Sarina Bowen – Celebrating Unconventional Heroes

Hi friends!

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!


Every Sort of Hero Can #LoveRomance

True story: Someone in publishing discouraged me from writing Steadfast, because steadfast paperthey didn’t think readers would one-click my hero, Jude. You are probably wondering what’s so awful about Jude. Did he cheat? No. Is he a jerk to the heroine? Nope. Love triangle? No. Zombie? Politician? Undertaker? Orthodontist? No, no, no, no.

Jude’s problem is that he’s a recovering addict. When the book opens, every day is a struggle to move forward with his life, and to beat back the (metaphorical!) demons in his past.

In his favor, though, he’s fiercely loyal, loving and strong. He can fix your car, ride a snowboard like a beast and make the ladies swoon when he turns his troubled silver eyes on them.

But—hey Sarina—go write another hockey book because on-rink shenanigans are nobler than staying clean and righting past wrongs.

Spoiler alert: I get a little fired up about this when I think about it. Addiction is part of the fabric of our times. We’re all vulnerable to it—even our sports heroes and rock stars. You probably know someone in recovery. Or several someones.

In middle school English class I was taught that there are three plots in literature: man against man, man against nature, and man against himself. And that last one is a doozy.

Maybe it’s a little unusual to write a hero in recovery. But there are a million romances where an addicted character is the antagonist. The abusive father. The neglectful mother. It’s just too easy to put those secondary characters in there to inspire empathy for our more deserving heroes and heroines. I’m guilty of this myself.bittersweet paper

But my books with the unconventional heroes and heroines are always my favorite. They’re the ones that always make me #LoveRomance again, because their stories are so unique. It’s Corey’s disability in The Year We Fell Down that gives her such a fresh world view. When I first began working on her story, I felt as though I’d walked through a secret door nobody else had found yet.

I know my readers. They’ll love Jude, because he’s 100% lovable. Readers don’t #LoveRomance because the heroes are perfect. How dull! They #LoveRomance because it lifts us up when we’re down. All of us. Flaws and all.

Sarina Bowen recommends: 

For me it’s all about the writing. This year I discovered:

Mercy Brown     (at Amazon)     (Loud is How I Love You)

Roan Parrish      (at Amazon)      (In the Middle of Somewhere)

They are both excellent!

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you. 

When I was 22, and a few months after my now-husband and I first met, he was transferred to Tokyo. Undeterred, I took a trip there to visit him. It was only a week, but it was actually the first time I’d ever left North America. It should have been utterly overwhelming, but my husband took me on a carefully planned tour of the city–temples and shrines, restaurants and a zoo! I didn’t know we’d still be together more than 20 years later, but looking back on it, I’m really not surprised.

Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

The only person who sends me inappropriate texts is not my husband. It’s Elle Kennedy, my co-author of the HIM series. Does that count?

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

I live in the woods, and during the spring and summer we leave the windows open. Every night the air smells like lilacs and I can hear frogs singing in the ponds. It’s lush and beautiful, and I always feel a little stunned to live in such a pretty place.

 Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

My affection for Dirty Dancing will never fade. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” is pretty much seared in my brain. My novel The Shameless Hour features a hero who’s watched a lot of chick flicks with his mom. During one awkward scene he says, “nobody puts Bella in a corner.” I couldn’t help myself.

 Tell us about your dream date. 

Our dream dates change over time, don’t they? These days I want my husband to take me to a cafe in a city somewhere where we can read the newspaper and sip coffee for hours. When I was younger I would have chosen differently, but right now that sounds like heaven. 

Sarina Bowen is generously giving away two audio books, open to everyone (as long as you can use audible codes).  Winner may choose any Ivy Years title. 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 19, 2016.   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.)

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading

farmSarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

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Buy Sarina Bowen’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*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!

  • M Elise Herto

    This series is amazing. Everyone should read it. Jude’s story was inspiring.

  • Amy Anastasopoulos

    I haven’t read the True North series yet…I’m waiting for Zach’s book and then will spend a few days gorging on all three at once. Yum!

  • Christina Mitaly

    I absolutely love Jude and all of his strength. I think he is relatable and someone everyone feels like that have met at least once in their life. The year we fell down was the first book of yours I read and I love Corey to this day. Stay true to yourself and your readers will continue to support you. I can honestly say I have read everything you have written and loved them all for different reasons!

  • Lacey T

    I seriously LOVE this series! Jude’s story was heartbreaking but also uplifting. He’s one of the most unique heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

  • Linda Henderson

    I haven’t read any of this series yet but it sounds amazing. Rehab is so common these days that I don’t find it a turn off in a book. It’s life and I think writing what happens in real life is good.

  • mariannewestrich

    I really appreciate unconventional heroes. A book or plot that takes me by surprise is a good thing!

  • Toni

    Unconventional heroes are great. I love finding books with heroes that aren’t the typical romance hero.

  • Debbie Fuller

    Oh my Gosh, you have just made me your biggest fan and I haven’t read any of your books yet. I love books that show characters with flaws of the real world, not just poor little rich girl/guy. We all have them and it’s so encouraging to read how they got thru it or overcame the same things we, the readers, are struggling with. Thank you for sharing this insight.

  • Christine Armstrong

    I love every single one of your books and look forward to reading many more 🙂

  • rebecca moe

    An audiobook giveaway? An author after my own heart! (BTW, please say that US is going to be released on audio too!)

    Jude definitely sounds like a hero I want to read about–thank goodness he’s not an orthodontist (shudder) 😉

    Thanks for posting!

  • Pamby50

    Elle Kennedy counts. Love her books and have just added Jude’s story to my read list.

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    Thank you for your lovely post. I love the idea of a hero who is a recovering addict. That is really in the moment as there are many struggling with their various addiction.

  • Chanpreet

    I’m not entering the giveaway. I just love the fact Sarina’s heroes and heroines are as flawed as the people who read them. There’s a certain realness about them that makes them stand out. Thank you Sarina for writing Jude’s story, because even though your hockey books are perfection, sometimes other stories need to be told too. <3

  • Sue G.

    I love flawed heroes…it makes them more real! Don’t enter me in the contest please.