Deeanne Gist – Toasting the Joy of Romance

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

The Joy of Courtship, The Secret of Forever

In grade school my chum demonstrated the basics of life to me with Barbie and Ken Little girl with booksdolls, then followed up with a copy of The Joy of Sex (because I, of course, didn’t believe her, and she was determined to prove she wasn’t lying). Quite a memorable afternoon, that one. So when I discovered Read-A-Romance-Month’s theme was the Joy of Romance, well, my mind did an instantaneous word association and took a swift flight back to those incredulous moments when I huddled over The Joy of Sex with my chum, reeling with disgust, positive that my parents had never done that!

Now, I will be the first to concede that if romance and sex could be classified within a taxonomy rank, they might be of the same species, genus and family, but they are decidedly not of the same class. Not by a long shot. In the right circumstances, they both bring joy. They both produce a delicious physiological reaction. And they both induce intimacy. But sex is a perk, an instant gratification kind of thing. Romance lasts a lifetime.

What makes it last a lifetime? A lot of work, that’s what. Not at first, of course. That’s RARM-Gist_Courting Couplewhy I love to write about the courtship process in my books. Courting is so fresh and exciting and full of polka dots and moonbeams. That weightlessness in the tummy. The chills when your hands brush accidentally. The gravitational pull that latches on like an undertow and drags you in no matter how much you fight it.

Turning that joy into a true happily ever after, though, requires deliberate choices. A whole slew of them. Last year my parents celebrated sixty-two years of marriage. So when I was writing a scene in my latest release, Tiffany Girl, where an elderly character was, with some authority, to reveal the secret of a happy marriage, I called my dad and asked him what the secret was. He didn’t even hesitate with his answer.

“It’s when your spouse loves you more than he loves himself.”

I hung up the phone and sat in silence for a long time after that. So simple, and so TG_final-400complex. 

With that, I raise my glass and give a toast to the Joy of Romance, along with a pledge to love my spouse more than I love myself … and to show it in all the ways that count. Including a few I learned that long ago day hiding in my school chum’s closet with a flashlight, burrowed between the hanging clothes and wondering at all that life had in store.

Deeanne recommends:

In no particular order:

My I-buy-without-reading-the-blurb author is Pamela Morsi ( If she writes it, I love it.

An up and coming author to keep your eye on is Kellie Coates Gilbert  ( ). Her heroines are smart, savvy and not to messed with. Her IHATF Cover_FINALlatest two titles have incorporated much more romance, which I love.

I’ve been told I’m an adrenaline junkie. I like the Bourne movies. I’ve binge-watched every season of 24. And I love, love, love romantic suspense. I just discovered an A-MAZ-ING suspense series, The Associates, by Carolyn Crane ( Now, I feel like I have to give a disclaimer here because my reading tastes are very broad and vary greatly from what my readership would probably deem appropriate. So if you’re one of my readers, beware: some very steamy content in Ms. Crane’s books. But if you don’t mind that kind of thing, the suspense is fantastic, the plot lines fresh, the heroes wonderfully unique.

Questions for the Author:

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

I experienced sheer joy when that last kid got on the school bus. Of course, all the other RARM-Gist_Question1mothers were crying. But me? I did cartwheels all the way down the street (once the bus was out of sight and the kids couldn’t see me, of course). Why? Because I’d birthed four babies in four years. Think about that. Multiple cribs. Multiple car seats. Multiple kids in diapers. Double-decker strollers. And never a moment of peace. Until that very moment. Ah, what a slice of heaven it was.

Now, they’re grown and are spread out all over the country and I experience sheer joy when they are all underneath this roof. One of the great ironies of life, right?

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

We don’t have four seasons in Houston. Only two. Everything is either green or brown. Either ridiculously hot or rainy and cold. So my fondest memories are the ones of me sitting on a porch, sharing a cup of coffee with my man, in a temperate climate, while overlooking fall colors and a beautiful lake. Pure, unadulterated joy. And guess what? We bought a slice of property in South Carolina and plan to build us a porch (and a house to go with it) overlooking beautiful trees and a lake. Can. Not. Wait.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Songs do this for me. Most especially patriotic songs and certain hymns. I cannot get through God Bless America or The Star Spangled Banner without being so overcome with emotion that I have to lip sync the ending because no sound can come out. And Amazing Grace? Well, ’nuff said.

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 couple of years ago, my sister and dad hiked 600 miles across Spain on the Camino de RARM-Gist_Question4Santiago. My dad was 82 years old at the time. When they got back, my sister, Linda Alvarez, wrote a book about it. That book allowed me to sit on her shoulder and experience the entire hike. We lost Dad about this time last summer. When I really miss him, Camino Notes: Walking the Way With Dad brings me comfort, laughter and great joy.

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. The Sound of Music is one of my all-time favs.

Deeanne is generously giving away 5 hardback copies of the first book in her 1893 Chicago World’s Fair series, It Happened at the Fair. (US only, apologies to international friends.)

deeDeeanne Gist has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her original, light-hearted historical love stories. Published by Simon & Schuster, Deeanne’s books have earned national awards, rave reviews and a growing, loyal fan base.

Gist’s awards include National Readers’ Choice, Book Buyers’ Best, Golden Quill, Books*A*Million Pick of the Month, Romantic Times Pick of the Month, Award of Excellence and Laurel Wreath.

She has a very active online community on and on Facebook.

Buy Deeanne’s books:

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