Tracy Solheim – Joy and Romance Win

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The Joy of My Keeper Shelf

I have a confession to make.  I’m a bit of a hoarder.  A hoarder of books, that is.  My office is crammed full of them.  Not only that but my tablet overfloweth with hundreds ofsleeping solheim digital titles.  Among the books lining the shelves are the classics—Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Thorn Birds—and, ahem, a couple hundred paperback romance novels that I can’t live without. 

Really.  I can’t.

Those books are my crack. My joy.  When I need to escape the real world for a time, I head to my keeper shelf.  There I’m sure to find old friends and familiar stories among the yellowed pages.  Comfort.  Happiness.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a Harlequin romance published nearly forty years ago—yeah, I still read Kerry Allyne’s Summer Rainfall from time to time—or Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster series.  Nor does it matter how many times I’ve read them.  Each new exploration of pages can still leave me breathless with the first kiss, devastated at the black moment and sighing at the resolution. When I need a fix, my books are right where I left them, waiting to help me find my contentment.

I can’t tell you how many times I get asked why I write romance.  “It’s so predictable,” back to beforethe literary snobs say.  Romance is simply the same trope beneath a different cover.  “You know how it will end before you even begin,” they argue.  I don’t need the multiple advanced degrees I’ve earned to give them my pat answer of “So?”  Life is unpredictable enough for me, thank you very much.  Sometimes, I like to know that love wins in the end.  I enjoy the feeling of knowing my protagonists are going to find their happily ever after.  Or sometimes, just a happy for now. 

In every romance novel, the characters grow internally before they can become a part of something bigger.  There’s joy in watching that happen on the pages of a book because we don’t always get to see that internal journey people make in real life.   More often than not these days, we see the sugar-coated version couples share on social media instead.  Real life has begun to imitate art and those who’ve decried the romance novel as “fluff” now want that in their real life.  At least in their online presence, anyway.  Can you blame them?

So, while I’ll dabble in the other genres once in awhile—thrillers and suspense are my current favorite—romance is my true love.  It makes no difference to me if the hero is a rake, a knight, a werewolf, a rancher, a billionaire, a quarterback or a bartender, they’ll all own my heart when I get to those two words that I both crave and dread:  the end.  Whether I’m savoring my “comfort” books or devouring a long awaited new title—Lisa Kleypas and Julie Anne Long, I’m trying to be patient—romance novels are still my drug of choice.  The one that brings me joy.

Tracy recommends:

I write sports romance so it stands to reason that my keeper/comfort shelf would not be complete without the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and the New York Blades series of books by Deidre Martin.  You’ll also find lots of small town southern women’s fiction by authors such as Kim Boykin. And if you like a hefty dose of suspense in your romance novels, don’t miss Kendra Elliot’s Callahan and McLane series. 


Questions for the Author:

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

There have been many moments in my life where I’ve experienced pure joy—I’m aware of how lucky I am to be able to write these words—but one particular moment stands out within my life as an author.  That was the day my agent called to tell me I’d been offered a deal for my debut novel and two as yet unwritten books.  I was overjoyed, ecstatic and walking on air.  My family, not so much.  This, of course, made me confused.  And angry.  Until I realized the real “joy” was that they weren’t surprised at all at the unexpected book deal.  They had believed in me when I really thought my writing for more than my own pleasure was just a dream.  They never questioned if my books would be published.  To them, it was all a matter of when.  Their unwavering belief still astounds me—and brings me great joy.  Their support is what keeps me going.  Well, that and the chocolate they hide in my office when I’m on deadline.

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

My “Happy Place” is the treadmill.  Not because I love to work out—exercise is pretty much a chore I endure so that I can remain upright at cocktail parties.  But when I’m on the treadmill with the earbuds in and the music cranked up, I can escape into my own fantasy world where books get plotted and my “To-do” list gets forgotten.  Best of all, nobody bothers me when I’m on the treadmill.  I’m pretty sure it’s my awful singing that keeps them away.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

I have low vision therefore my other senses are heightened. There are many sounds that bring me joy.  Topping the list:  the cork coming out of the wine bottle and the wrapper being removed from a piece of Dove chocolate. I’m easy that way.

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?

A book that holds a place of honor on my Keeper/Comfort list is A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.  It still brings me joy whenever I see the cover.  Every few years, I pull it out and give it a re-read and every time the feelings of hope and love and lust are still the same:  joyous!

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)

No question about it:  Chris Pine.  It’s the eyes.

Tracy is generously giving away three signed copies of SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY for U.S. readers, and a digital copy for one international reader.

Headshot final1Tracy Solheim’s creative writing career started in the fourth grade when she published her first book. It was a bestseller–mainly because her dad bought all ten copies. From there, she moved on to work for NBC Sports and then to writing reports and testimony for Congress. Today, Tracy is the author of internationally best selling contemporary romance novels featuring hot football players and the women who love them. She lives in suburban Atlanta, with her husband, two nearly adult children, and a horse named after her first novel: Game On.

Tracy online:

tracysolheim.com   |   Facebook   |   Twitter

Buy Tracy’s books:

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  • I think I would choose Chris Pratt – funny, self-effacing, cute

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      It was a tough choice with all these gorgeous guys!

  • Ruby Norwood

    Chris Pratt is a cute one, probably would be my choice!!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      He’s pretty adorable, Ruby. I love that he really gives back to his fans, especially the kids who are sick.

      • Ruby Norwood

        I admire anyone that helps out with the sick and especially kids!!

  • Danielle DeBuono

    Love Chris Pratt especially on Parks and Recreation!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      He was great on that show!

  • I’m a book hoarder too! 🙂

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I wonder if there’s a twelve step program? Or should we just all meet at libraries and celebrate our addiction? 🙂

      • I think it definitely calls for regular partying and swapping books! 🙂

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    umm….pine??? really….. think you wrote the wrong name…its….. PRATT

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Bobbi was cruel and made us choose only one!

  • Susan Craig

    I am trying to make the leap to hoarding ebooks – sure save space!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I know, but there’s something about the feel of a book in your hand, right? I have low vision, so ereaders have been great for me, but I still love the tactile feel of a book.

  • Molly

    I haven’t read one of your books yet but I am planning on it soon.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Thanks, Molly! Be sure and let me know what you think of them. 🙂

  • Jennifer C

    Oh gosh, I have a bunch of hoarded up books, too, and I am not much of a re-reader. It’s hard to let the good ones go! And there are so many good ones!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I wish I had time to re-read all the books I’ve hoarded. One of the downside to being on perpetual deadline is that you don’t get to spend the day reading. But, I keep those books just in case. 😉

  • catslady

    I’m a total hoarder – I love being surrounded by books. The only books I’ve reread are series that ar paced too far apart lol. Too many new books out there.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I know what you mean about the series being spread out. I want to re-read the entire Pennyroyal Green series before the final book comes out in September, but deadlines loom. 🙁

  • cheryl c.

    I am a book hoarder, too! My keeper books on my shelf and on my kindle just overflow! I don’t completely reread these keepers often because there are just so many great new books, but I do sometimes reread favorite chapters or passages.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      It’s nice to know they’re there, isn’t it Cheryl? Thanks for stopping by.

  • jcp smith

    thank you for the recs

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Let me know what you think of them!

  • Karen Mikusak

    Thanks for the giveaway. Would love to win!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      🙂

  • Kim

    Thanks for posting. I’ve read & enjoyed Judith McNaught’s Kingdom of Dreams. I think my keeper of hers is Almost Heaven. I also enjoyed reading SEP’s Chicago Stars series that you recommended as well.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      That one’s hanging out in her section in my office as well, Kim. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Debbie Fuller

    Since you admitted it, I’m also a sort of hoarder of books. I just can’t seem to let them go, as I have had an itch to go back and re-read them at some point in time because of the feelings I remember them generating. Or I’ll think of some thing and need to go back and look for the answer. Thank you for posting.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      So glad I’m not the only one! Thanks for stopping by, Debbie!

  • Linda Henderson

    I remember reading Summer Rainfall, it was on my keeper shelf too. Unfortunately I lost all my books in the tornado but I still remember that one. I have always collected the Australian/New Zealand authors and I do miss all those that I had. I actually do re-read my books.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Linda, my heart is breaking just thinking about losing that book! My parents threw away most of my books from that time period when they moved overseas. I actually was lucky enough to find it in a used bookstore years later. Okay, this sounds ridiculous even as I write this! Clearly, I have a problem!

  • Christyna

    Better to be “addicted” to romance novels than many other things, I think! Hoarding them is a lot cleaner than felines or junk mail! 😉

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      You know it, Christyna!

  • Kathryn Trask

    Who is not a book hoarder. I will donate heaps of books but there are many I won’t. I have whole series by R Carr and S Brockmann, SEP, J McNaught etc. Just want to look at them, I always think I will reread but… so many new books on the market!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I know, Kathryn, all those new books are killing me! But I’ll build more shelves if I need them. 🙂

  • Melissa Mcentyre

    love this Tracy–Book Lovers (hoarders) unite–there are some I can’t live without being able to get my hands on if I want to re read–Love your storytelling so much–Thanks & Good Writing

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Thanks for stopping by, Melissa!

      • Melissa Mcentyre

        glad to

  • Jennifer Schultheis

    A million time yes with Chris Pine! One of my happy places is also the treadmill, it’s the only place I can really think and I can only get on the treadmill if I have my music on. My husband can do it without the music, but that doesn’t work for me.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I’m with you, Jennifer! I need the music.

  • LSUReader

    Hubby has been after me to get rid of some of my mountain of books. I look at him like he’s speaking a language I don’t understand. It’s good to know there are other happy book hoarders out there!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      My husband would like to hold an intervention but then he’d be opening himself up to his own hoarding practices. 😉

  • Carol Luciano

    I’m looking at the bookshelves in my room and seeing the hundreds of books I have brings a smile to my face everytime. I find immense joy in reading. Thanks for your giveaway.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Glad to meet someone else who feels the joy. 🙂

  • mariannewestrich

    I’m a re-reader. Every time I head back into one of my favorites, it’s just like visiting old friends!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Exactly!

  • Pamby50

    I am a re-reader. Some I re-read in the months of the authors birthdays. Love Chicago. I was lucky as a kid to have lived near where they made Dove candies and ice cream. It was a treat and there was nothing better.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I love that you re-read on the author’s birthday month!

  • Kathleen Bylsma

    I love my books…stacks everywhere! Have my loaded Kindle but at home, it’s almost always-99% of the itme-books!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Thanks for stopping by, Kathleen!

  • LaurieL

    My husband gave me a hard time last week for the 100 books in my Kindle’s TBR file. We have a houseful of books and I have a Kindle full. I hoard books and he reads and keeps books one at a time.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Opposites attract! Thanks for stopping by, Laurie!

  • Erin F

    I’m with ya there! I’m officially a book hoarder too! I have a room filled with books and my kindle… it’s enormous! But I can honestly say that I reread, so my book hoarding is justified! Thanks for sharing!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Thanks for stopping by, Erin!

  • Joan Varner

    I have keeper bookshelves, as well. All of those books are old friends that bring me much joy when I can sit down and re-read one of them.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I feel the same way, Joan!

  • Glenda

    I just cleared out 3 bookshelves worth of books. Not one of them were romances, and I hadn’t even considered reading them for about 5 years – so I don’t feel so bad about letting my daughter sell them at a used book store. 🙂

    Love your moment of sheer joy – sometimes we are the only ones who do not have faith in ourselves.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Thanks, Glenda. I wouldn’t have made it to publication if it weren’t for my family.

  • Diane Sallans

    I think we would all benefit by concentrating on individual senses

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Mine wasn’t by choice, but it is crazy how hypersensitive my nose and my ears are now that my vision is fading. Thanks for stopping by, Diane.

  • Emily Baucom

    I keep almost all of my books, I have to really not like a book to get rid of it. I have boxes full and bookshelves full of books and a kindle and nook full as well but I love having them around.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      It’s a comfort thing for me too, Emily!

  • Bernadette Long

    My go to authors satisfy me as no one else can.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks books are like crack!

  • Dawn Anderson

    I’m also a Judith McNaught fan.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I wish she was still writing!

  • marypreston

    I must admit to finding great joy on my keeper shelf.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      The first step is admitting it! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Texas Book Lover

    I love a great sports romance and you’re the second one to recommend susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’ve got to try her books!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      You’ll love her books! I hope you’ll give my series a try also. 🙂

  • Sue G.

    I love your humor! Cork and Dove wrapper…LOL! I’m a book whore too. I probably have over 200+ paperbacks to read and almost 1000 ebooks. I understand the addiction!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Books, wine and chocolate are my thing! Thanks for stopping by, Sue!

  • Michele Hayes

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

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Good luck, Michele!

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I too have lots of books in my book cases (notice the plural) and on my kindle. A few of yours have found their way onto my kindle because I love sport romance stories. I LOVE Deirdre Martin’s Blade Series. I read her before I discovered SEP’s Chicago Stars books. Does that say something about me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Thanks, Eileen!

  • Chanpreet

    I love Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught! It was the first book of hers I read sometime in the 90s. I think it helped me fall in love with men in kilts and Scottish highlanders. There was just something so delicious about love in the midst of hate. I’ll never forget the ending of the book. It gave me chills!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Kilts are my weakness. Hm. That could be a great name for a book…

      • Chanpreet

        It totally would! 🙂

  • flchen1

    LOL! Glad you’ve made the treadmill into a happy place, Tracy! I haven’t quite gotten there yet 😉 I prefer a good walk in the outdoors when I can; the treadmill is far more convenient often!

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I prefer to walk outdoors, but I have low vision so I have to have someone walk with me when I’m outside. 🙂

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for your recommendations. I will try some.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Let me know what you think of them!

  • Deana Dick

    I too escape on my treadmill. I exercise while enjoying a great book that makes me forget the pain of exercising . I have not read any of your books, so I look forward to doing so.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      I hope you’ll like them, Deana!

  • Kai W.

    I don’t think I heard of Deidre Martin I will check out her books.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      Kai, they’re really fun hockey romances!

      • Kai W.

        I have been reading hockey romances a lot lately. I will pick a copy after the wedding.

  • kirsten west

    Great and funny interview! Glad to “meet” another book hoarder.

    • Tracy Solheim Books

      We’ve got to stick together, Kirsten. 😉