Vanessa Kelly – A Joyful Experience in 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

So Many Joys in Romance

Reading romance has brought me a great deal of joy. In fact, I would say that reading HIGHLANDERromance novels was, for years, generally a more joyful experience than my somewhat disastrous love life—at least until I met my husband! Between the pages I found not only joy but also myriad expressions of passion, intimacy, humor, friendship, and a commitment between lovers to overcome the challenges of whatever life threw at them. During some pretty dark times, those books provided comfort and bolstered my belief that a lasting and joyous love was still in my future.

And, sure, I got that it was fiction. I knew that my hero was not going to be a billionaire or a Navy Seal, and I knew that he would not be driving a high-perch phaeton and wearing skin-tight breeches and tall leather boots (unfortunately). But what I did get from reading romance was a reaffirmation of many of my core values, and the valuable lesson that I was worthy of love. For someone who often felt awkward and unlovable, that was an important lesson to learn.

Romance novels also pointed me in another joyful direction—my work. Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances were my first contact with the genre. They bred in me a love of all things Regency, which led to Jane Austen and eventually to graduate school and the study of British women authors of the Georgian and Regency periods. Even though I went on to other work after grad school, romance novels remained an integral and joyful part of my reading life. I loved mystery novels, historical fiction, and literary fiction, too. But romance novels were a touchstone, a way to fill the happiness well when it started to run a little dry.

And when it comes to writing romance novels? For the most part, that’s been a joyful Sykes_SummerattheShore_MMexperience too. I’ve met so many wonderful people in the romance community—writers, publishing professionals, and most especially readers. How can you not feel joyful when a reader takes the time to tell you how much she enjoyed one of your books, or how a particular book helped her through a tough period? It’s truly a joy and a blessing to know that I’ve been able to impact a life in so positive a way.

Finally, I have the slightly bizarre joy of sharing my love of romance with my husband, because we write contemporary romance novels together as V.K. Sykes. Working together and sharing so many of the same interests has deepened our relationship, made it more interesting, and added much value to our lives as a couple.

How strange and joyful to think that so many crucial elements of my life started years ago, when I cracked open the pages of my very first romance.

Vanessa recommends:

Debbie Mason’s Christmas, Colorado Series: Debbie writes wonderful small town romance—heart-warming, funny, with lovely emotion and wonderful couples. I think she’s fantastic.

Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas Series: OMG, can that woman write. The Iron Seas is amazing and epic, smart, sexy, moving, and unbelievably fun. The Kraken King is one of my all-time favorite books.

Erica Monroe’s Rookery Rogues Series: I stumbled upon Erica’s books when I was looking for historical romances that featured scenes and characters from London’s slums. The Rookery Rogues are gritty, sexy, and emotionally compelling books. Erica is a very talented writer.   |   RARM 2015 Calendar    |    RARM on Facebook

Questions for the Author:

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

When hubby and I won the Kindle Book Review’s Best Kindle Book Award for our book, HARDBALL. A lot of really good writers entered that contest and we’d thrown our hat into the ring on a lark. When we saw the results we both flew out of our chairs and danced around the room, yelling at the top of our lungs. Okay, I was yelling, Randy was just laughing really hard. It was just a lovely affirmation of our decision to write books together. And, hey, who doesn’t like to win?

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

Oxford University. Thanks to my advisor in grad school, I was able to spend a summer studying at Oxford. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place, imbued with so much history and atmosphere. I remember sitting in the gardens behind Magdalen College, taking a break from the library. It was a sunny day and I had the garden completely to myself. Over the trees, I could see the spires of the churches and colleges of Oxford. It was a perfect moment, and I felt entirely happy and entirely at peace.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Wind chimes, or when my husband laughs. That always makes me happy.

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?

THE BOOK OF LIFE, by Deborah Harkness. It’s an amazing book—a family history, a scientific thriller, an epic paranormal fantasy, a corking good adventure, and, ultimately, a wonderful love story. And it’s just superbly written. Every reading moment was sheer joy.

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)

A glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc after I hit my word count for the day. Sometimes the little things are just what you need!

Vanessa is generously giving away one copy of her latest VK Sykes book, SUMMER AT THE SHORE for U.S. readers, and one copy of her latest VK book, HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER, to international readers. To enter leave a comment on this post, on the RARM Facebook post or both (you can find that here) before Tuesday Sept. 1 11:59 pm CST. International readers enter through the form below.

vanessa-randy-005Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her sensual, Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Vanessa’s current series, The Renegade Royals, is a national bestseller.

When she’s not dreaming up plots for her next Regency historical novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

Buy Vanessa’s books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to an affiliate portal that supports Read-A-Romance Month. Thanks so much for your help!

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  • Kelly

    I think it is so cool that you wrote with your husband!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks, Kelly! It keeps us busy – and probably from murdering each other, LOL!

  • Sue G.

    You mention about your love life before Randy….I can’t even seem to think that…Randy has been here forever! <3

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Sue, that is so sweet! I’ll tell him you said that – he’ll be very pleased.

  • mariannewestrich

    I love the fact that you and your husband write together. What fun that must be!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      It is, Marianne – most of the time! LOL!

  • Molly

    I love your books

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thank you, Molly! <3

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    You turned togetherness into an art form.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      LOL! That’s a good way to put it, Elizabeth. Although sometimes it looks like a messy modernist painting!

  • catslady

    Love your historicals and need to try one of your stories written with your husband – thanks.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks so much, catslady!

  • Kareni

    What a fun post! And how neat to learn that you and your husband are writing together. Wishing you much joy in reading and writing!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks so much, Kareni!

  • Carol Luciano

    Congrats to you & hubby. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.Love your books Vanessa.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thank you, Carol!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I have read your historicals and need to give your contemporary books a shot.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Hope you enjoy them, Melissa!

  • Kim

    Congratulations on the Kindle book award.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks, Kim! It was so much fun.

  • alisha woods

    chris pine

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Always a good choice!

  • Karen Mikusak

    It would be beyond awkward trying to write a romance novel with my husband. I don’t know how you do it!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      I write all the sex scenes, Karen! He refuses to touch them.

  • Lisa Hutson

    I think its amazing that you and your husband write these books together! I have never heard of a couple writing anything together. Congratulations on your successes!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thank you, Lisa – that is so sweet of you!

  • Debbie Fuller

    With all these great authors posting here and the author recommendations, I have no idea how or when I’ll be able to get to them all. What a great problem to have!

    Thank you for posting here. I’ll be looking for your books.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      I hear you, Debbie! So much book goodness – thanks for stopping by!

  • Texas Book Lover

    I love that you and your husband wrote together…My husband and I would not have the patience good it.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Sometimes we do get on each other’s nerves!

  • Dawn Anderson

    I loved The Book of Life.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Such an awesome book, Dawn.

  • Kay Carlson

    I love that you and your husband write together! I am such a fan of your books!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Aw – thanks so much, Kay! <3

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    Oh if only my husband could write and I could write. A bit envious here.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      We’re pretty darn lucky, Dorothy!

  • “But what I did get from reading romance was a reaffirmation of many of my core values, and the valuable lesson that I was worthy of love”: so true and important! Thanks so much for your words!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thank YOU, Marinella! It’s a true privilege to be able to write books.

  • Kathryn Trask

    Writing with your husband must be a lot of fun – and work! I so want to read the Meljean Brooks series – had it in my sight for a while now.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      The Iron Seas is an amazing series, Kathryn. PS. One of my heroes is named Trask!

  • Sheryl N

    Love your historicals, but I haven’t tried any of the VK Sykes books yet. Great post

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks so much, Sheryl!

  • Krysten Mich

    Loved the post/interview and of course all your contemporary and historicals! 🙂

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Krysten, that makes me so happy – thank you!

  • Julie Ford

    I love your books and those written with your husband. Patiently awaiting the next in the series.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      And we love you, Julie! *hugs*

  • Pamby50

    Lovely picture of you and your husband. That picture of Magdalen College’s garden is beautiful. I could see myself sitting there appreciating the peacefulness.

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thank you, Pamby. Oxford is so beautiful. I really want to go back.

  • Ren

    My hubby’s laugh is one of my favorite sounds as well. I haven’t read any of your books yet but they are on my tbr list. I’ll have to move them up. Thanks for sharing

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thank you so much, Ren!

  • Erin F

    oooh, this really brought it home for me “reaffirmation of many of my core values, and the valuable lesson that I was worthy of love”. Soooo true! This is another reason why I think that reading, especially romance, is so essential for everyone to read! Thanks for sharing!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks for stopping by, Erin!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I’m definitely looking forward to checking out your books and I think it is so awesome that you write contemporary romance with your husband. That has got to be a great experience and what a wonderful way to spend time and share together. I’ll make sure to check those out asap. Thanks for the great post and giveaway!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks so much, Courtney!

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    omg so excited that tons of authors I love are all on the same day!

    • Vanessa Kelly

      Thanks, Diana!

  • Emmel

    I never realized Vanessa Kelly and V.K. Sykes were connected. You learn something new every day….

    • Vanessa Kelly

      I’m tricky that way, Emmel!

  • Christina Riggs

    It’s so sweet that you and your husband can enjoy writing together.

  • infinitieh

    Ah, wind chimes… when I buy one, i have to made sure that it sounds right first. Of course, it may still drive the neighbors crazy, depending on their preference of notes. I do have a small one in my kitchen – no bothering the neighbors there.

  • Gretchen Miller

    How awesome and lovely

  • marypreston

    I’m a a sucker for a Regency read. My go to..

  • T. Rosado

    I’m not really drawn to regency romance, but I really enjoy contemporary romance. I have your Seashell Bay books on my Kindle. I’m happy a third one is coming out.

  • May

    I love the book of life too. I love the relationship between the characters especially. Complex and interesting!

  • Carin Shaughnessy

    I, too, love the sound of wind chimes. I would love to have that contraption the aunt had in the movie Twister. Now, that was awesome.

  • kirsten west

    Enjoyed your interview. It’s neat that you and your husband write books together.

  • Carlene Reeves

    Oxford sounds beautiful. I would love to go there some day.

  • Jennifer C

    I love how you and your husband write together under V.K. Sykes.

  • Diane Sallans

    sounds like you and your husband have a great working relationship

  • Jennifer Nicholson Agolino

    You are a new author for me.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I was the same way before finding my hubby. Romance books were so much better than most of the guys I dated. I too love the sound of wind chimes. I wish my husband laughed more. Thank you for your essay. It warmed my heart. I love that you are able to write with your husband.

  • Glenda

    One of these day’s I’m going to have to pick up Meljean’s books – I keep hearing how wonderful they are. I’ve read the other ladies and loved their books. I do think it’s great that you and your hubby work so well together!

  • Joanna Moreno

    I’ve never read Georgette Heyer but now it’s a must!

  • Michele Hayes

    Georgette Heyer was my first romance read, too. I love her, and you. Thanks for the chance to win.