Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!
If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!
Romance Makes Me Happy
Romance makes me happy. It’s as simple as that. Romance, not to be confused with a love story, will deliver the happily ever after we all crave. Love stories can be beautiful, but so many of them are tragic as well, leaving me an inconsolable mess. When I have a moment to read, relax, and simply enjoy myself, I turn to a romance novel because I want to feel good. Getting to the happy ending is never an easy or painless path, but I know I will get there, that the journey will be satisfying, and that the author won’t leave me brokenhearted in the end. When I dive into a book, which I do a lot, I want to come out of it feeling good.
The same is true for me with cinema. I’ll go for romantic comedy, action, adventure, thriller, science fiction—really anything that doesn’t leave me miserable at the end. I live in France, and French cinema, while not limited to this, is notorious for ripping away the hard-fought happy ending at the last possible moment. After two hours of drama and emotional torment to finally get to a good point, a senseless drive-by shooting comes out of nowhere to kill off one of the lovers, or both. Flash flood—one drowns. An avalanche! While this kind of sudden, heart wrenching turnaround is fine for some people, it’s not my idea of a good time. On our very first date, my now-husband took me to see a film called The Barber of Siberia. He’d already seen it and loved it. A Russian love story! So amazing! I just had to see it, too! While the movie was undeniably well done, after hours of uncontrollable sobbing on my part, the poor man was sure he’d ruined his chances with me forever. Fourteen years of marriage and two kids have proved him wrong, but he’s never asked me to see another tragic love story with him. Romance, though, no problem.
There are so many sources of stress and trouble in the world. For a guaranteed few, I can simply turn on the evening news. On a lesser but more frequent level, I can chase my kids around with their pajamas and toothbrushes as they joyfully resist getting ready for bed. When it’s all said and done, in my entertainment hours, I want to be lifted up, made to smile, and filled with satisfied, happy feelings. Romance novels are a chance to be swept away into something wholly different—London ballrooms, a vampire’s wicked clutches, a Texas ranch, the Scottish Highlands, magic, intrigue, time travel, and so much more. The possibilities are virtually limitless. With bumps, twists and turns, action (in all senses of the word!), humor, and drama along the way, I can go for an emotionally charged journey guaranteed to leave me feeling good in the end.
My love for romance novels started when I was probably still too young for them. To this day, they keep me up far too late at night, make me laugh and cry, dazzle me with wit, keep me on the edge of my seat, feed my imagination, and make me fall in love with new heroes and heroines all the time. For years, I seemed to be the only one among my friends and family to have been bitten by the romance bug. Reading romance was something I ended up keeping mostly to myself to avoid the inevitable side-eye or casually thrown out, “You read that fluff?” from people who had never read romance and had no idea how intelligent, complex, and wonderful romance novels can be. It turned into a guilty pleasure when there should have been nothing guilty about it. Discovering that there is a vibrant and enthusiastic romance community was like opening the wardrobe to Narnia—pure magic!
Before I started writing seriously, I had no idea such an amazing community existed. Now that I’ve found it, it’s become my second home. There isn’t a group of people out there more supportive, fun, ready to share their favorite reads with the world and encourage their favorite authors, or more welcoming to newcomers like me. We cheer each other on in our love for romance, and that is something else that makes me incredibly happy.
Amanda Bouchet recommends:
I love books that make me laugh out loud. Here are some authors that never fail to put a smile on my face.
Darynda Jones – daryndajones.com (at Amazon) – with her Charley Davidson series. Part-time P.I. and full-time grim reaper, Charley is quirky, funny, and totally endearing as she helps solve crimes and bring closure to the recently departed. There’s emotion, adventure, a steamy romance, and the chapter headings are hilarious, too.
Kresley Cole’s – kresleycole.com (at Amazon) – Immortals After Dark series has the best heroines! With their smart mouths, strength, and independence, they’re fresh and entertaining and definitely keep their alpha heroes on their toes.
Elle Casey – ellecasey.com (at Amazon) – has a knack for laugh-out-loud humor. I laughed so hard I cried during her NA romance, Rebel. I also adore her new sci-fi series, Drifters’ Alliance, which has a kickass heroine, a little romance, and a big mystery going on in space.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
I got married in a small village in the French Alps in 2002. We’d had a cold and rainy summer, but on my wedding day, the sun decided to shine, it was warm, and tourists and locals came out in force. After weeks of terrible weather, people were practically flinging their arms wide and running down mountainsides singing, “The hills are alive…” Everyone was elated. We had a five minute walk to get from where we were staying to the town hall, where the legal part of the ceremony would be performed, so the whole wedding party struck out on foot. I was decked out in my wedding dress and accessories which, for reasons unknown to me now, included a pearly tiara and half gloves, and boy did we turn heads! As we walked, people clapped, cheered, whistled, and shouted, “Vive les mariés!” (“Long live the bride and groom!”). It was a fun and unforgettable romantic moment for me.
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
While my mother and I only occasionally share the same taste in books, we both love to watch sweeping romantic sagas on television. Outlander, Poldark, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and similar series are constantly being passed back and forth between us. We get ridiculously excited about our favorite shows. To hear us discuss the characters and storylines, you’d never know we were talking about fiction!
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
Definitely! I equate Scotland with romance, and not only because my first romance novels were Scottish historicals! Tumbling-down castles, lochs and mountains, legends and misty glens, there’s an almost tangible, shiver-inducing richness of magic and mystery in the air that appeals to everything romantic inside of me. I’d be hard-pressed to name a more stirringly romantic moment in my life than when I was on a heather-clad hillside in Glen Coe, a gunmetal sky above me, a twisting, green valley below, and a lone piper playing Amazing Grace and turning the mountaintop into a cathedral for us all.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
Beauty and the Beast! I love a tortured hero, especially one who’s gruff and with an air of danger about him, but who is really kind and generous underneath—or who at least learns to be that way as he opens himself up to caring for someone else. And Beauty, who can see beyond the physical to the soul underneath, is gentle and patient but no doormat, which is just what she needs to be to tame the Beast!
Tell us about your dream date.
Can Thor take me to Asgard? No? Well then, maybe something a little more attainable. I can see myself and Thor my husband on the patio of an Italian restaurant in late summer looking out over the Tuscan hills. The scene would be a patchwork of green and golden fields, with tall cypress trees, insects chirping, the grass swaying in a light breeze, and the smell of roasting garlic in the air. I would have a glass of red wine and enough antipasti to make three meals out of, bread and cheese, and absolute peace and quiet around us. Since this is my dream date, we’d have the whole restaurant to ourselves and a gorgeous painted sky summer sunset to watch while we ate.
Amanda Bouchet and Sourcebooks Casablanca are generously giving away 3 print copies of A Promise of Fire, one each to three lucky U.S. winners, and 2 e-book versions of A Promise of Fire, one each for two international readers. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Aug 14, 2016. Good luck!
***International friends, be sure to include your country in your comment so we know to include you in the international drawing. Good luck!
(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)
Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy, The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.
A French master’s graduate and former English teacher, Amanda lives in Paris, France. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children who will soon be correcting her French.
Buy Amanda Bouchet’s books:
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