Sarah MacLean – Sharing the Love

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

Quick note: Back in the spring when I started asking authors if they’d like to take part in RARM, there were a few who said yes, but knew there was a chance they wouldn’t be able to. Jill Shalvis was one of those, and she let me know a good while ago she wouldn’t be able to participate. I’ve been so busy I wasn’t sure what to do about it, but Sarah MacLean graciously stepped in to write a post. (THANK YOU SARAH!) Enjoy. xo

The Joy of the Ones Who Get It

Two decades ago, 16-year-old me scribbled on some silly piece of paper for some long-forgotten high school career-day project that my dream job was “romance novelist.” I rogue not takenthink it is possible that I was half rolling my eyes at the dumb project–I was a senior in high school and I was obstinate as hell and I didn’t want to be told where to apply to college or what to major in when I got there. So romance novelist it was. No one would tell me what to do to get that job. That job wasn’t realistic.

It still isn’t, is it?

Romance novelist. What a weird job. When I tell people what I do, I often get the raised eyebrow. The wide eyes. The shocked “Really?”

But sometimes, I get a giant grin, and that “Really?” is more like “REALLY?!” And I know I’ve found someone who gets it. I’ve found a reader of romance, who cut her teeth (because it’s usually a her) on McNaught and Deveraux and Garwood and Phillips. And I know that the conversation won’t include the phrases “you mean like Fabio?” or “Like, smut novels?” And I won’t have to smile and laugh and hope that it ends quickly. Instead, I’ll be able to talk about love stories. I’ll be able to tell them about the new Lisa Kleypas (it’s great) and ask them if they’ve read Victoria Dahl or Louisa Edwards or Alisha Rai (they should) and compare favorite Sophie Jordan novels (Sins of a Wicked Duke, forever and always) and pull out my phone to order their favorite books there, on the spot.10428803

I’ll be able to talk about this world that we love, filled with larger-than-life heroes and even-larger-than-that heroines, and crazy plots and teary black moments and sigh-worthy endings. Because that’s what happens when romance lovers get together. There’s an overflowing sense of excitement at finding a kindred spirit. Someone who knows exactly why you love reading so very much.

I don’t know really why I write. Certainly not because it comes easy, the words flowing like warm honey the way they do for some. And not because it’s fun, as there are few things lonelier than staring at a blank page on a warm summer day, when you’d much rather go to the park or the movies or anything but this. And it’s not because I “can’t imagine doing anything else,” as so many others say. I can easily imagine doing other things.

Sure, there are days when it does come easy. When the words do flood the page and the story arcs and the characters motivate and the plot thickens and the love—because there is always love—blossoms. But truthfully…it’s not because of those days, either.

I write romance for the same reason I read romance–because every once in a while, I meet a person who says “Really?!” instead of “Really?” And because, in those moments, I get to experience the most valuable things in our world. Things like community and excitement and friendship and joy.

Sarah recommends:

Lisa Kleypas for making me wish I could write paintings like she does (see Lisa’s post)

Victoria Dahl for writing contemporaries that feel both sexy and important

Louisa Edwards/Lily Everett for her smart, romantic big city chef romances and her smart, romantic small town romances

Alisha Rai for writing erotic romance better than anyone out there

Sophie Jordan for the bathtub scene in Sins of a Wicked Duke (and everything else she writes)

Questions for the Author:

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

I love big, outrageous movies. I love them with a giant tub of popcorn that I will never finish and a diet coke as big as my head. I love them in big, stadium-seats inside black as midnight movie theaters. And if there are explosions and outrageous kissing in ridiculous places, all the better. I adore them. And I have absolutely no problem suspending all disbelief and giving myself up to the joy of the adventure. There are a lot of these movies that make me tremendously joyful. Ocean’s 11. Casino Royale. Iron Man. Sherlock Holmes. I know, I know…these aren’t the best movies in the world, necessarily…but I love love love them. The movies bring me joy. A lot of it.

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

London. I try to get there once a year, so I can wander through the old streets and eat Cornish pasties and sit on the bank of the Serpentine. It’s my very favorite place in the world, without question.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Lawnmowers in my parents’ neighborhood on Sunday mornings. It’s the sound of summer and, more importantly, summer vacation.

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 had the very good fortune to recently read a debut historical romance that is coming in Spring of 2016 — How the Duke was Won by Lenora Bell. It brought me joy because it reminded me of those big old romances from when I was a kid–far reaching and romantic, emotional and smart, with a brilliant heroine and a swoon-worthy hero. It should be on everyone’s to read list for March 2016.

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)

Oh, Chris Hemsworth for the muscles, Chris Pratt for the silliness, Chris Rock for the brilliance and Christopher Plummer for 8-year-old me who dreamed of being a problem like Maria.

Sarah is generously giving away A Rogue By Any Other Name and One Good Earl Deserves a Lover to one lucky US winner (apologies to international friends). To enter, leave a comment on this post or on the Facebook page post (you can find that here). Comments must be left by 11:59 pm CST on Sept.5. 

Sarah MacLean photoNew York Times & USA Today bestselling author Sarah MacLean wrote her first romance novel on a dare and never looked back. She is the author of historical romances and a monthly romance review column at The Washington Post, and the recipient of back-to-back RITA Awards for Best Historical Romance. Sarah regularly speaks about the romance genre, its history and its intersection with feminism in both academic and consumer settings. A lifelong romance reader, she is the creator and moderator of the 2500 member strong Old School Romance Bookclub on Facebook. Sarah lives in New York City.

Learn more at or visit her on Facebook.

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