Christyna Hunter – The Joy of Differences

It’s Read-A-Romance Month.


Visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about The Joy of Romance. Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo   |   RARM 2015 Calendar    |    RARM on Facebook

Today is Romance Librarian Day! We love librarians. They can have such a great influence on what we read. In the case of romance, it’s a great opportunity for librarians to let readers know they won’t ever be judged for their choices. Thankfully there are some pro-Romance librarians in this world, and today we have three! If you’re a librarian who loves romance (or a reader or writer who knows one who does), then I wanted to let you know there’s a facebook page where pro-Romance librarians share thoughts about publishing, libraries and romance.  You can find it here. Please share!

Snickers (Not the Candy!)

We all know that snicker. You know the one you get when you proudly respond to someone’s question about what you are reading. Romance, you say. It used to make my skin prickle when I got that look, the condemnation.

I got that look when I was younger, too. Not because of what I read but rather what I had.smart_girls_read_romance_0715 I was born with a (mild) form of cerebral palsy. To make a long story short, I was made fun of as a child by my peers for having the disability and later for the “hi-tech” portable typewriter that I used in class. (This was before laptops and iPads, folks!) Thanks to physical and occupational therapy, the outside symptoms lessened, although did not disappear. So as an adult, I’ve gotten that snicker because I still acknowledge my disability though to the outside world I often don’t fit the stereotype.

Through all of this, all the snickers and labels and challenges, I found books gave me an outlet to worlds where the underdog won. There were places where people accepted other people for who they were, even if it wasn’t in my neighborhood or classroom. Books gave me hope and pulled me out of some dark depths.

In college, my roommate randomly showed me the book she was reading, Julie Garwood’s Saving Grace. (You never forget your first.) Bam! Talk about serious love at saving gracefirst read. The heroine and hero were flawed and vulnerable. But they found love despite their flaws and came out better people for it. And it wasn’t just the couple’s story. Their romantic love flowed outward, transforming and uniting two warring tribes. If love did that, what other possibilities were there? I began to see the world a bit differently. There were possibilities. There were ways to get along despite differences.

And although I will always be indebted to my friend for that initial introduction, the place that took that original juicy bite and made it into a feast for me was the public library. Once I finished Saving Grace, I tried the college library. And although it had substantial information, its pleasure reading section was two bookshelves set off to the side of the lobby. So on weekends, when I was home, I visited the local public library and checked out books by Garwood. Once I devoured all of her novels, there was a buffet of other authors I discovered such as Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown. Each story brought more opportunity, more joy.

Later the public library helped me learn about writing romance novels and about self-publishing. The result was the independent publication of two of my novels (2005 and 2009). Although I didn’t become the next Nora Roberts as I had originally planned, the publication experience allowed me to learn a lot about the romance genre. In fact, I have learned so much that I have created and given presentations on the genre to different librarians over the years. It’s amazing how many librarians are not fully aware of the genre’s depth and scope!

Now that I work in the library world, I find less snickers and more acceptance. And even if there is a snicker or two, it’s now an opportunity to educate rather than rebuke. Now it’s pretty much pure joy for me.

Christyna recommends:

All the authors I listed above:

Sandra Brown   |   Julie Garwood   |   Nora Roberts

Also LaVyrle Spencer and Catherine Anderson.

I’ve just started reading and enjoying Tracee Lydia Garner.

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. DSCN0641

I adopted a dog last year. I had dogs while growing up but haven’t had one on my own. There was a moment about a month ago where my pooch and I were at a friend’s house for a doggie playdate. My dog and hers just ran around the yard, free and happy as can be. I felt my dog’s joy and it was pure!

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

There’s a nature preserve I used to go to a lot. It’s so peaceful in the sense that whatever happens there on a daily basis does not involve humans. It just is. I hold dear some great memories from that place.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Baby’s laughter. I don’t hear it enough. Uncensored, full-on joy.

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?

A Man Like Mac by Fay Robinson. Just such a lovely but realistic story where the hero has a spinal cord injury. A story full of so many possibilities when the characters think there are none!

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)

Christopher Plummer (aka Capt. Von Trapp) There’s something about a “tough” guy who mellows thanks to a women’s influence and love. Maria and the Captain are perfect examples of that. What a yummy love story—and the music ain’t half-bad either!

Original Me Pic by SAT_2013Christyna Hunter has surpassed all perilous predictions, despite being born with a disability. She is a freelance writer, has self-published two romance novels and has worked at a non-profit organization. Currently she works with Loudoun County Public Libraries, reads romance novels in her free time and prays often to her writing muse. Visit her site at


  • Oh, Christyna, we have the EXACT same taste in reading! *Saving Grace* is one of my all time favorites. I’m currently reading Sandra Brown’s *Tough Customer* and I soooooo want to be LaVyrle Spencer when I grow up. 🙂 You’re doggie is adorable!

    • Christyna

      I don’t like to brag but I think my doggie is adorable, too! LOL! Spencer, Garwood, Brown…just some of the best, for sure!!

  • mariannewestrich

    My first exposure to this wonderful genre was a Kathleen Woodweiss book that I “found” in my mother’s bedroom when I was 13. Loved it then and now!

    • Christyna

      Yep, we rarely forget that first one! 🙂

  • Katherine Cummins

    After dipping my toes in the waters of romance novels in middle school, I too was re-introduced to the genre by my best friend in college, who also handed me a Julie Garwood (my first was Ransom, and God only knows how many times I’ve re-read it since). I quickly sped through the rest of the Garwood library, and myriad other authors since.

    • Christyna

      Sounds like me, too! Garwood is a good introduction to the genre.

  • Sheila M

    I still love Saving Grace.

    • Christyna

      I try to re-read it every once in awhile.

  • Patty Vasquez

    I read romance novels when I was in high school because I was such a tomboy, I thought I would never have a love life, quite honestly. (Boys didn’t always appreciate a girl who could throw a ball or swim better than they could.) Romance novels were my escape and my love story. Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and the early Harlequin Romances provided my fictional boyfriends. I did eventually have my own romance story; I even have a hero who supports my book buying habit.

    • Christyna

      Yes, these novels helped me get through tough years, too. Glad you found your HEA!

  • Pamby50

    Great post. Still love Julie Garwood. Every year I always re-read one of her books. Last year was The Prize. I love that you mention LaVeryle Spencer. She couldn’t write a book fast enough once I discovered her.

    • Christyna

      The Prize was good. Can’t say there’s a bad one of her romance novels. And I was sad when Spencer retired.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    What an amazing journey you have traveled. I found romance as a young pre-teen and read all that I could get my hands on. I don’t have the confidence of being able, or creativity, to write one so I am very impressed of all you have accomplished. My pup gives me lots of joy too!! My pup looks a lot like yours.

    • Christyna

      Aren’t our pups just one of the best things ever–including romance novels, of course!

  • “Their romantic love flowed outward, transforming and uniting two warring tribes. If love did that, what other possibilities were there? I began to see the world a bit differently. There were possibilities. There were ways to get along despite differences”. Beautifully said! Thanks so much!

    • Christyna

      Thanks, Marinella. What I wrote was my truth.

  • Linda Henderson

    My wake up call to real romance was Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and The Flower when I was a teenager. I had been reading Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill and I was ready for something a little more so I picked it up and I was hooked. I haven’t re-read it in a while but I probably will soon. As I got to my late teens I also discovered Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney which lead to my love of romantic suspense. In my book bag right now I have an old copy of The Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt, it’s my favorite of hers. I read a lot of different genre’s but I do love the romance of reading and the romance in reading, if that makes sense. I am enjoying this month of romance and it’s nice to share new and old favorites. I look forward to reading the rest of the entries for the month.

    • Christyna

      Glad you found RARM! Enjoy your journey of discovering new authors!

  • Karen Mikusak

    Your dog is such a cutie!

    • Christyna

      Thanks, Karen! I think she is, too!! 🙂

  • Kim

    Libraries are a great resource in discovering an author’s backlist.

    • Christyna

      I totally agree, Kim. I would not have learned the amazingness of the genre without the library!

  • LSUReader

    Happy Romance Librarian Day. I love your puppy story. Pets bring so much unconditional love and joy into our lives.

    • Christyna

      We should make such an official day, Romance Librarian Day. 🙂

  • Quinn Fforde

    Thank you for this insightful post. Your dog is precious.

    • Christyna

      Thanks, Quinn!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Tank you for sharing and posting.

    • Christyna


  • Kai W.

    I don’t think I can disassociate a dog and the song Little Wonders by Rob Thomas. I went to Rob Thomas concert and he told the audience how Little Wonders was inspired by his dog.

    • Christyna

      I did not know that story. I will think about that the next time I hear that song. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dawn Anderson

    Your essay was great. And, what a cute dog!

    • Christyna

      Thanks, Dawn!

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    When I was 11, my local librarian recommended that I might like to read novels by Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Elizabeth Peters and Mary Stewart. I started with Mistress of Mellyn and The Shivering Sands and have been hooked on romance since.

    • Christyna

      Another librarian to the rescue! 🙂

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Thank you for sharing your story, Christyna! I haven’t read anything by Julie Garwood, but she is named on a lot of people’s lists.

    • Christyna

      Her older stuff has some true keepers!

  • Sue G.

    Nice write up. Thanks!

    • Christyna

      Thanks, Sue!

  • cheryl c.

    I am another Julie Garwood fan. There are quite a few of her books on my “keeper” shelf.

    • Christyna

      Agreed, Cheryl!

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you for sharing your story. I love finding a new author at my library and being able to catch up with all of his/her titles.

    • Christyna

      After I read all I could find of Garwood at the library, I ended up discovering Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts there, too. Libraries are the best!

  • Diane Sallans

    Library’s are the best thing ever created and Librarians are some of my favorite people!

    • Christyna

      I think so, too! 🙂

  • kirsten west

    Such a cute dog! I have two and they fill me with joy everyday.