Day 24 Nicola Cornick – Joyful & Affirming Romance

Why I Love Romance

A few months ago the BBC produced a new dramatisation of Daphne Du Maurier’s historical novel Jamaica Inn. I was looking forward to it very much as Du Maurier has been one of my favourite authors since I was in my teens and she is a writer who influenced me profoundly. I love the way in which she evokes atmosphere and creates such a vivid historical world that pulls you right in. In my opinion some of her books also have a very strong romantic thread to them that is integral to the story. Amongst other things, she writes about the complexities of love and relationships and she does it with insight and wisdom.

About a week before Jamaica Inn was shown, however, there was an article about Daphne Du Maurier’s books in a UK national newspaper. In it they claimed that Du Maurier “absolutely hated all this bunk about her being a romantic novelist” and that the wealth and worldwide fame that she earned from her novelsClaimed by the Laird were a poor substitute for the acclaim she craved from literary critics who dismissed her as “a second-rank romantic novelist.” They pointed out that her books could be dark, macabre and violent as though this in some way meant that they could not also be romantic.

Romantic fiction is a broad genre and for me it can encompass everything from contemporary romance through historical novels to romantic mystery and suspense and more besides. So by my judgement, for what that’s worth, Daphne Du Maurier’s books fall very firmly within the genre. In fact I would list Frenchman’s Creek as one of my top historical romantic novels of all time. What’s more important, though, is that this is something that should be celebrated. We’ve all experienced the literary snobbery that a lot of the media has towards romance. It’s a bizarre fact that these newspapers make a fortune through lonely hearts advertisements from people who are searching for love, and then in the same pages the papers sneer at romance books or romantic movies or just about anything that celebrates love and relationships. As readers and writers we have to rise above such ridiculous prejudice. Romance is a genre that has fostered and continues to foster outstanding talent in writing. It’s life and love affirming. It gives joy. I’m proud to be a part of that as a reader and an author. Because romance matters and that is definitely worth celebrating!

Recommendations:I’d like to recommend two authors whose books I love. The first is Alison Stuart, who writes historical romantic adventure set in a variety of different time periods. I particularly enjoy her books set during the English Civil War of the 17th Century. It was such a tumultuous period and Alison captures the drama and passion of the period perfectly.

My other recommendation is The Highwayman’s Daughter by Henriette Gyland. It’s a swashbuckling, Gothic Georgian-set romance!

Questions for the Author:

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

I’ve traveled a lot and seen some amazing places and done some pretty wild things but I would say that the most daring and adventurous thing I’ve ever done is helping to train assistance dogs. It was daring because until I was in my thirties I had never had a dog in my life and so had no idea what I was committing to. It was adventurous because it brought me into contact with the most amazing people – and dogs – doing extraordinary things. And it has inspired me in so many ways and I hope it provides inspiration for others too.

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?)

For fifteen years I worked in education and wrote in my spare time. I loved reading romance books for their sense of joy and escape and happiness, and I wanted to write one of my own. My first historical romance was rejected twice before I finally got the call from Harlequin Mills & Boon. Three attempts, twelve years and a lot of my non-existent spare time went into becoming a writer and it was worth every moment!

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

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey changed my life. It’s a historical mystery about Richard III and the Princes in the Tower and I read it in my early teens. It fired in me a passionate interest in history as well as a burning urge to know the truth about the mystery of who killed the princes. I became an ardent supporter of Richard III. He was probably my first historical hero. That book opened up a world of medieval historical romance to me. As a result I read We Speak no Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman and The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman and from there I read more and more historical romantic fiction. The rest really is history!


Nicola Cornick

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes hot historical romance and dual time frame romances for HQN Books and MIRA UK. She has been nominated four times for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Nicola lives near Oxford, and when she isn’t reading or writing she acts as a historical consultant for TV and radio and works as a guide and historian in a stately home. She also helps to train assistance dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Nicola loves chatting with readers by email and on Facebook and Twitter.

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