Amy Lane – Romance Matters

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A Study of Romance

The first romances weren’t boy meets girl and happy ever after.BitterTaffyFS

They were adventure tales, differentiated from epic poetry by the fact that the heroes, instead of being all about the heroics and the defeating the monsters and conquering the universe, like, say, Beowulf, suddenly got to have a more personal agenda.  So, King Arthur becomes King of the Britains, but his family life is a mess, and his knights all have competing interest in his kingdom and his best friend is tupping his wife.

Deal with that and the Green Knight, why-doncha, right?

So while there was a lot of joy in those original romances, the end-all, be-all of them was not that the boy and the girl rode into the sunset, happily ever after. In some of the original versions of King Arthur, Lancelot left Guinevere to repent, and defended himself from Arthur’s nephew Gawain in a series of manly contests that Gawain lost because Lancelot was righteous and repentant. So, no happy ever after for Gwennie and Lance, and if Arthur hadn’t died shortly thereafter in a battle with his son from an unfortunate indiscretion, I imagine things would have been exceedingly awkward at dinner.

So how did we get the idea of “romance” from these stories?

Because those moments between Lancelot and Guinevere mattered. Because the bellsfriendship between Arthur and Lancelot mattered. Because our joy in our human relationships, be they platonic, filial, romantic or divine, matter.  The true joy of romance isn’t necessarily in the idea of a happy-ever-after—it’s in the idea that the interactions between lovers are important.  Arthur and Guinevere’s betrayals and repentance changed the history of their nation. Lancelot’s perfidy and longing shaped the mating rituals and expectations of his fellow humans forever. When we talk about chivalry and courtship, our ideas have been established by this belief that faith between two human beings is as profound as the faith of a leader and his country. 

Whether it’s perfidy or fidelity or affection or cruelty, these characteristics in a human being are important. They give us sadness or delight, pain, or, yes, joy.

Of course, our definition of romance in literature has changed since then, and we can’t call something a romance without at least an off-page love story to feed our hunger for a happy-ever-after, or even a happy-for-now.  But that essential joy—that hasn’t changed. That knowledge that a small kindness, a quiet sunset, a communion of two hearts with the touch of hands can change our world for the better—that is the joy of romance.

It’s not just for royalty anymore. 

Amy recommends:

Rhys Ford writes this delicious blend of suspense and hot and sexy romance—her men are usually damaged (at least one of them!) and always memorable.  I count the hours until the next Rhys Ford book—can’t recommend enough!

Jordan L. Hawk writes a combination of paranormal and paranormal historical romance. Her characters are riveting—nobody is perfect but the men are always perfect together. My favorite is the Whyborne and Griffin series, but everything I’ve read from her has been funny, exciting, and wonderful. 

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

My oldest daughter went to school to become an animator. Two years ago she animated a five second mother’s day card for me—a simple thing with stick figures, but still, she put so much quirky charm into it. I can watch that five seconds of animation ad infinitum because… joy!

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

The Bay Bridge—both versions. I love the ocean, and I love San Francisco, and coming out of that tunnel onto the Bay Bridge just thrills me. Adventure is always around the corner on the Bay Bridge.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

The opening chords of Gypsy Biker by Bruce Springsteen—a bare, raw, harmonica riff—make me sob with just the absolute beauty. The song is tragic, and the intro hints at that tragedy—but it’s a gorgeous, sweet sadness. I can listen to that song all day.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip—my oldest daughter’s first reading experiences were awful. She loathed reading. But when she was eleven, I read The Changeling Sea to her because I’d loved it as a kid, and my oldest son—who has a communication handicap—came in to listen too. Even my third child got in on the act, and he was a baby. The Changeling Sea was followed by All Creatures Great and Small and The Bridge of Birds.  Things got too hectic to keep reading to them, but it didn’t matter—that simple, lovely book was sort of indelibly printed on their hearts, and they have loved reading ever since.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Augh! So… many… choices… Okay—my family says Chris Pratt, because AWESOME, but I’m going to pick Chris Evans, because I quite frankly thought Captain America was a self-righteous prick in the comic books but Chris Evans imbued him with humanity and a hard fought faith and a heartbreaking vulnerability. I mean, it took a super actor to get me to love that superhero, so bravo!

Amy is generously giving away one copy of Deep of the Sound for U.S. readers, and one copy of Bitter Taffy for international readers. To enter leave a comment here or on the Facebook post (find it here) or both by 11:59 pm CST on Sept 5.

27_IMG_8787-2Amy Lane has two kids in college, two grade-schoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

You can find her online at

Buy Amy’s books:

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*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to an affiliate portal that supports Read-A-Romance Month. Thanks so much for your help!

  • catslady

    You are a new author for me – thanks for this chance.

  • Marissa Yip-Young

    Nothing like the sound of an ocean.

  • mariannewestrich

    Camelot is one of my all-time favorite stories!

  • Emmel

    I love the idea that romance isn’t just falling in love, but the interaction between the lovers. It’s romance as an ever-evolving state. It’s a concept I’ll be pondering for a while.

  • Leigh Ann Wallace

    I fought it for years, thought it was “sappy” but I now love reading romances. M/M only. What’s up with that? I love Amy’s books, the relationships between the characters, the sweetness and reality of them.

  • Aye Lopez

    “The true joy of romance isn’t necessarily in the idea
    of a happy-ever-after—it’s in the idea that the interactions between
    lovers are important.”

    I totally agree with this!!

  • Deana Dick

    Love discovering new authors. Thanks for the chance to read your book

  • Debbie Fuller

    Thank you for the book recommendations and posting today.

  • Karen Mikusak

    I love finding new authors! Deep of the Sound looks like a great read.

  • Jennifer C

    I love finding new authors to me! Thanks for sharing your recommendations, too.

  • Helena Stone

    How wonderful that you’d reference King Arthur as the historical forerunner of our modern day romances. I’ve spend years buying and reading King Arthur books and this post was almost like coming home. (How did I end up with that profile picture btw? Haven’t used it on FB in ages, not to worry). Anyway, I’m not sure you need to know this but I would be an international commenter. 🙂

  • Kareni

    Thanks for a post that was both fun and thoughtful. Wishing you much joy with your family in your yarn filled crumbling crapmansion. Happy writing!

  • Do you love Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon and Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court? They performed my image of Arthur’s Kingdom, as well as Excalibur and the japanese cartoon The sword of King Arthur. Ah, thank you for this travel in the preferred myth of my youth…

  • Rhae Camdyn

    Something not mentioned, but NEEDS to be – Amy does fantasy like no one else. The Little Goddess series is so damned real that it could be set in our world at THIS time with very little change in the prose; the characters? Timeless. When you can paint with words across three genres then you can claim mastery,

  • amy lane

    Thanks all for reading– and I love how many of us have fond memories of Arthur, Gwennie, and Lance!

  • Connie Reynolds

    This is a new author for me, but given her recommendations in authors, I know I will love her.

  • Erin F

    That is an awesome explanation of “romance” 🙂 it can be wonderful but also bittersweet and despite it all, we still hang out for the HEA. Thanks for sharing!

  • Karen Ostrowski

    Amy, I love your work and your recommendations look great. I’m already a fan of Rhys Ford, now I need to go check out Jordan L. hawk! Thanks for the giveaway chance!

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Jerry Marlatt Pierson

    You are a new author for me. Thank you for your giveaway and a chance to win.

  • May

    I agree! 🙂 It’s not just love but the rest of the characters that made the romance compelling!

  • marypreston

    Awkward dinner moments indeed!! Loved the post thank you.

  • donnas

    Great post, its important to indeed show how much it all matters. Romance is truly for everyone.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Romance is definitely more than just falling in love. It’s the day to day, the tolerating of moods, the celebrating and the support. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Pamby50

    Great book All Creatures Great and Small. I want an HEA in a romance book but I recently read a book where it was like to be continued.

  • Carin Shaughnessy

    I agree that the true romance is in the interactions. It’s the humor, the soft touch when words won’t suffice, the getting to know one another that create the bond and keep it going. Looking forward to reading your books.

  • kirsten west

    Enjoyed your interview! Thanks.