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!
You Never Know With Romance
Packing for a week’s vacation in Nantucket, I realized that selecting what to put in my suitcase was a reflection of my expectations for the trip.
A girlfriend had asked me to share a house with her and several other friends. I was the last-minute replacement for her husband, who had decided to stay home and play golf. But that’s a blog for another time.
I was single, happily single, and happy to have a week off from my stressful job as a reporter. But I realized, as I folded T-shirts and khaki shorts, I had no romantic expectations for this trip whatsoever.
I took no lacy camisoles, no slinky bathing suits, no floaty dresses or beautiful hats. I took running shoes, and books, and a tennis racket. I took my bike. (Although I didn’t pack that.)
And sisters, I did not bring any make up. For me, a long time TV journalist, that was unthinkable. But hey, what could happen on a weekend in Nantucket with my girlfriend, another couple, their two sons, and the nanny? It would be fun, it would be relaxing, it would be beautiful, but it would not be romantic.
We traveled on the ferry, across Cape Cod harbor, wind in our hair and with skirl of seagulls, heading for this beautiful island. We arrived at the port, loaded our bikes and luggage onto a van, and arrived at our beautiful house in ‘Sconset.
White wood, lofty windows, a glorious yard, and a fragrant stand of basil along the side. The sun was perfect , lavender hydrangeas in full bloom, and the sea grass whispering. I even remember, so funny, a little brown rabbit hopped across the front lawn.
We opened the door to the house, you can imagine the lofty ceilings and nautical theme. And there, in the living room, wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts of his own, was the handsomest man I’d ever seen.
“Hi guys,” he said. I just stood there, looking at him.
“Hey Jonathan,” my friend said. “I didn’t know you were going to be here!”
“I’m a last-minute addition,” he said. “I didn’t know I was coming until yesterday.”
I just stood there.
“Hank,” she said, “you remember Jonathan?”
“Yes,” he said. You interviewed me once for a story. Remember?”
Oh, I thought, I did! I do. He’s a lawyer in Boston, and I had interviewed him for a story about one of his clients, a defendant in a notorious murder case.
“Hi, of course,” I said.
But in my mind I was thinking something else. I was thinking: I have no make up! Get me to the drugstore!
But you know what? Two things. One. I did not go to the drugstore. I thought: if this man is going to fall in love with me, he will eventually see me with no make up, so it might as well be now.
And two: we have not been apart since that day. And we have now been married for 21 years.
So when it comes to packing, for Nantucket or for life, sometimes our expectations are defied by reality. And, I learned that expecting something wonderful can never hurt.
In fact, Jonathan and I don’t celebrate that day. We don’t celebrate the anniversary of the day we met. We celebrate the anniversary of the day before we met. And we call it “You Never Know Day.”
Because you never know what wonderful romance is around the next corner.
Hank Phillippi Ryan recommends:
I honor and revere them both.
But let me introduce you to some wonderful authors in another genre.
And please please, suspense fans, read Method 15/30 by debut author Shannon Kirk. Amazing.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
Since we are talking about Nantucket! That same trip, everyone else had gone to sleep, and Jonathan and I were out on the back roof deck. It was mid-August, after midnight, and in the midst of the Perseid meteor shower.
But the night was not perfectly clear, and we’d searched and searched for shooting stars, but hadn’t seen any. Then, at the same time we both gasped.
“Did you see that?” We said it at the same time. And we had. It was a gorgeous shooting star.
Jonathan said “You know what you’re supposed to do when you see a shooting star right?”
I said, “Sure. You’re supposed to make a wish.”
“Nope,” he said. “That’s wrong. You’re supposed to kiss the person you’re with.”
(I know you will roll your eyes at this.)
I replied, arguing. “No, you’re wrong. You’re supposed to make a wish.”
He just looked at me.
And then I thought: Hank! You are an idiot.
“Oh,” I said. “Maybe you’re right.”
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
I do a lot of speeches and presentations to groups of readers and writers. There is such a sense of common ground, and camaraderie, and sharing the joy of books. And sometimes, when the speech is over or the seminar has ended, and the audience stands and applauds, I am so full of love for them all, and for my life as an author, that I almost burst into tears. That’s romance, isn’t it? Gratitude?
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
Paris! Cliché, yes, but what can I say. No question about it. That special light, and the history, and beauty around every corner. But wait, no, Nevis. We often travel to this tiny island in the Caribbean, where there is absolutely nothing to do. We sit on the white beach, a vast white stretch of sand with no one else in sight, and look out at the blue Caribbean, and watch the pelicans hover over the waves, then, boom, dive. There’s not a sound but the waves and our own heartbeats.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn! Or Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Rick and Ilse. Harry and Sally. And of course, Jake and Jane. (You won’t believe what’s about to happen to them in SAY NO MORE!)
Tell us about your dream date.
Dream date? Am I not very imaginative? I feel as if I have been on them, and luckily, so often I am counting my blessings like crazy. But if someone said: Want to go off to Scotland and pretend to be in Outlander? I would love that. (Only the romantic parts, not the scary parts.) Or go to Spain and see where they shoot the scenes of Dorne from Game of Thrones. Or a fabulous weekend in New York, with dinner and Broadway shows. Back to Paris? Any time!
Hank Phillippi Ryan is generously giving away five books: PRIME TIME, FACE TIME, AIR TIME, THE OTHER WOMAN and THE WRONG GIRL, one each to four US and one 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 August 30, 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.)
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 33 EMMYs, 14 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism.
A bestselling author of eight mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, two Anthonys, the Daphne, two Macavitys, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.”
Her 2013 novel, THE WRONG GIRL, won both the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller. TRUTH BE TOLD is the Agatha Award winner for Best Contemporary Novel, an Anthony Award nominee and a Library Journal BEST BOOK OF 2014.
Ryan also won a second Agatha Award in 2015 for Best Nonfiction, as editor of WRITES OF PASSAGE, an anthology of essays by mystery authors, which was also honored with a Macavity Award and Anthony Award. Ryan’s newest novel, WHAT YOU SEE, is an Agatha and Anthony nominee and a Library Journal Best of 2015, with a starred review which raves “Mystery readers get ready: you will find yourself racing to the finish.” It’s also an RT Book Reviews Top Pick for “Exceptional suspense!” Her first award-winning series starring reporter Charlotte McNally is now available in all-new editions. Ryan is a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime. Watch for SAY NO MORE on Nov. 1—Jeffery Deaver says “Superb!”
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Buy Hank’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!