Day 28 Joanna Bourne – The Promises of Romance

Why I Celebrate Romance

I celebrate Romance because it makes promises we’re hungry for. Three promises.Black Hawk

The first promise is ­­ feelings. Big feelings. Small feelings. I’m not just talking about overwhelming love, though that’s the core of the story. Romance genre delivers friendship, loyalty, humor, affection, joy. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is as much about Elizabeth’s sisterly affection and loyalty to family as it is about falling in love with Mr. Darcy.

Romance tells us all these feelings are important.

The second promise is that small things matter. Romance isn’t just about the great drama on center stage. It unashamedly spins the fabric of everyday life.

Our hero and heroine may be engaged in desperate enterprise ­­ saving England from those desperate foreign spies, perhaps. But we also see them sitting at a table drinking coffee. That “White plates and cups clean-gleaming, ringed with blue lines” moment. We see our heroine choosing the right bath oil at the spa, shopping for soy noodles, cooking salmon on the the grill, or measuring out herb tea for a customer.

Romance has the genius of looking at both the exotic and the ordinary, the once­-in­-a-­lifetime and the everyday, the tremendously significant and the trivial. This may be why Romance can enter the intimate spaces of women and speak the detail that makes life satisfying.

The third promise is a happy ending. We enter a Romance novel knowing that the most dreadful realities will be excluded. In a Romance the villain is foiled, the scales of justice balance, and the hero and heroine ride away into the sunset and into a world made whole and meaningful by the very fact of their love.


Authors I love — Jeannie Lin, (The Lotus Palace,) Grace Burroughs, (The Captive,) Madeline Hunter, (The Accidental Duchess,) C.S. Harris, (What Angels Fear — this is first in a series,) Deanna Raybourn, (City of Jasmine,) Mary Jo Putney, (Dark Mirror — this is first in a series.)

Questions for the Author:

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

Leesee. Now this is maybe not the most daring thing I’ve done … but it does stick in my mind.

I was on a research vessel, doing marine microbiology sample collection, and we stopped in the middle of the Atlantic. I do not mean offshore Sunfish2somewhere with reassuring beach cottages on the waterline. I mean ­­ this was in the Middle of Nowhere, oceanicly speaking.

So naturally they stop the vessel and it’s everybody out for a swim. Everybody taking a long run and jumping off the side of this ship, down into the distant water. Which was probably full of sharks and krakens and worse things.

But such is the force of camaraderie that I went jumping off the side, too. And I went swimming around, having a good time, trying not to think about how I was in the middle of a huge deep ocean… and beneath me in the endless darkness, up from the depth arose, a sunfish.

Lookit. I used to catch sunfish in the pond on my Aunt Doc’s farm and they were little bitty fish the size of my palm. This was not that kind of sunfish.

This sunfish was SIX FEET ACROSS. And it was kinda raking at my feet and passing by and turning it’s belly to the sunlight and being curious.

It’s a good thing there was a ladder hung down the side of the ship so I could climb up because I would have dug holes in the hull with my fingernails otherwise.

So that was me trying my hand at being adventurous, and I will tell you right now it works better in books.

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 rogueknew?)

I always knew I wanted to tell stories. I used to line up my dolls and my floppy-­eared stuffed bunny and tell them long, rather rambling, stories. They couldn’t run.

I also told stories to my little sister ­­ she must have been about two at the time ­­ but she didn’t necessarily sit still for them.

So I always knew I wanted to be a storyteller. I didn’t ever think of doing it professionally though, not till I’d finished doing a lot of other things. For one thing, I was all the way grown up and far beyond grown up before I realized that not everyone walks around telling themselves stories in their head all the time. For another, I didn’t know you could make money selling stories.

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

I’m going to have to go with a nonfiction work here.

When I was eleven or twelve I read Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa. What I brought away from that book is that there are lots of different ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’, ‘moral’ and immoral’ depending on which culture you’re part of. There’s not one ideal, excellent pattern for a woman’s life.

This was a tremendously exciting and freeing idea for a young Joanna.

Joanna is generously giving away a print copy of Forbidden Rose. US readers only, apologies to international friends (entry form below).

joanna bourne, red shirtAfter travelling the world for many years Joanna has washed up to rest at the top of a mountain in the Appalachians. A two-time RITA winner, she grows dahlias and lettuces and invites hummingbirds to visit. Her dog and cat help her write. 


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