I’m all for celebrating romance. Oh, not only the lovey-dovey romantic moments in life, although those are worth celebrating too. I’m speaking of romance novels.
A reader once wrote on a reader/writer email listserv that reading romances had reminded her that her real life romance needed attention. She expressed more eloquently than I ever could how her reading stopped a downward slide in her own relationship. Romance novels remind all of us of the excitement and thrill of falling in love. They help us see our partners with star-struck eyes again. If romance did nothing else for readers, this would be a good reason to celebrate it!
A husband wrote to me, telling me how, when one of my books is published, he buys it for his wife, then takes over caring for the children for the weekend so she can have a mini-vacation lost in her book. Is he cool or what? This woman has five children, a job, and goes to school. Finding time to read is almost impossible, but her husband found a way to give that to her. He liked that his children saw their mother reading too, and he takes joy in her excitement over having that time to refresh her mind and imagination.
I received an email from a reader last week. She thanked me for my books and said she was a fan—words that authors live for. Then she said her brother had died recently, and reading my books helped her survive the grief. I wrote back that I completely understood. A few years ago, the same thing happened in my life, and my reading and writing of romances provided a sanctuary.
I have read romances through family crises, children’s illnesses, grief and worry. I do not read them during bad times to escape into the worlds on the pages. That happens more often when all is well. When all is not, I turn to them because I find stories and characters that reinforce my own resilience, optimism and strength.
So I celebrate romance for the many roles it plays in readers’ lives, and think you should too.
I highly recommend the following authors:
Mary Balogh (read Mary’s Balogh’s essay from RARM ’13), Eloisa James (8/31), Sabrina Jeffries, Terri Brisbin, Lisa Kleypas (8/30), and Blythe Gifford.
Questions For The Author:
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I would have to say it was the decision to take a huge leap of faith and love, and adopt my second son. We adopted him internationally, so not only was it daring, it was also adventurous. And inspiring too. The first time he looked at me with those dark eyes is indelibly marked on my heart.
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?)
Since I always wrote, the “moment” came when I made a commitment to my writing, and carved out the time in a busy life to write regularly with publication as a goal. At that moment all of this changed from “always knowing” I wanted to be a writer, to KNOWING I was going to be a writer, come hell or high water. Once that commitment was made, the real journey began.
Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
Wow, this is hard. I guess one would be the first historical romance I read, by Roberta Gellis. It hooked me, totally. It also fired my imagination, and got me back into creating stories again. I suppose I would not have this career if I had not read it, so it definitely changed my life.
Madeline is generously offering five copies of The Accidental Duchess to US readers (apologies to international friends). Entry form at the end of the page.
Madeline Hunter is a two-time RITA winner and seven-time finalist, and has twenty-five nationally bestselling historical romances in print. A member of RWA’s Honor Roll, her books have been on the bestseller lists of the NY Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. Over six million copies of her books are in print and her novels have also been translated into thirteen languages. She has a Ph.D. in art history which until recently she taught at the university level. Madeline’s last romance, The Accidental Duchess, was published in June, 2014.
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