Virginia Kantra – Joy, Courtesy of Romance Novels

August is Read-A-Romance Month.


I hope you’ll visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

(Check out the calendar. And follow RARM on Facebook!)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

The Joy of Romance

Why do we read romance novels?  Why do we write them?  BecauCarolinaDreaming_cover-2se we want the joy that they promise, what Romance Writers of America calls the “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” We want more than happy endings, of course. We love the sizzle of sexual attraction, the give and take of couples negotiating intimacy and control, the fun of courtship, and great sex. 

But we really crave the joy, the promise of happy endings. 

Critics claim that romance novels are unrealistic, that romance readers are indulging in dangerous fantasy. But we know that’s not true. We understand very well that life is hard and relationships are work and bad things happen to people we love. Bad things happen in romance novels, too. But what romance novels give us is hope.

And when we need a respite from the bad stuff, romance novels offer not simply escape, but affirmation that things can get better.carolina

The joy comes from the “pay off” moments:

The “duh” moment. That moment when the hero recognizes that he can’t live without the heroine or the heroine realizes that she’s stumbled into love. Maybe he doesn’t identify those feelings as love yet, maybe she doesn’t know what she’s going to do about them, but the emotions are there and they’re real. This payoff tingles with surprise…and with possibilities.

The “yes” moment.  The declaration of surrender—to the moment, to passion, to each other.  We all know the joy of letting go and the power of seizing control. “Yes” sweeps us away and lets us experience abandon. 

The “aww” moment.  In our stories, the first two moments, the recognition of feelings and the declaration of surrender, can lead to further conflict and complications.  But the final scene leaves the hero, the heroine, and the reader with hope and confidence. Committed and victorious, the hero and heroine are ready to take on the world. And because we’ve shared in their struggle and their celebration, so are we.

That’s the ultimate payoff. That’s the joy of romance novels.

Virginia recommends:

I’m always discovering new authors through RARM (thank you!). I’ve already mentioned Kristan Higgins (RARM 8/26) as one of my go-to writers, and I love Laura Florand (RARM 8/4), whom I recommended last year.

I don’t see a lot of mentions of Harlequin’s category authors. So I’d like to recommend Brenda Harlen ( ), who writes warm, feel good, family-centric novels for Special Edition.  Check out her Engaging Garretts series.

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 2014-09-02 07.06.05

There’s a moment at the start of every family vacation when we drive over the bridge onto North Carolina’s Emerald Isle, when the land drops away to either side and the bridge arches like a gull’s wing and the smell of the sea air pours through the car windows, and you know you have the whole glorious week ahead…Pure joy. Every time.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached 2014-05-18 08.15.33 - Copyto a memory of joy.

Pretty much anywhere up and down the NC coast. Drinking a beer and eating steamed clams on the Intercoastal Waterway at Southport. Or riding the ferry. Or strolling the waterfront at Manteo.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

The yammer of gulls. And – every day – the sound of the door opening when my husband comes home. He clears his throat when he comes in the house, and I still get a tiny charge from that.

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?

Never forgotten: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, that I found in a bookcase in the London apartment where I was staying with my family the summer I turned fourteen. That story will forever be associated in my head with the smell of must and rain and the seeping loveliness of language. I think that’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

Most recent: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins. I love her whole Blue Heron series. Maybe it’s the resilience and sheer awesome that is her heroine, but this book just makes me happy.

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)

Oooh, tough question! Chris Evans is the physical model for Luke Fletcher in Carolina Man, and a young Chris Pine is the physical model for Josh Fletcher (Matt’s son in Carolina Home and a future hero).

Plus…Christopher Plummer in Capt. Von Trapp was probably my first crush after Prince Philip in Sleeping Beauty. So I can’t possibly choose!

Virginia is generously giving away any Dare Island book of two US readers’ choice, in e-book or MMPB format. They can check them out here.

VKantraNew York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra has written more than twenty-five books of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. Her stories have earned numerous awards including Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award, nine RITA nominations, and two National Readers’ Choice Awards. Carolina Dreaming, her fifth Dare Island novel, will be released in February 2016.

Virginia is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love.

Find her online:    |   Facebook    |    Twitter


Buy Virginia’s books:

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(Please note that the Amazon button and most cover images link to an affiliate page that supports Read-A-Romance Month. Thanks so much for your help!)

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  • Carol Opalinski

    I loved meeting you in NYC last month! Your workshop was awesome. I have loved the whole Carolina series and can’t wait for the next one, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Mad Dog and Annie. Good luck in the Maggies!

  • Melisa Safchinsky

    LOVE your post! Those are exactly the reasons that I read and love romance novels!

  • “a young Chris Pine is the physical model for Josh Fletcher (Matt’s son in Carolina Home and a future hero).”

    SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. I’ve been so hoping there would be a book for Josh!

  • Got so excited about Josh I forgot about the rest of the post. 😉 I know exactly what you mean about topping the bridge and the first whiff of sea air teasing your senses. Gets me every single time.

  • Carol Luciano

    I would love to read anyone of these books. Thank you for sharing through your post.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Kristan Higgins

    VK, you write some of the best books in romance! Loved reading this, and thanks for the shout-out! Can’t wait to see you in September!

  • Danielle DeBuono

    I need to catch up with your books!

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    We all love those pay off moments and the journey to get to them.

  • Molly

    I haven’t read of your books yet but I am getting one later today.

  • Love the beaches of NC! <3

  • sj1384

    I love beaches. All beaches, all oceans. Perhaps because I live in a land locked state…LOL One of the things I love about RARM is all of the new authors I am adding to my MUST read list. Love it!

  • jcp smith

    Thank you for the giveaway! I like Brenda Harlan’s books. I recommend Wife for One Year if you like Marriage of convenience and best friends to love plots.

  • Kareni

    I’ve enjoyed the first four Dare Island books and am looking forward to more! I’ve also read all of your Children of the Sea books. Thanks for the joy your books have brought me.

  • Susan Craig

    I agree with all of your reasons for reading romance novels.

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for sharing. Joy and hope and happiness are the reasons I read romances.

  • Lori R

    I really want to read this series!

  • Jennifer C

    As an NC native, I know exactly what you are talking about when driving to the coast and that first whiff of the breeze! I lived in Atlantic Beach for a few years as a child – time of my life! So happy to have found you and your books!

  • Beverly

    Ooh, I’m so excited for the next “Carolina” book – I love that series!!

  • Kathryn Trask

    Love your Dare Island series – very good on audiobook.

  • Bernadette Long

    I would love to read your books.

  • LaurieL

    Love the Dare Island series! I know what you mean about that joy of going over the bridge to the beach … feel that way as we make our way over Bonner Bridge to Hatteras Island.

  • Jane Bassett-Nelson

    I would love to read the Dare Island series! It sound great!

  • Marcia Boswell-Carney

    Virginia Kantra is an autobuy.

  • Diane Sallans

    I’m heading to the SC beach in two weeks – love these stories!

  • Karen Mikusak

    Thank you for the giveaway. Would love to win!

  • Sue G.

    I’ve been to Emerald Isle! Most people have never heard of it! It was a great, low key place when we went back in 1999!

  • Anna

    I am SO excited that Matt is going to get his own book! I loved him in Carolina Home.

  • Geraldine Pierson

    You are new to me as an author and your books sound good. Thank you for your giveaway and a chance to win.

  • Marcy Shuler

    Reading romance makes me happy. 🙂 I also like Brenda Harlen. I’ve found many authors to love through Harlequin.

  • Stephanie H

    Virginia Kantra writes consistently wonderful books. She is an excellent storyteller. Looking forward to more trips to Dare Island!

  • Michele Hayes

    I recently discovered your books and I love them. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Erin F

    hehehe… That’s it! The Duh, yes, and aww moments are exactly why I read romance 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • Quinn Fforde

    The NC coast is a magical place to visit. We love it, too!

  • Amanda Vincent

    Emerald Isle, NC is where my husband and I got married and we try to get down there every year to celebrate. It’s one of my favorite places to be!

  • kirsten west

    Love The Last Unicorn, too.

  • Patty Vasquez

    Suzanne Brockmann suggested I read your books last year. Yay! She did not steer me wrong. Bobbi Dumas put me onto Kristan Higgans’ books last summer, as well. Knowing that those were brilliant recommendations, I won’t hesitate to add Laura Florand to my list of authors to try!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Thanks for sharing and the author recommendations. You are new to me, I will add you to my TBR list.

  • Rhi

    Thanks for the giveaway! I ever got to the coast when I lived in NC, but it is a beautiful state!

  • Jennifer Schultheis

    Love your books, they always make me feel happy while reading. I wouldn’t be able to choose from the Chris’s either…too much hotness!

  • Pamby50

    Hi Virginia, New author. I just won a tote bag of books and Carolina Blues was included. Do I need to start at the beginning or can I start there?

  • Glenda

    The Chris choice is one of the hardest questions ever!

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Oh my!!! Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty was my first love too!!! And Kristan Higgins is one of my all round favorite authors!! I do love her Blue Heron series but also love the books that came before. I also love your books Virginia!! I love to read romance for the escape but also to discover new places around the world. I really want to visit North Carolina again as it’s been 25 years since I was last there.

  • donnas

    Tough call but I am going with Chris Hemsworth

  • Techgranny

    Thanks for the interviews.

  • Lisa Hutson

    All those moments are why we read romance. Thanks for sharing.

  • mariannewestrich

    Love your books! And I’m just around the corner from you in Virginia Beach. Come up and visit sometime! 😎

  • Dawn Anderson

    I’m also a big fan of Kristan Higgins. I love all of her books!

  • Beautiful post, Virginia! Duh, yes, aww…I’ll remember them!

  • Joan Varner

    I love your list of “pay off” moments. They are all true in romance novels.

  • Texas Book Lover

    Great list! I love Kristan Higgins Blue Heron series too!

  • LSUReader

    I enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing the joy.

  • Diane Blaser

    I’m also a Kristan Higgins fan! Nice to meet you!

  • flchen1

    Virginia, thanks for years of joyful moments–been enjoying your stories for years 🙂

  • Linda Henderson

    I’ve been reading Harlequin’s series for years, Romantic Suspense, Intrigues, Desires, Presents, and really just about all of them. I enjoy Julie Miller, Debra Webb and way to many more to name.

  • Kim

    Thanks for posting.

  • Martha B

    Your Dare Island books remind me of Kristan Higgins Bue Heron series. Both feature small town, great secondary characters and a main family (i.e. the Fletchers or the Hollands) which anchor the town. I;m really looking forward to Carolina Dreaming!

  • Kai W.

    I do agree that an HEA ending is what romance is about but it is also the journey that we readers would like to take with the characters.

  • rebecca moe

    I love all of your books…and your Chris choices 🙂

    Thanks so much for posting!

  • Mary McCoy

    I have got to get to the NC coast and get me some of that joy! 🙂

  • Emily Baucom

    I love the NC coast to, I live in NC but do not get to go to the coast all that much, so when I do go it is a lot of fun.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I live in the mountains of NC but I love to get to the coast as often as possible…they both definitely have their charms. The Outer Banks is my all time favorite beach area, so peaceful! So obviously, I love your books and can I tell you how excited I am to see The Last Unicorn mentioned. That is my all time favorite book (and movie) that I have read and re-read so many times over the years. I was only 4 or 5 when I first saw the movie but I think it may be my first obsession with romance. Then when I was older, my mom got me the book which quickly became my all time favorite book. Loved your post and thanks for the giveaway!