Laura Florand – The Great Victory of Love

August is Read-A-Romance Month.

Welcome!

I hope you’ll visit ReadARomanceMonth.com every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance. (Check out the calendar.)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

The Genre of Joy & Love

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When I grew up, our house was filled with Louis L’Amour novels. Following in my parents’ and older brothers’ reading footsteps, I consumed all of them. Recently, I got into the mood to re-read some of my old favorites, and this got me thinking about genres.

Genres tell a lot about our society. Genres develop because a certain story theme has struck such a chord with readers that they want more and more of them, they cannot get enough of that story. With Westerns, the theme is one of independence and resilience, courage, stubborn strength, and a fundamental code of honor. In Westerns, a strong, lone man can always, always make the bad guys extremely sorry they messed with him. (Or with her. Women as main characters are more rare in Westerns, but Louis L’Amour’s Cherokee Trail and Ride the River feature women as main characters, and women the bad guys mistakenly think are “just a little woman, easy to handle” and who show those bad guys the error of their thinking.) This story, of an individual whose determination and strength are sufficient to any battle, resonated with readers on a profound level. Hundreds of millions of readers.

With romance, the story is love—that two people who come from as far apart as it is possible to be, two random, isolated strangers, can find each other and find meaning in each other. They can fall in love and fight for that love against all odds, to form in the end a happiness that we, the readers, know will last forever. It’s no secret in writing a romance that the best way to create a powerful love story is to make the characters fundamentally opposed. They want incompatible things, they come from opposite classes, often opposite sexes, they think they are worst enemies and…slowly they find that under all those differences that should keep them apart, they are meant for each other.

Their hearts match.

They complete each other in ways they could never expect, and at the end of the book they are no longer alone, unloved and unloving, but have crossed over that great gap that seems to separate us all from each other at times, leaping across it, building a bridge across it, doing whatever is necessary to find love and happiness.

And the fact that the romance genre is such an extraordinarily popular one, on an international scale, shows what a powerful and universal story this is. The story of falling in love is vital to us. We love it. We can’t get enough of it.

We want it in all its shapes and forms. We want to see characters surmount different challenges, seemingly unsurmountable odds. We want sweet, cozy versions of this story and light, funny ones and dark, angsty ones. We want to see the would-be lovers struggle and go through that moment we all have at some point in our lives, when we think we WishUponJasmine_1400x2164will never find someone, we are doomed to be alone all our lives. And we want to see them win. We want to see them hit the mat still fighting and maybe we need that moment when we think they’re out for the count, all is lost, but no—they drag themselves back up for one more round and manage to pull out the greatest of all victories. That moment when two people say to each other:

I love you. And I will stay with you and fight for you all the rest of our lives.

As readers, we all know the sheer joy of that moment. The delight and relief of this great victory against the odds we all face in finding the person we can love and trust.

What the hunger for this story says about us and our society, I’ll leave you to decide.

But I don’t think it means we have our priorities messed up.

I think we have those priorities right where they should be.

So let’s hear it for romance. We love love.

Because we’re human. And love is at the heart of who and what we are.

Laura recommends:

Okay, if I start recommending all the authors I love, this will get endless, so I’ll confine myself to two books I read this past month: Audra North’s In the Fast Lane is a very fun, sexy romance with a—get this—race car driver heroine. (Yes, this makes me very happy. And the next one has a race car mechanic heroine!) And Serena Bell’s Turn Up the Heat, which is both very, very steamy and very tender and sweet at the same time. A second chance at love and life story, you might say.


Questions for the Author:

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

I’m a big fan of joy. ☺ I like to experience it every day. Reading a fantastic book, biting into something delicious and taking that moment to focus on it, walking early as the sun rises, cuddling with my daughter, laughing at the kitten…I think the simplest things are the ones where I feel the easiest joy. (When Bobbi asked me these questions, she asked if people could talk about something other than the birth of their child or their wedding, and that made me laugh, because, while I did feel enormous joy on both those days, I will say that joy was accompanied by hefty doses of, “Oh, my God, my world has just turned completely on its axis and what will it be like now?” Terror and joy can definitely go hand in hand!)

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

Oh, Paris, of course! Italy. Spain. Many, many national parks in the West (western U.S.) where we traveled as kids.

Chocolate shops. ☺ (Really. I love being in an artisan chocolate shop and talking to the chocolatier even more than people can probably guess from my books.)

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

My daughter’s laugh. My husband’s voice. There’s a way he says my name when he’s kind of frustrated but I know perfectly well he loves me anyway that just makes me very happy. I probably frustrate him on purpose sometimes just to hear that tone.

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?

Oh, wow, so many. It’s a sad week when no book has brought me joy.

Since we’re talking about books in a lifetime, and I have a child, I’m going to give a shout out to A.A. Milne and the two Pooh books. These are just unadulterated cozy, fuzzy, warm-bear feelings of delight from first word to last.

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)

I am terribly un-attached to popular icons, and I have to admit I do not have a Chris.

Now if we were doing Hughs, I might have a mention. ☺

Laura is generously giving away one copy of Once Upon a Rose (book 1 in the Vie en Roses series), ebook or print, to both US and international readers. (entries below)

florandLaura Florand is the international bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen Florand2Florand2books, including the Vie en Roses series (Once Upon a Rose), the Paris Hearts series (All for You), and the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief). Her books have appeared in ten languages, been nominated for RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book of the Year, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, and been recommended by USA Today, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal.

She was born in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman, a story told in her first book Blame It on Paris.  Now a lecturer at Duke University, she is very dedicated to her research into French chocolate. For a glimpse behind the scenes of some of that research as well as recommendations for US chocolate, make sure to check out her website: lauraflorand.com.

Buy Laura’s books:

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  • Melisa Safchinsky

    Ohh, interesting new recommendations. I’ll have to check them out!

  • Marissa Yip-Young

    Your book sounds interesting

  • Debbie_K

    would love to try your book

  • catslady

    You are new to me but that’s what is great about these kind of contests!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    You are a new to me author but I can’t wait to read one of your books.

    • Laura Florand

      I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • Patty Vasquez

    My mom was a teen-ager who was crazy in love with horses. She had a collection of horse books that were also romance stories my sisters and I grew up reading. We recently moved my mom to a smaller house which meant packing up and culling her thousands of books. She still has that collection of horse stories. We had a wonderful time reading the titles and remembering those early romances. Now I’m the keeper of those very special books.

    • Laura Florand

      Oh, keep them! When I was a teenager, I went through a bought of “giving away childish things”, and I gave away all my Trixie Belden books–the whole collection–and I have always regretted it. My mom tried to warn me not to, but I was stubborn and convinced I was all grown up now. 🙁

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Your life story sounds romantic. I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand and Greece!

    • Laura Florand

      Oh, you should! So beautiful!

  • Chanpreet

    I am somewhat in touch with today’s cultural icons, but also profess a weakness for Hughs, and Clarks, and Spencers.

    • Laura Florand

      You have good taste. 🙂

      • Chanpreet

        Why thank you! 🙂

  • jcp smith

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  • mariannewestrich

    Love learning about new-to-me authors! Nice to meet you!

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    Ah, Paris and Italy are joyful for me too.

  • Karen Mikusak

    Thanks for the giveaway. Would love to win!

  • Cindy A

    Yea, more new book recommendations!

  • Christyna

    “We love love” So simple and yet so powerful. Can’t see anything wrong with that! 🙂

  • Kareni

    I’ve read all of your books save for the latest one. Thanks for many hours of reading joy!

    Another western featuring a strong young woman is True Grit by Charles Portis.

    • Laura Florand

      Do you know I have only ever read Louis L’Amour? We had all 200 (not sure of real number) of his books at our house as I was growing up. My mother and four older brothers read them, and then so did I.

      And thank you for the kind compliment on my books! I hope you enjoy the latest, too!

  • Beth K. Vogt

    “I love you. And I will stay with you and fight for you all the rest of our lives.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely great quote!
    This is why I read — and write — romance. For this moment exactly!

    • Laura Florand

      I feel as if it’s the most vital declaration to the species. No wonder we love it!

  • Molly

    I love all of your books.

    • Laura Florand

      Thank you so much! <3

  • BookLady

    I love finding new-to-me authors and will definitely be checking out your books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on romance.

    • Laura Florand

      I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • Jennifer C

    I love your chocolate research, Laura! So fun! I need to do more of that. Also love finding another new-to-me author in NC! It’s graet that you focus on the joy in small things each day. I need to do that more. 🙂

    • Laura Florand

      The research is definitely a pleasure. 🙂 I recommend a bite of chocolate to help focus on the small joys. 🙂

  • Shyral Hyatt

    Finished your new book yesterday. It was sweet, angsty and wonderful.

    • Laura Florand

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it!

  • Angela H

    I would have to agree you with and what brings you joy. My husband’s voice makes me smile and hearing my kids laugh always brings joy to my ears

    • Laura Florand

      We’re very lucky, aren’t we, to have them? It’s nice to remember that sometimes.

  • The sound of anyone’s laughter makes me happy, but when a child laughs there is something magical about it. I can hear my children’s giggles when they were little just like it was yesterday. Joy.

    • Laura Florand

      Isn’t it beautiful?

  • Linda Henderson

    You are a new to me author but I like the sounds of your book so I’m putting it on my wish list.

    • Laura Florand

      I hope you enjoy! 🙂 Thank you!

  • Rashda/Mina Khan

    I loved you “Blame It On Paris.” So much heart! Congratulations on your new series…can’t wait to read it!

    • Laura Florand

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it!

  • kirsten west

    Agree with your views on joy, love, and romance 100%!

  • Cindy C.

    I’m planning a vacation to Paris and as “research” I am rereading all of your Chocolat books again. I love that you chose winnie the Pooh books for joy, I often go to the Manhattan library that showcases the real Winnie The Pooh and his friends just to say hi.

    • Laura Florand

      Have a wonderful trip! <3

  • Dawn Anderson

    I’m with you, I try to feel joy every day.

  • Aleen D

    I agree in true love, the hearts must match. My true love calls me his puzzle piece 🙂

    • Laura Florand

      Oh, that’s lovely!

  • Michele Hayes

    I love finding authors that are new to me. Thanks for the
    giveaway.

  • LaurieL

    My husband also grew up with Louis L’Amour books in the house. Thanks for an interesting essay.

  • Yes, let’s do Hugh. Jackman forever! Thank you for your words, always inspired and inspiring. And thank you so much for the international part of the giveaway!

    • Laura Florand

      Team Hugh. 🙂

  • Quinn Fforde

    This is probably the area that we have our priorities the most right in!

  • flchen1

    Laura, you are so very correct about joy and terror often walking hand in hand! And I’m right there with you on the Hughs! SO many wonderful ones! Many with delicious accents 😉 Thanks for the lovely interview!

    • Laura Florand

      Hughs are one of those joys of life. 🙂

  • Texas Book Lover

    Chocolate always makes me happy to…

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for your interview.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I really enjoyed your Vie en Roses series. Of course being a chocoholic helped. Thank you for sharing your post.

    • Laura Florand

      Thank you so much! <3

  • Kai W.

    I love dark chocolate. Happy days.

  • Mary McCoy

    Thank you for the book recommendations, looking forward to reading a race driver and mechanic as heroines

  • Sue G.

    I just loved Serena Bell’s Turn Up the Heat also! It was a fun, great read!

  • Pamby50

    I am now wanting chocolate. Never read Louis L’Amour but I do like to read a good western. Men & women who don’t suffer fools.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Hi Laura! It was so great meeting you at the literacy signing in NY! Loved your Amour et Chocolat series & now loving the Vie en Roses series! Thanks for the excellent post & for the beautiful romance in your stories!

  • Erin F

    thanks for such a fun post! I’d have to say that your books sounds awesome 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • rebecca moe

    LOL, Hughs! I’ve got one too 🙂

    I really liked Turn Up the Heat too. I read it while on vacation and was good for nothing for at least an hour after I finished. Just sat there, holding my ereader clutched to my chest 🙂