Nina Lane – The Joy of Emotion

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Celebrating Joy and Sadness

The joy of romance! It’s the reason we immerse ourselves in romance novels and watch break-the-sky-by-nina-laneromantic movies—so that we can swoon, yearn, fall in love, and emerge into the world again happier and more hopeful. All lovers of romance have delighted in that “happy sigh” at the end of a great movie or book, when you feel as if you’ve experienced everything the characters have and are reveling in that final moment of pure joy.

But we also know that romances have a darker thread. The hero or heroine suffers a loss, their worst fears are realized, their plans go awry, and there’s always a point when your heart drops like a weight because you’re convinced the characters you’ve come to love will never be together. And it’s those moments that make the happy ending all the more powerful.

I recently saw, and loved, the movie Inside Out. I laughed. I cried. I felt my heart squeeze and my throat constrict. My mind flashed with images of my childhood of the past, and of my children’s childhood of the present, which will—all too soon—be part of their past too. Throughout the movie, I experienced happiness, sorrow, yearning, melancholy, hope, and a distinct affinity with every other person on earth who longs to return to Goofball Island.spiral-of-bliss

Perky, energetic Joy is the driving emotion of eleven-year-old Riley’s mind. She tries relentlessly to keep Riley happy all the time, despite Riley’s move to a new city, a new school, and the loss of everything familiar. Anger, Fear, and Disgust play back-up singers to Joy’s lead, but none of them quite understand the role of quiet, blue Sadness. So when Sadness begins touching Riley’s memories, coloring them with sorrow, she is banished to the sidelines.

The adventure of Inside Out centers on Joy and Sadness’s journey to retrieve Riley’s lost Sadnessmemories (encountering along the way her imaginary childhood friend Bing Bong and thereby wrenching the hearts of parents everywhere). But for me, the lynchpin of the whole story is the moment when Joy discovers that Sadness was actually responsible for one of Riley’s happier moments and then enlists her help restoring Riley’s memories.

I love Sadness. I love her little blue figure, her confusion, her big glasses, her soft-spoken voice, her turtleneck, her raincloud, her attempts to help, her wailing, and her longing sometimes to lie down and have a good cry. I love the way she comforts Bing Bong just by sitting beside him and agreeing that “It’s sad” when people forget things that were once so important to them. She doesn’t try to cheer him up. She just understands.

I love that Sadness is so desperate to help Riley, and that she discovers her true purpose is to do exactly that. Not only does Sadness find her place in Riley’s mind alongside the other emotions, but Joy realizes just how important Sadness really is. Even happy memories are colored with a touch of sadness simply because they are memories. And by insisting that Riley has to always be happy, Joy was shutting out the very emotion that she herself also depends on.

Joy needs Sadness. Romance authors and readers have understood that premise all along—we can’t know what true joy feels like unless we have experienced sadness. It’s the reason we throw our characters into the “black moment” when all appears to be lost—because we know the darkness will only enhance the final joyful moment of love and light. And that makes our big, happy sigh all the sweeter.

Nina recommends:

I’m part of a collection of great authors called Ink Heart. It includes


Opal Carew   |  Megan Crane   |   Caitlin Crews   |   Violet Duke   |   Lauren Hawkeye

J Kenner/ Julie Kenner   |   Suzanne Rock   |   Melanie Shawn   |

Rachel Van Dyken   |   Zoe York

(and many more!) Check out the website at

Questions for the Author:

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

I studied Art History for a number of years at the University of California, and I moved to SistineChapelMontreal to work on my PhD at McGill University. While there, I took a summer trip to Italy, arranging to meet my parents who were flying in from California. We stayed in Rome for several days, and one of our stops was the Sistine Chapel, which came after first a long walking tour of the Vatican museum. After having studied Michelangelo’s art for so long, the moment I stepped into the chapel and the majesty of his paintings, I was overcome with a sense of joy that actually made me cry. I know I’ll return to the Sistine Chapel one day, but I also know that specific moment was once in a lifetime.

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

I recently attended a Shakespeare play at the American Players Theatre in Spring GreenPaulMasson, WI for the first time. Sitting at the outdoor theater nestled in the woods, nighttime descending, I was vividly reminded of a similar place in California that I often visited with my mother. It was the Paul Masson Mountain Winery, where a professional theater group used to perform a variety of Shakespeare plays every summer. It was a tradition for my mother and me to attend at least three or four plays a year, and I have extremely fond memories of driving up the winding mountain roads to the winery, where a crowd would gather to picnic, enjoy wine, and then sit in the outdoor theater to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hamlet, or any one of Shakespeare’s plays brought to life by a world-class theater company. I hope one day to share a similar tradition with my children and that the memories will bring them the same level of joy.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

I love the song Shalom, My Friend. Whenever I hear it, I get choked up from a combination of both peace and joy. (You can listen to it on youtube here.)

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?

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was both heartbreaking and joyful, but I think that’s the reason I loved it so much. For me, the theme of Inside Out is that joy can’t exist without sorrow, and Me Before You is a book that perfectly encapsulates that message through a love story like no other.

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, hands down! Funny, sexy, goofy, hot – what’s not to love?

Nina is generously giving away 1 Spiral of Bliss paperback trilogy set and swag pack and 1 Break the Sky paperback (domestic only, apologies to international friends). 

NinaLane-authorphotoNew York TimesUSA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances and spicy erotica. Originally from California, she holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she’s that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.

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