Pam Jenoff – The Timeless 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 Romance Through The Ages

Like the other wonderful Read a Romance Month writers, I am a huge fan of both Last Summer Final Cover imagereading and writing romance.  My books take on a particular spin in that they are historical, and usually set around war and strife.  My romances rise in a particular time and place, such as the Paris Peace Conference after World War II, the home front in the 1940’s or occupied Poland. 

Does this change things for the romantic elements of the story?  Well, yes:  the story arises in a particular historical context, which can sometimes affect how the relationship unfolds.  There are societal norms and conventions.  And the romance must survive not just the intersection of a woman and a man with lives and feelings and the complications that those bring, but also the monumental historical events that throw their worlds into upheaval.

Despite all of this, I LOVE writing romance in a historical context, and here’s why:  I get to take a woman who in normal times might have lived within the confines of a particular role and shake up her world, test her limits.  I get to put her in places that but for Kommadant's Girlhistorical events she might never have gone, and to meet the man she never would have met (or to see the one she already knows in a whole new light.) And by putting them through extraordinary circumstances. I get to bring them together with a deeper connection than would have been possible in ordinary times.

In the end, it is largely the same:  a girl and a boy trying to find their way to one another.  If I can make my readers see their own hopes and dreams in my character and root for love, now or a hundred years ago, then I’m happy.  Because after all, isn’t romance supposed to be timeless?

Pam recommends:

Fugitive Colors by Lisa Barr ( ) This is the story of painters in Europe during World War II, their desperate struggle to survive and create mixed with friendship, love and betrayal.

I also recommend anything by Kristina McMorris ( ).  Her new book The Edge of Lost comes out in November.

Questions for the Author:

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

I was at Book Expo in New York in 2007 signing books when someone tapped me on the shoulder and told me that my debut novel, The Kommandant’s Girl, was nominated for the Quill award for best romance.  My editor and I were jumping up and down and everyone in the Mira/Harlequin booth was hugging us.  Months later, we all returned to New York for the televised award show.  I lost, of course, to Nora Roberts, but the moment learning of the nomination was quite joyous.

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

I always feel joy at the beach (where I am right now, working on vacation!)  Or the shore,

Vintage Atlantic City

Vintage Atlantic City

as we call it in New Jersey.  My dad’s family is from the shore and my grandmother lived there when I was a child, so it takes me back to a happier, simpler time in my life.  My bucket list has only one item: to be an old lady writing at the shore.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

I lived in Krakow, Poland for several years and there is a trumpter that plays a call (the hejnal) on the main market square every hour on the hour.  Hearing that sound would take me back in time.

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?

My Very Best Friend by Cathy Lamb.  It was such a heartbreaking story of friendship and romance and loss and just reminded me what I aspire to do as a writer.

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.  I’m a big time fan of The Sound of Music.  Once I attended a conference at the Von Trapp house from the movie and had a ball writing in the massive library overlooking the lake. 

Pam is generously giving away  a copy of her latest book, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach. (U.S. entries only, apologies to international friends.)

Pam Jenoff credit Dominic EpiscopoPam Jenoff is the internationally bestselling author of eight novels, including The Kommandant’s Girl and The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach.  She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children where in addition to writing she teaches law school.

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