Day 7 Shana Galen – Real and Vital Romance

How I Celebrate Romance

Readers sometimes ask me if I base my heroes on real life. As much as I’d like to say yes, the answer is no. My husband is not a romance hero. Yours probably isn’t either. That’s because romance heroes are fiction. Real men (and women) have real flaws and annoying habits. Their breath doesn’t smell good in the morning. They don’t always remember to lower the toilet lid. And sometimes they snore so loudly you have to smack them to get some sleep.

Additionally, real life just isn’t romantic. We authors skip over the boring parts of our characters’ lives—the parts where they fold laundry for an hour or make school lunches or type numbers in a spreadsheet. We skip to the fun parts—falling in love, taking a fabulous vacation, great sex, a gourmet dinner out (or in). But those things aren’t part of the every day grind.Love and Let Spy-300

Still, does this mean that we can’t celebrate romance every day? That we can’t make the daily grind romantic in some small way? No, my husband isn’t a romance hero, but I can find something romantic in so many things he does every day. He calls me to tell me he’s on his way home from work. He shows me a funny post from Facebook. He takes my car to be washed. He may not ride up on a white stallion to sweep me into his arms, but he shows me he cares in a thousand little ways. The little things add up, and if we pay attention to them, can bring romance into our every day lives.

I like to celebrate romance through other avenues. I look at the people around me and see so many ways romance is celebrated. My grandparents were married seventy-two years before my grandmother passed away in May of this year. On the last day of her life, as she lay in hospice care, my grandfather asked her for a kiss. They were affectionate until the end. What about those couples on a first date? I love watching them when I’m out at a restaurant. They’re so adorably awkward. There’s an older couple who comes to the Starbucks where I write on Saturday mornings. Even though there are plenty of chairs available, she always sits on his lap and they read the paper together. It’s sweet, even if it’s also a little over the top.

Critics of romance often say romance novels give women unrealistic expectations. That’s insulting to women’s intelligence; moreover, it belittles the importance of romance in all of our lives. It’s not a silly idea that only exists in fiction. It’s real and vital and we can finds ways—big and small—to celebrate it every day.

Recommendations: I’ve read so many great debut authors this year!

Some of my favorites are Gina Conkle (Meet the Earl at Midnight), Jessica Peterson (The Gentleman Jewel Thief), and Sherri Browning (Thornbrook Park).

Questions for the Author:

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

After my fiancé and I broke up, a friend studying in Leeds, UK invited to me to come and visit her. I jumped on a plane and went. I’d never traveled anywhere by myself, but I refused to be intimidated or scared. I figured out planes, trains, and buses all on my own, and my friend and I had a blast. It was an adventure, and it made me feel strong and independent again, something I needed after the end of a long-term relationship. (You can read a little bit about this in Shana’s 2013 post.)

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 had stories in my head, and I had always been told I was a good writer. But one day in January 2000, I sat down and started to write a book. I wasn’t just playing around. I was serious about it. I’d never considered that I could write as a profession, but once I made that leap, I knew I wanted to be an author more than I’d ever wanted anything else. It took years before I could afford to write full time, but all the hard work was totally worth it.

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

It was definitely Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I tried to read it at the beginning of my Senior year in high school and couldn’t get past the first chapter. And then I tried it again at the end of the year and couldn’t put it down. That novel introduced me to the Regency period, which is what I write about now. I fell in love with that time, the fashions, customs, and language. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if not for that book. I’m so thankful I gave it a second chance.

Shalen is generously offering a print copy of Love and Let Spy. Entry form below. (Domestic only, apologies to international friends.)

Shana Galen Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says, “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Shana’s Books:

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