. I agree that for many people, it’s is real.

  • catslady

    Wonderful interview and my favorite type of read.

  • Pamby50

    The people who think romance books are all fantasy are wrong. The are real just like all of us who enjoy reading them. Thanks for writing such wonderful books.

    • Jo Beverley

      Thanks, Pamby.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Romance books are definitely not fantasy. I’m not sure if I’ve read any of your books but my daughter loves your books & encourages me to start reading them. Thank you for your post.

    • Jo Beverley

      If you try one of mine, Eileen, I hope you enjoy it. There’s a list on my web site, and there are excerpts from all of them, so you can try before you buy. http://www.booklist.html

      • Eileen Aberman-Wells

        Thank you!! I will check it out as I am sure I wil be reading at least one in the future.

  • Emmel

    I liked the way you subtly reminded this reporter that all fiction is in some way, shape, or form, fantasy. Heck, most “reality” TV is fantasy as well!

    • Jo Beverley

      “Heck, most “reality” TV is fantasy as well!”

      How very true, Emmel!

  • Angela H

    I love the cover of you books they are inviting to me – the stories make you want to stay for awhile. Keep up the good work

  • Sharlene Wegner

    If nothing else, the “ah” moment in romance novels & the HEA can make you feel good, which may carry over into your own romantic life!

  • rebecca moe

    Excellent essay! Of course all fiction is fantasy to a certain extent–that’s what makes it fiction 🙂 But at least love and romance actually exist (though I fervently hope zombies don’t, no matter what my seventeen-year-old wishes)

  • PhyllisC

    I enjoyed reading the article and as someone who has been married 40+ years I agree.with your thoughts. I love, love, love your stories!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I love your response to the reporter! I constantly deal with people who say they can’t get into romance novels–I ask them what they read and can almost always find the romance plot line in the book:) Real life romance may not always perfectly mirror that within the novels, but the general sentiment is there and I find romance in my life every day. I think romance makes me a happier person both in life and my relationship–the high from a good book with an outstanding HEA can last for days! Great post and thanks for all you do…love your books.

  • Sheila M

    It seems to be easier for people to focus on the negative than the positive. I know so many couples who have been together for years.

  • Melissa Hanson

    Wonderful essay and I definitely agree with your statement on skydiving. I don’t know why anyone would want to fall out of the sky.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I really enjoyed your essay and appreciate the recommendation. I don’t believe I’ve come across Emma Jane Holloway before.

  • Beverly Gordon

    I enjoyed your responses! I havent read anything by Emma Jane will check that out I love when authors recommend others as well . i feel every one has o have a form of love and romance its what makes the world go round i suppose everything has elements that we embrace and its abeautifulthing

  • Elizabeth Hallaron

    Loved your essay. I am a librarian, and recently had my director ask me why I read romances. It was like of all the books you could read, why are you checking out romances. I find that attitude is still too real among librarians. I will remember what you wrote for the next time I have that discussion. Thanks.

  • Barb Drozdowich

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I think that we sometimes forget that our marriages are a romance also…not just the books that I read. Good reminder!

  • Laurie Skinner Gray

    Love your thoughts on romance. I agree with your definition, romance is real and messy and wonderful. Hopefully at the end of your years the good days will outnumber the not so good ones.

  • Terry Anderson

    Romance comes from optimism of the human spirit and if returned brings its own joy to the heart. I am so grateful for the wonderful work of romance writers!

  • Gretchen

    Love those covers!

  • Lisa Wright

    Was in a small group discussion with her a few years ago. Very interesting lady.

  • Claire Gilless

    I love reading your books … think I have all but the most recent. Thanks so much for your hard work putting them together!

  • Emily Seelye

    You are one of my favorites! Your post was thought provoking. I don’t think that many people take into account that death is a reason why some marriages don’t last as long as others.

  • Marcy Shuler

    The actual storyline might be a fantasy, but the emotions in the story aren’t.

  • Judy Goodnight

    “This hard-wired, human bonding adventure is what lies at the heart of romance. It’s real, not fantasy, as is proved every day, and in every joyful anniversary.” – So very true!