Tracy Solheim – Joy and Romance Win

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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

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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:

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