Day 28 Beverly Long – Inspired by the Good Guys

Celebrating Romance

I’m delighted to be participating in Read-A-Romance month. When people ask me if I write anything besides romance, I give them the look and Huntedrespond, “why would I?” I fell in love with romance novels the summer I turned sixteen. After my Sunday waitressing shift, I’d swing by the local flea market and use tip money to buy twenty-five used Harlequin romance novels for five dollars. Then I’d fill up my spray bottle of lemon juice and drag my lawn chair into the sunny part of my parents’ yard where I would spend the week lightening my hair and devouring all twenty-five books. The next Sunday the cycle would start over.

I developed some ideas about what I thought was romantic. In no particular order: taking a midnight trip to Paris on the CEO’s private jet; herding sheep in Australia alongside the sexy rancher; and cruising the Mediterranean with the Greek tycoon.

Give me a break. I was sixteen. It was the ’70’s.

Over the years, my definition of what’s romantic has changed. I’m no longer enamored by the money, the power, or what I imagined was a fabulous Australian—put another shrimp on the Barbie—accent. Now I’m hooked on nice guys. Now I think it’s romantic when the guy gets up early, even when he doesn’t have to, to warm up the girl’s car before she goes to work on a cold morning. It is romantic when he spends hours in the yard planting flowers, not because he cares, but because she does. And, oh so romantic, when his eyes still tell her that she’s the prettiest girl in the room.

I blame my husband for all of this. In our many years of marriage, he’s never once offered to rent a plane to fly me to Paris. But he regularly makes me laugh when I’m sad, holds me when I’m scared, keeps all his promises, and would give up his life to protect me or our daughters. It’s his spirit that I try to bring alive in all my heroes. He’ll be embarrassed when he reads this. He’s always dismissed his role in my writing as “happy to help out Stalked coverwith the research” in reference to the love scenes. But now you know the truth. He’s the perfect hero for me.

Romance novels resonate with readers because they’re about the wonder, the sheer beauty of finding the perfect partner who quite frankly, wouldn’t be perfect for anyone else. They remind us of the thrill of new love, the joy of babies, the comfort of enduring love, and the peace of growing old together.

They give us hope. And happy endings.

Really, why would I write anything else?



I’m a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, specifically her Travis Series (Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil and Smooth Talking Stranger).

Questions for the Author:

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

I am not normally terribly adventurous but on this particular occasion, my courage was bolstered by wonderful friends and strong margaritas. I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, celebrating a significant birthday, and the brochure in the lobby promised a tranquil experience in the bioluminescent bay. “We have to do it,” my friends said. “There are only a few places in the world where you can have this experience.”

According to the brochure, the luminescence, or the sparks of light in the water, occurred when physical movement displaced tiny microorganisms known as dinoflagellates or ocean plankton. That sounded interesting.

The brochure wisely left out the part that getting to the bioluminescent bay required navigating a narrow, pitch-black channel, in a 2-person kayak. At the dock, we met the others in our group and waded to our waiting kayaks. Like baby ducks, we dutifully fell in line behind the guide who had a small light affixed to the rear of his kayak. I think he assumed we were keeping up. But some of us were kayak-challenged and soon the light, that at best was bobbing and fading, was gone. Left in the dark, we baby ducks crashed into the mangrove trees that hung over the sides of the channel, crashed into other kayaks, and got so turned around that some of us were headed back to the starting point. Things seemed especially bleak after there was one particularly loud crash, some screaming, and then a quiet proclamation by a strange man with a lovely accent: “I think I’m bleeding.”

I could almost feel the water churning with flesh-eating, blood-thirsty predators. Sometimes, it is not a blessing to have an overactive imagination.

Finally, my friends and I arrived, more or less in one piece, in the bioluminescent bay. This was several years ago, when they still allowed you to get out of your kayak and swim in the bay. With every movement of our arms and legs, we left a trail of light in the water.

It was worth the harrowing trip down the dark channel. The baby ducks were creating magic!

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 grew up in a small town and my parents encouraged me to go to college so that I could get a good job. Good job wasn’t well defined but I can say Trappedwith confidence that I don’t think they were thinking romance novelist.

At the time, I didn’t know any writers and quite frankly, it never crossed my mind to study writing. I ultimately got a bachelor’s degree in human resources management, an M.B.A, and joined the corporate world.

In my mid-thirties, a friend asked me to attend the Romantic Times conference with her. She was interested in writing a romance novel and knew that I was an avid reader of romances. I willingly went along and went back the next year. By this time, I still wasn’t sure if writer was a good job but I’d made the mental leap to say that it was going to be my job.

I discovered Romance Writers of America and joined the national chapter and the nearest local chapter (Chicago North RWA).  Eight years and five manuscripts later, I sold a book to Berkley. It was a time travel romance, titled Stay with Me.  That book, as well as the sequel Here with Me, is still available.

I always credit my success to my early days in the Chicago North chapter. As a critique chapter, members would volunteer to bring in 20 pages of a manuscript to read aloud to the group in exchange for both verbal and written critiques. I listened to these very talented writers read their work and was amazed to learn that they had been writing for 8 or 12 or even 15 years and still were not published. It made me realize that I probably wasn’t going to be published in a year or two and that I was likely going to have to write several books before one would sell. The experience grounded me in reality.

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

I’m not sure if it changed my life but I know my resolve to write well was strengthened after reading several of Deborah Smith’s books. In particular, Sweet Hush and A Place to Call Home. She has the ability to create remarkable characters and her pacing makes reading her books very much like listening to wonderful music. Another book that I frequently reread is On Writing-A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King. He reminds writers that the words we choose are very important—that our choices impact our stories in many ways.

Beverly is generously offering two print copies each of Hunted, Stalked and Trapped to U.S. readers only (1 book each to six winners, apologies to international friends). Entry form below.

Beverly Long

After beginning her career writing time-travel romances, Beverly Long is thrilled to now be writing for Harlequin Intrigue. She loves creating stories that have exciting characters, complex situations, and satisfying endings!  Her books Hunted, Stalked and Trapped will be available in August, September, and October respectively as part of The Men from Crow Hollow series. Her April 2013 Intrigue, Secure Location, earned an Award of Merit in the 2014 Holt Medallion Contest in the romantic suspense category and was a nominee for the 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Intrigue.

Her most recent book, Knocking at Her Heart, is a contemporary romance.

Buy Beverly’s Books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway