Julie Ann Walker – Joy, The Essence of Romance

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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

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Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with a Feel Good Book

Joy.  It’s such a simple word.  Just three little letters.  AnHell Or High Water Cover Finald yet it describes a mammoth emotion.  One that transcends mere “happiness” or “cheer.”  Joy is bone-deep and at the same time ephemeral.  It’s a pervasive, spiritual feeling that reaches all those delicious nooks and crannies of the human experience, filling you to the brim with a euphoric sense that for now, for this moment in time, all is right.  All is good.  There is hope. 

When I sat down to write this piece for Read-A-Romance Month, I kept coming back to that word: joy.  And I began to think perhaps I’ve been wrong about why so many people read romance.  You see, I always assumed romance was a publishing juggernaut because people love the idea of love.  And they relish following along on the characters’ journey to finding love because that journey is both an epic adventure and a story as old as time.  It’s scintillating, exciting, and yet familiar.  It’s something wonderful that we can all imagine or remember or relive.  Who wouldn’t want to do that over and over again?  But then I thought, “Wait a minute.  The journey to finding love isn’t what makes a romance a romance.”  Take Nicholas Sparks for example.  His books are all about the journey to finding (or reclaiming) love.  Yet they are not romances.  Why?  Because they don’t have happy endings — or, at least, not all of them do. TOO HARD TO HANDLE - FINAL COVER

That’s when I had the “aha!” moment.  It’s when I realized people read romance not only because they are in love with love, and they enjoy following along on the characters’ journey to finding love, but also because they know when they reach the end of the book, there will be a happily-ever-after.  There will be a sense that, for those characters, all is right.  All is good.  There is hope.  There is… joy. 

Romance, at it’s very essence, is all about experiencing that heady, potent sense of joy.  Romance novels make us feel good.  And I’m here to tell you, “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!”

Julie recommends:
The authors who write books that make me feel good are…

Questions for the Author:

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

My husband and I were hiking along a deserted sCIMG3694ection of the Great Wall of China.  We were utterly alone in a way I don’t think we’ve ever been alone before or after.  The only sounds were the bugs buzzing in the trees and the occasional call of a mournful bird.  The only sensations were the hot sun beating down on our heads and the dry breeze slipping between the surrounding mountaintops.  It was profound… that sense of aloneness.  And then something amazing happened.  Drifting up from the valley below came the sweet notes of a pipa – a traditional four-stringed Chinese instrument.  And for some reason, hearing that melody in a place were no melody should be, I suddenly felt this overwhelming sense of being part of something greater than myself.  Of being part of humanity.  Of being part of the world… the universe.  I was tiny and insignificant and, at the same time, huge and overwhelming.  I was alive.  I was living.  I was a sentence in the story of the Earth.  And it was a joyous sensation. 

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

There’s an abandoned train bridge at the end of a long walking trail near my hometown.  As a teenager, I used to gingerly hop from railroad tie to railroad tie until I’d reached the center of the bridge.  Then I’d sit and let my feet dangle above the slow-moving water, pondering all things large and small.  I’d dream big dreams and worry about little worries.  But no matter what, I always felt refreshed, renewed, and reinvigorated on the walk back.  That place was/is a place of contemplation, of simplicity, of joy.   

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

The sound of my husband playing guitar.  I fell in love with him one lazy summer afternoon while sitting and listening to him strum a six-string Martin.  And nineteen years later, it still brings me joy to hear him play.

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?

Slow Heat in Heaven by Sandra Brown.  It’s the first full-length romance I ever read and the one that got me hooked on the genre.  I’ve read many wonderful romances since, but I will always remember my first time.  *wink*

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)

Chris Pratt!  I love a funny man!

Julie is generously giving away a signed copy of THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR anthology and my newest release, HELL OR HIGH WATER.

Julie Ann Walker Author PhotoJulie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find Julie on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. 

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