Anne Gracie ~ The Various Joys of Romance

August is Read-A-Romance Month.


I hope you’ll visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

(Check out the calendar. And follow RARM on Facebook!)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

The Joy of Being a Romance Writer

It’s August, winter downunder. You’re a romance writer, sitting hunched over a heater, 1SpringBrideMedpounding away on a keyboard. Your deadline is looming. . .

Joy? No, panic. What made you think you could ever make this story work?

You pause, mid-scene, realizing you need to do a small piece of research. You go on-line. . . Two hours later you remember why you went on-line in the first place and realize you haven’t yet looked up that fact you needed or advanced your word count at all. But you have bought some brilliant stuff on line.

You assuage your guilt and boost your energy with chocolate, which everybody knows is a kind of health food.

Joy? No, chemicals — antioxidants and flavonoids increase your serotonin levels, but part of that high is also sugar, caffeine and fat.


Gorgeous Australian cover. xo

You get back to work. You get this email from a reader: “Ur story has totally reminded me of wot it is like to have the hots for someone. I didn’t know I had forgotten!”
Joy? Yep. I love reader letters.
You’re in the zone and the words are flying, but you’re a worrier — is this story too predictable? Then out of the blue, your heroine says something you didn’t expect or plan, it takes the story in an exciting new direction, and you’re off and running again.
Joy? No, it’s not finished yet and could all end in tears.
You’re on the last few chapters, the deadline is screaming, you have no idea whether you winter bridecan make this book work, and then. . . it all starts to come together. You write on, half in disbelief, half in excitement as bit by bit, it all comes together, not quite as you planned it, but even better than you’d hoped. And certainly better than you expected a few weeks ago.
Joy? Maybe. And tinged with anxiety because you just might be ever-so-slightly crazy by now, and imagining things. Probably your editor will hate it.
You get the book in.
Joy? No, relief.
You wait for your editor’s feedback.
And you wait. You clean your house, which had become a disgrace.
Then you get the news — the book has gone through.
Joy? Yep. And relief.
So the book is through, your house is clean and it’s August which is romance conference time downunder. And this year the Romance Writers of Australia national conference is in Melbourne, where you live.
Your romance-writing friends start to fly in from all over the country. You pick them up from the airport in your little car, wearing a hot pink feather boa — the car, not you. A car wearing a hot pink boa is easy to spot, and puts a smile on my friends’ faces.
Joy? Yes indeedy. So good to see my friends.
We arrive at the conference hotel. It’s FULL of romance writers. In the hotel reception area, in the bar, in the elevator there are shrieks of excitement, calls of hello, and everybody’s hugging and grinning and talking nineteen to the dozen. And hugging. And grinning.
Joy? You bet. RWAustralia conferences are occasions full of joy.kelly+and+rosie
Why? For a start it’s because we’re scattered all over a country that’s the same size as mainland USA, but with a population a little bigger than Florida, so most of us only ever communicate on line. And so when we do get to catch up in person — joy!
The conference is like one big party–interspersed with workshops. It kicks off with a fancy-dress themed cocktail party on the Friday night. Most people wear some kind of costume and it’s a great ice-breaker. And first thing on Saturday morning, at the welcome speech, people are presented with their first sale ribbons, and what an occasion for joy that is. Saturday night is awards night — more joy. And so it goes.
Joy? Absolutely, positively, one hundred percent.
Anne recommends:

The new-to-me author I glommed this year was Sarina Bowen, starting with The Year We All Fell Down.It’s the first book in “The Ivy Years” series, about young people in their first years away at university, separating from their parents, growing up, and forming relationships. The Year We Fell Down blew me away and I loved it so much I glommed the rest of the series. The books are about strong heroines, interesting and strong-but-flawed heroes and that very intense, formative and re-formative time of life. Highly recommended. (See Sarina’s RARM content here.)

The other series I devoured isn’t new, but was new to me. It’s the Tairen Soul series, by C.L. Wilson, and it starts with Lord of the Fading Lands. It’s fantasy and romance and adventure and a battle between good and evil — with the lines often deliciously blurred. Again, a wonderful, strong heroine.

Questions for the Author:

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

If we’re leaving aside the big life-changing event kind of joy, one thing that springs to mind is when I collect my dog from the boarding kennels where I leave her when I go away. Her joy is utterly infectious, and I always take her for a long walk around the lake, where she leaps and bounds exuberantly through the long grass like a little dolphin, exulting in the freedom, and racing back every few minutes to check I’m still with her. It’s a small event, but always utterly full of joy.

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

The beach, especially at dawn, when the sand is clean-washed and there’s nobody else there. It’s peaceful, and beautiful and you feel that anything’s possible.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

The sound of magpies carolling in the morning always makes me smile. There’s such unfettered joy in the sound — it’s magic. (I’m not sure whether all magpies sound like Australian magpies, so you can listen to the sound here — a sort of gurgling happiness. It’s not quite the joyous dawn chorus, but it’ll give you an idea.)

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?

I love Eva Ibbotson’s “Magic Flutes” — it’s a romance (of course) with rich and glorious writing, superb characterization, and where goodness and heart triumph in such a wonderful way. It’s one of my all-time favorite comfort reads and always leaves me feeling so happy. (I love Eva Ibottson! Thanks Anne Gracie. xo ~ Bobbi)

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

1ChristopherPlummerPick 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)

I’m going for Christopher Plummer, circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp — and this photo.

Jennifer is generously giving away two of her books; one for US readers, and one for international readers.

1annePicmedBecause of her father’s job, Anne Gracie spent her childhood and youth on the move. The gypsy life taught her that humor & love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are.
Anne started her first novel while backpacking solo around the world, writing by hand in notebooks. Since then, her books have been translated into more than sixteen languages, and include Japanese manga editions, which she thinks is very cool.
Her books have won a number of awards, and five were RITA finalists. A former president and lifetime honorary member of Romance Writers of Australia, she promotes adult literacy, flings balls for her dog, enjoys her tangled garden and keeps bees.
Find her online:    |   Facebook    |    Twitter
Buy Anne’s books:

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