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.


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, and she regularly blogs at Word Wenches You can find her on Facebook at

Buy Jo’s Books:

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