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!
My Love Affair With Romance
I often tell the story of how my first summons to the world of #loveromance was at age fourteen with Nora Roberts’ The Reef, followed soon-after by Judith McNaught’s Perfect. In both circumstances, I was snooping on bookshelves I should not have, discovering books that were probably not what my classics-loving parents would have preferred (to give you some idea, my dad had me read Moby Dick when I was in eighth grade).
But the truth is, my love affair with all things romance started before my Nora Roberts discovery. I was maybe ten or so, already an avid reader after discovering The Boxcar Children a couple years earlier. My parents scrambled to feed the reading-beast, taking me to the library a few times a week to stock up on piles and piles of books from the Children’s section, never looking too closely at my haul.
Somewhere along the line, I discovered the Sweet Valley Twins series. I liked it well enough, but I didn’t love it. Not until I got to #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss. Maybe this is hyperbolic, but I think that one book may have changed the course of my life. I may not have hit puberty yet, but already my heart knew how how to have a crush, and I knew what it was to yearn. Or maybe I just wanted to yearn like Elizabeth did. I can’t remember.
What I do remember is there being a spark—a deep rooted knowledge that I wanted to read more books like that. I didn’t know what the emotion was, I didn’t know it was the romance that I craved, but I chased it for years with mixed results until that fateful day when I stumbled upon Nora and learned that the brief taste of romance I got in Elizabeth’s First Kiss was in fact an entire genre. An endless supply of age-inappropriate books to give me all the butterflies.
Because really, isn’t that why we really read romance? Not the sex, not even the kissing, but the anticipation of all that. I think that’s why Elizabeth’s First Kiss is such a precious memory to me, one I protect with a little bubble. It’s when I discovered the indescribable feeling of butterflies, the lump in your throat, the way your belly flips when finally, finally, the couple admits their feelings/kisses/more than kisses if the spicer variety.
There are infinite ways to love, all of them as powerful as the next, but there’s something special about romantic love. It’s addictive. It’s all-consuming. It’s nearly impossible to describe. I think it’s why romance has turned into a billion dollar industry. We authors and readers keep trying to capture it—to wrap it up and hold it close so we can cling to that feeling, but the best thing about #loveromance is that it’s intimate, in real life and fictional life. There’s always more feels to be had, and I for one, don’t think I’ll ever be satiated.
Lauren Layne recommends:
Emma Barry authoremmabarry.com (at Amazon)
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
My husband and I are high school sweethearts, which means that some of my earliest and best romantic memories involve him (although if I’m being honest, I did REALLY love the valentine Sam something or other gave me in second grade). But the moment where I think romance really knocked me upside the head involved … pizza sticks. My now-husband and I weren’t quite dating, but he was wooing in subtle ways. Then Valentine’s Day he kicked it up a notch. Lunch period was almost over, we were walking back towards the main building of our high school, and he asked me to hold his pizza sticks (a thing, apparently, at our high school cafeteria), while he went into the front office to get something.
That something? Flowers. My first ever Valentine’s Day flowers, and the first moment that I realized that romance has the power to take your breath away with its sweet perfection.
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
I need to do a shout-out to one of my best gal pals here, who just happens to be a fellow author. Not only do Rachel Van Dyken and I talk all day every day about the books we’re working on and the books we’re reading, but the day I knew we were destined to be best friends forever and ever?
We share a love for the TV show Roswell. If you’ve never seen it, you must. Of any tv couple ever worshipped, Liz and Max are the most deserving. The way Max looks at Liz IS romance, but whenever I try to explain that to people, they’re like: “um, an old TV show aimed at teenagers about an ALIEN is your high-bar for romance?!” RVD immediately GOT it. The second I said “Roswell,” she squealed, I squealed, we all squealed. And are now forever cemented in friendship.
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
Whistler in BC Canada. I’ve always been a sucker for “winter” vacations. Twinkle lights, gently falling snow and a crackling fire are so much more romantic to me than beach vacation. Luckily my husband agrees, and took me to Whistler for our honeymoon. Ten years later, I remember the perfection of sitting in a hot tub, sipping a cocktail, watching the snow fall over Whistler Village like it was yesterday.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
Probably no surprise here, but Liz and Max from the TV show Roswell. If I had to go with something a bit more grown-up though, I’d probably say Richard Gere and Julia Roberts from Runaway Bride. It’s not even my favorite romantic comedy, but something about the way that romance delivered makes me extra convinced that those two characters are good for each other, and are living happily ever after somewhere. Ooh, I also have to throw in Giselle and Robert from Enchanted. I’m a sucker for fairy tales!
Tell us about your dream date.
Despite living in NYC, home of some of the best restaurants in the world, my ideal date actually involves staying “in.” I like nothing more than getting dressed up to stay in, sipping champagne while my husband and I cook together (well okay, I chop a few things, he cooks), listening to Michael Buble, and then lingering over a ribeye and buttery potatoes, or whatever’s on the menu. The key is making an effort to not let it feel “every day.” Put on a cocktail dress, or light a candle, or open a better-than-normal bottle of wine to trigger the sense that it’s a moment worth celebrating.
Lauren Layne is generously giving away 1) an ebook or print version of TO HAVE AND TO HOLD to one US reader, an ebook bundle of the Stiletto series to one reader (open to everyone) and 3) one title,winner’s choice, to an international reader.
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 17, 2016. ***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.)
Lauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan.
She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.
Buy Lauren Layne’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!