Huntley Fitzpatrick – The Joy of Imperfection in Romance

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Joyfully Swept Away In Romance

We read them to be swept away, right? That’s what everyone says about romance novels:book-whatithoughtwastrue
Crack the spine and boom, you are whisked out of day-to-day life, to a world of dreams and romance, to encounter larger-than-life characters, to travel beyond the limits of space and time to unlimited imagination.

Oh yeah, there’s all of that—and thank heavens for it all. 


My own favorite moments in any romance (and I’ve read at least two a week since I was 13)? Always the awkward, unusual ones.  Not the long walks on the beach , the perfect proposal on bended knee with all the right words and a diamond as big as the Ritz, not the grand gesture.  In every romance I adore, there are particular moments when the helpless, hapless, hopeless humanity of one character  shows up—in front of or at the same time as the other character—they reveal themselves, warts and all (okay, not warts, as definitely not workable as a romantic condition) and there is laughter—and that cracks open the door to let in even more love.

So many examples!

that scene in Jennifer Echol’s LOVE STORY when the heroine has written a love story about a girl seducing a stable boy, and her real-life model for the stable boy (and rival) walks into class halfway through the reading.

The moment in Christina Haag’s COME TO THE EDGE (a nonfiction memoir) where she and her boyfriend kiss for the first time “for real” and pull apart to realize he’s tangled his toothbrush in her hair.

In my own book, THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO, when the hero comes home, exhausted, bmlt2to find the heroine unexpectedly asleep in his room—and then she wakes up and knees him in the groin. Laughter and mutual vulnerability are such key ingredients for romance to me that I can’t imagine connecting to a romance without them.

In my own life, I remember them with a grin and a fizz of laughter and delight—the first time my husband kissed me, on a beach, waves pounding, sun beaming down on us like a blessing—and then proceeded to list the ingredients of the tuna sandwich I’d eaten before meeting up with him. The time my first boyfriend and I slipped away together to a closet to kiss and then had to shrink further and further back against the wall as his mother came in, searching for abandoned parkas and such to donate.

Huntley recommends:

Sarina Bowen, Sarina Bowen, Sarina Bowen – ( )  I was completely swept away by her utterly romantic, edgy but so sweet NA series, The IVY Years…She’s one of those authors who gives me romantic goosebumps (yes, those ARE a thing) whenever I think of my favorite scenes in her books, someone I recommend to everyone whole loves a true romance between warm, wholly human characters who are utterly relatable (and hella hot). (Bobbi here ~ I’d just like to point out that this is at least the fourth time Sarina’s been recommended! Read Sarina’s RARM content here.)

Miranda Kenneally ( ) Her strong, believable, warm, relatable heroines find their match in her equally strong, tender, appealing heroes…and they’re all athletes, giving this armchair athlete a lot to cheer for vicariously, even beyond the lovely romances.

Questions for the Author:

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

There was a night in early August a long time ago when I was young and in New York City. I had my first well-paying job, and by some miracle a house-sitting gig at an uptown apartment. I’d met a boy from school for dinner, a friend I’d been secretly (or not so) in love with for years. Dinner over, we were walking uptown afterwards. The night was warm and starry, with a breeze from the river. I had a sundress on, and carried my sandals in one hand. We got to the window of a bookstore and he turned to me, gave me a kiss beyond the casual hello/goodbye ones we’d shared before. When I drew back, I noticed that his white shirt shone in the darkness, like the flash of his smile. I looked over his shoulder and saw something I’d never noticed about the NYC sidewalks…that at night they glistened with mica like a constellation of a thousand tiny stars. I wanted to keep the moment forever, at the same time I knew that the only way to do that was to remember it. And I have.

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

My grandmother’s cottage near Cape Cod…I’ve been coming to this little point of land in Massachusetts all my life. Hundreds of memories of being there—almost every one joyous  (how many places can one say that about?). I grew up walking the beach there with my father, hunting for jingle shells; I met and married my husband in that same little community; I took my mother there for her last birthday, made her a lobster roll and gave her champagne to sip as she gazed out at the blue, blue water and said “I’ve had a good and lucky life.”— a gift I treasure to this day. In our house, we have a small blue glass bottle full of glass from one of the beaches on that point of land—hundreds of grains of sand, each with their own sparkle, just like those memories .

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

I grew up in a little coastal town that had both a commuter rail station and a steam train for the benefit of tourists and locals who wanted to view the sparkling waters and the leafy maples of the Connecticut coast the old fashioned way.  On a lot of clear nights, I’d fall asleep to the distant sound of trains wending their way along the coast line, rattling or roaring by, announcing themselves with long, low, haunting whistles. To this day, the sound of a train whistle makes me feel peaceful, whether it is a crowded commuter train or a freight train, wherever I hear it, under whatever circumstances, it sounds like home to me.

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 have three middle-of-the-night bathtub books. Definition: Ones I pick up when I can’t sleep, need the comforting luxury of a bubble bath and a read that never fails to make me feel safe and happy. My three: THE NEXT BEST THING by Kristan Higgins (because Ethan…’nuff said), THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare (Nat Eaton, childhood crush, adult guilty pleasure) and PLAY DIRTY by Sandra Brown. I love Sandra always, but this book?  The ultimate hero in desperate need of redemption, Griff Burkett, who finds true love when truly down, out, disgraced and ruined. I cry every single time he gives her the necklace with the tiny diamond…because…well, you’ll see.

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)hemworth

I suppose the answer to “which Chris would you pick?” can’t be “All of the above”???  Okay, if you twist my arm…Hemsworth. Of course. Aside from his mild attractiveness and moderately fit body, he also seems to be a family man with a sense of humor—and that is my Kryptonite.

Huntley is generously giving away 5 copies of each book (but only two of THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO), as well as two audio versons of the second (WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE) and the third (THE BOY MOST LIKELY TWO) to U.S readers.

author-huntleyfitzpatrickHuntley Fitzpatrick, author of the award-shortlisted and highly-acclaimed MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, grew up dreamy, bookish and dedicated to romance in a small coastal town in Connecticut. She worked as an editor for contemporary romance and romantic suspense at Harlequin before returning to her lifelong love—writing YA. She is also the author of contemporary YA romances What I Thought Was True and The Boy Most Likely To. She lives in Massachusetts, USA, in another coastal town much like the ones featured in her books.

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