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


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