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!
If I Had A Dollar…
Do you write from experience?
My response? Usually something along the lines of…“Since I write as much about murder as anything else, I hope not!” To me it’s only logical that if I can use my imagination to stalk and kill someone (fictionally, of course), I can use the same approach when it comes to a bedroom scene. But maybe the basis for this question is really more about the romance genre and some of the myths or out-dated stereotypes attached to it, such as:
1. Romance novels are all about sex. This couldn’t be more wrong. Romance novels are no more about sex than mystery novels are about murder. In a mystery, it’s solving the puzzle that readers like. In a romance novel, it’s watching two people figure out a way to forge a lasting relationship despite all the obstacles keeping them apart. It’s about the HAPPILY EVER AFTER–not the sex.
2. Romance novels are all the same. Romance novels are no more “the same” or “written according to a formula” than mystery novels or thriller novels. There are certain conventions readers expect in each genre, but it’s the journey to that happy ending that readers enjoy in romance, and every journey is different. Now that the romance genre has grown and developed to the point that authors are mixing genres, there is more variety than ever (i.e. paranormal romance, romantic suspense, comedy and thriller, erotica, inspirational, and—the most recent addition—urban fantasy).
3. Reading romance novels is something to be ashamed of, a guilty pleasure. Why feel guilty about jumping into a good story when you need to relax or have to wait for hours at a doctor’s office? Some of the most touching fan mail I ever receive goes something like this: “I want to thank you for writing (whichever book they’ve been reading). Your characters enveloped me in their world when I needed it most. I’ve never been through a worse time than the past year. I’ve been (fill in the blank with–going through a divorce, watching my mother die, getting chemotherapy treatments, learning to walk again after a terrible accident), and it brought me joy when I needed it most. Please keep writing.” These people make me proud of what I do.
4. Anyone can write a romance. Writing romance isn’t easy, especially in this crowded of market. It is, however, the genre that sells the best by FAR. According to Publisher’s Weekly in the latest article I could find,
romance outsold every other genre by at least 30% in 2014.
5. The people who read romance lack healthy sex lives and thus must live vicariously through fictional characters. An Info Trends study commissioned by Romance Writers of America revealed the heart of the genre’s readership is women aged 31 – 49 who are currently in a romantic relationship.
I enjoy a lot of genres, have always been an eclectic reader, but romance will always be my favorite. Why? Because romance novels promote happiness and hope and act as a testament to the age-old theme that love conquers all. I believe the Beatles got it right when they sang, “Love is all you need.”
Brenda Novak recommends:
My favorite authors include:
But you’ve probably heard of all three.
One I’ve just recently fallen in love with is Julie Anne Long – julieannelong.com – (at Amazon) I picked up HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON and enjoyed every minute of it. It was a fast, light, fun read, and her voice reminded me a bit of Janet’s and Susan’s mixed together.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
My husband and I just took an Alaskan cruise. Usually, on big trips like this one, we include our kids (we have 5!). We’ve done Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii as a big family. But we did Alaska all on our own, and it was very romantic–almost like a second honeymoon. The vastness and the incredible beauty of Alaska had a profound impact on me. Not only did it make me grateful for the earth on which we live, it gave me time to reflect on how much my husband has always meant to me. Here we are in front of the Northwestern Glacier (on a side trip we took to tour the fjords out of Seward).
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
This would have to be my best friend. He’s a single gay man who’s a decade younger and lives across the country from me (someone I met him through my annual online auction for diabetes research, which I ran for ten years), so it probably wouldn’t appear as if we have a great deal in common at first glance. But we bonded over our love for the romance genre (he was an aspiring writer at the time but has since published). We talk about the books and authors we love at least three times a week, along with what’s happening in our careers and the industry.
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
The musical score for LAST OF THE MOHICANS absolutely says ROMANCE. That’s probably my favorite movie, one I tend to watch if my muse ever runs dry. It never fails to me excited again about two people falling in love.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
My favorite book–from the time I was ten years old–has been JANE EYRE, so I’d have to say Jane and Mr. Rochester. But I have so many! Must I only name one? What about Jamie and Claire (from OUTLANDER), Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), Meggie Cleary and Father Ralph (from THE THORNBIRDS) and Gracie Snow and Bobby Tom Denton (from HEAVEN, TEXAS)? I could go on and on…. LOL
Tell us about your dream date.
My dream dates are almost always road trips. My husband and I love to drive off into the wild blue yonder and go explore some random place–maybe the ghost towns of Arizona or the mining towns of Nevada. We typically look for a little “mom and pop” style diner and have lunch or dinner there, and stay over at a B&B. While he drives us home, I usually read my latest book to him. He’s heard every one (and I’ve now written nearly 60) and always gives me great feedback.
Brenda Novak is generously giving away autographed copies of THE SECRET SISTER & THE SECRETS SHE KEPT (in trade paperback) to one domestic winner, and both of these books in digital for one international winner. 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 15, 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.)
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A five-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Silver Bullet.
She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million.
Buy Brenda Novak’s books:
*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!