Clara Kensie – A Journey of Emotion

Hi friends!

Welcome to the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate this awesome genre!  Come back every day to read all three “Power of Romance” posts. Check out the full calendar of authors here. You can also find links to the last four years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook.

Happy August!

#LoveRomance #ThePowerOfRomance

Romance: Powered by Emotion

Whenever I see someone reading a book in public—at the park, on their lunch break at the office, or sitting on the sidelines during their kid’s soccer practice—I want to run up to them and ask what they’re reading. I don’t, of course, but I keep an eye on them, and if they close their book or tuck their e-reader into their bag, I go over and ask.

I’m never disappointed with the answer. I’m delighted if I’ve read the book too, so we can discuss it. I also love it when their answer is a book or author I haven’t heard of before. I’ve discovered several new favorites this way.

It also works the other way around. About six years ago I was at the DMV, reading a book by Linda Howard while waiting to renew my driver’s license. A scene in the book was making me cry, but because I was in public, I was trying not to.

From the corner of my eye, I saw the woman next to me trying to see what book was making me cry. I’m one of those people who hates being interrupted while I’m reading, but this woman was clearly concerned about me. So I stopped reading and showed her the cover.

Cry No More,” she said, reading the title aloud. “It’s having the opposite effect on you, isn’t it?”

That made me laugh.

“Why are you reading such a sad story?” she asked.

“There are sad parts,” I said, sniffling. “But this one is a romantic suspense. It’ll have a happy ending.”

“Oh yeah?” she asked. “How do you know?”

I had recently joined Romance Writers of America, so I was able to inform her with authority, “In order for a book to officially be considered a romance, the couple must end up together at the end.”

It’s what we in the romance world call the HEA—the happily ever after. I read a lot of books, and I don’t always read (or write) romance. But when life gets tough and I’m having a bad day/week/month, it’s romance novels I turn to.

But the HEA is not the main reason I love romance novels. More than that guaranteed happy ending, what I crave most, what draws me in, is the emotion of romance novels. The love, of course, but also the grief, the fear, the anger, the triumph, the bliss. Romance without emotion is impossible. Romance novels are powered by emotion.

I’m not ashamed to admit that when I finish a book I truly love, I hug it to my chest, so filled am I with emotion, so satisfied with the ending yet so reluctant to say goodbye. Those books, almost always, are romance novels.

The best romances take you on a journey of emotions. They make your heart pound, they make you cry, they make you gasp, they make you sigh. All of those emotions contained between two covers! Whether it’s a romantic mystery/thriller, a paranormal romance, an erotic romance, an urban fantasy, or a sweet contemporary, a good romance is cathartic. When life gets me down, nothing lifts me up more than a romance novel.

I turned to the woman sitting next to me to tell her all of this, but decided not to. Instead, I found a scrap of paper in my purse and jotted down the title of the book I was reading. She thanked me and pocketed the paper, and I went back to reading. Soon after that, her number was called, and she went to the desk to get her license renewed. I’ll never know if she read the book. But I like to think that when she was done at the DMV, she drove straight to the bookstore or library, got the book, brought it home, read it and loved it, and then told a friend. Because the best way to experience the power of romance novels is to discover it for yourself.

Clara recommends:

I discovered each of these authors in the past year, and they all write smart, emotional, unique, swoony stories with plots and characters that will grip you from the very first page and won’t let go, even long after you finish the books.

Wendy Brant‘s   ZENN DIAGRAM  –   –  @Amazon

Darcy Woods‘   SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS   –    –    @Amazon

Shaila Patel‘s   SOULMATED   –   –   @Amazon

Heather Sunseri‘s   MINDSPEAK    –      –    @Amazon

Liza Wiemer‘s   HELLO?    –    –    @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.

When I was a teenager, my friends and I were at a local diner. In the booth across the aisle from us was an elderly couple sharing a piece of pie. He was drinking a milkshake, and she was drinking a beer. They casually held each other’s hand across the table. They ate their pie, chatted quietly, smiled and nodded and sometimes laughed. He got milkshake on his lip and she gave him a napkin to wipe it off. Their love was evident, and it was clear that they’d been together for decades. They looked so …content. It was such a sweet sight. It’s been thirty years, and I think about that couple all the time. That, to me, is a powerful romance.

Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.

While writing the first draft of my first manuscript, Deception So Deadly, I saved each individual chapter and scene on a flash drive so I could write both at home and during my lunch hour at work. One morning at work, I plugged the flash drive into the computer, and nothing happened. I pulled it out to check it… and it crumbled into pieces of plastic and metal and circuit boards. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. That flash drive was my only copy of Deception So Deadly. All of my hard work was gone.

I told my co-workers that I was sick, and went home (in case my boss runs across this post, that was not a lie—I was so upset that I truly was sick). My manuscript was literally in pieces. I spent the rest of the day desperately trying to find something, anything, saved in the obscure, hidden files on my laptop, but there was nothing. Not a chapter, not a scene, not a single word.

Enter the hero: my husband! When he got home that night, I showed him the pieces of my broken flash drive. I don’t know exactly how he did it, but he jerry-rigged some pieces together with scotch tape, then slid it part-way into the USB drive of my laptop. I held my breath as very slowly, very carefully, he used a straight pin to drrrraaagggg each individual file from the memory chip into my computer. It worked! I was so relieved that I cried. My husband saved the day, and Deception So Deadly, with scotch tape and a straight pin.

Lessons learned: always back up your manuscript to multiple places, and MacGyver ain’t got nothing on my husband.

I still have a piece of that broken flash drive in my jewelry box. It’s as important to me as my wedding ring.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

My power word for 2017 is Unstoppable. Heading into this year, I knew I’d be facing lots of changes and challenges. I wanted to find a single word, a mantra, that would motivate and inspire me and make me feel strong and empowered and ready to fight. The word I chose was Unstoppable. I even made an image for it and posted it on my Instagram! So far it’s working. Unstoppable!!

Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

I’m going to come right out and say it: Twilight. I read the series a few years ago, and it wouldn’t have the same effect on me if I were to read it today, but back then, it Blew. Me. Away. Bella and Edward’s romance knocked my socks off. I was so sad when the series ended. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters.

I realized, then, that the only way I’d never have to say goodbye to characters I love is to write them myself. That realization inspired me to write my first book, Deception So Deadly, a super-romantic YA thriller about a psychic family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that transcends secrets, lies, and danger. I had so much fun and I loved it so much that I wrote a sequel, Deception So Dark. To my delight, they were published, and Deception So Deadly even won the 2015 RITA© award for Best First Book! (Back then it was published as Run to You.)

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m re-releasing the books with their original Deception So titles, in print and with gorgeous new covers! Deception So Deadly releases on August 15th 2017, Deception So Dark comes out in February 2018, and the never-before published Deception So Dangerous is coming out next summer. I’m hoping to write more Deception So books after that. Now I never have to say goodbye to the characters I love so much.

I can honestly say that Twilight changed my life. Now that’s a powerful book.

Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

I just got home from a weekend road trip with my sixteen-year-old daughter, so I’m going to use her as the answer to this question. Of course everyone can say that about their children, and my eighteen-year-old son has had an amazing, powerful influence on my life too. But my daughter has a natural optimism and confidence that I’ve never had. She’s always been independent, friendly, and enthusiastic. She’s fearless and she loves to try new things. She’s gracious in her victories, and when she fails, she bounces back quickly. She’s everything I wish I was when I was growing up. Now, when I become frustrated or stressed, I try to respond as my daughter would. I don’t want to disappoint her or let her down. She makes me a better, happier, more confident person.

Main Drawing:

Clara is generously giving away a signed print copy of Deception So Deadly. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 18, 2017. (US only)

She’ll be giving away another copy as part of the US bundles, and is participating in the international bundles, plus she’s sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.


Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her debut, the super-romantic psychic thriller Deception So series, was named an RT Book Review Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Deception So Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book. The first two books in the series, originally released as the six-part Run to You digital serial in 2014, are being released in print with new Deception So titles and gorgeous new covers, starting with Deception So Deadly in August 2017 and Deception So Dark in February 2018. The series continues with Deception So Dangerous in August 2018.

Clara’s critically-acclaimed novel Aftermath (Simon and Schuster/Simon Pulse), a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines drama about hope, healing, and triumph over tragedy in the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones, is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.

Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

Learn more:


Clara Kensie, author of dark fiction for young adults

…don’t forget to breathe…     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @ClaraKensie


Buy Clara’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!

#LoveRomance   #The PowerofRomance    #ReadARomance


Each RARM post will have one main drawing each day (posted above). Authors are also contributing to weekly (US only) bundles, which will be drawn at the end of the week. Each bundle will consist of at least five books and the amount of bundles will depend on the amount of books the authors contribute.

(Clara is contributing to the US and international bundles, and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

International friends!

Rather than individual drawings off posts, this year we’ll do sets of books, 3+, depending on how many authors contribute. To enter, send an email to with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 2 contests are Aug 9 through Aug. 16

For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors  are supporting an extra-special drawing – high quality tote bags and mugs printed with a fun, pro-romance image (see below).

Read-A-Romance Month, through the generous support of many of the authors, is giving away at least 30 mug & tote combos.

Plus, at least two lucky winners will win a Read-A-Romance Month “Month of Books” Mega Bundle, consisting of 31 books!

To enter these exciting drawings,  send an email to (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month.

(US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include an international cup/tote combo.)

You will not be automatically added to a newsletter, and I promise not to sell or give your email addresses to anyone. I do reserve the right to send you an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which will also have opportunities to win more prizes and great romance reading tips!


Check out all three great posts everyday in August at  Or you can find the posts on the RARM Facebook page.  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  #ReadARomance

  • cheryl c.

    It is so much easier for me to get through the sad or suspenseful parts of a book if I know a happy ending is coming.

    • Yep, that’s how I feel too, Cheryl. I can read even the saddest book as long as I know it’ll all be okay at the end. I love HEAs.

  • catslady

    My favorite stories are those that make me laugh and cry!

    • Mine too, catslady! The more emotion, the better.

  • Melonie Johnson

    What a fabulous post! I never knew that about the flash drive and your awesome husband saving the day like that – AMAZING! What a true hero 🙂 Happy Book Birthday to Deception So Deadly – let’s hope a few people are caught reading it out in the world toady 😉

    • Yeah, my husband is my hero! Thanks for the book birthday wishes!

  • Pamby50

    I am always reading. People would come up to me and ask, “What are you reading now?” I would have welcomed you to sit for a chat.

    • Good to know! I guess everyone is different when it comes to that. I don’t like to be interrupted while I’m reading. I’m always happy to discuss the book once I’ve put it down, though!

  • Sue G.

    I was a huge reader when I was young and up until I had my kids….then life got in the way. Fast forward 15 years and in 2008, my oldest daughter (15 at the time) was devouring these books and would not put them down. I picked up the first one on Halloween and started reading it while I was passing out candy and finished the book within 24 hours. It was Twilight. I just fell in love with the whole story. It took you back to your first love all over again. While most people my age were making fun of us for reading those books, the did a wonderful thing for me….they brought me back to reading all the time now and I couldn’t be happier!

    • Your comment makes me so happy! I think Twilight brought a lot of people back to reading. My neighbor introduced me to her friend Mark, a thirty-five year old man who loved the books as much as I had. They were the first books he’d read since college, and the first fiction books he’d read since childhood. Mark and I became good friends and even watched all the movies together.

      • Sue G.

        My oldest daughter and I even got my middle daughter to read them and she did not read ANYTHING (not even summer reading!). She fell in love with them too. I think she’s read them like 50 times and now she reads books!

        • I keep trying to get my daughter (age 16) to read them. I think they will kickstart a love of reading in her. Alas, she refuses every time.

  • MaryC

    Love the story about your husband.

  • I’m so glad your manuscript was rescued from the flash drive! I no longer use them because they’re so easily lost (plus, also we have cloud storage and easy ways to sync work across platforms like OneNote and Dropbox).

    And I’m so glad your book is in a shiny new format with more coming next year!

    • Thanks, Stephanie!

      I use Dropbox, Box, and OneNote to save everything now. I also bring my laptop to work every day to write during my lunch hour instead of using my work computer (although I’ve been so busy at work the past couple of years, I rarely take a lunch break).

  • Kezia King

    Thanks for sharing! I wonder if that lady ever read the book. I am always recommending books to people and I have to check back in and see if they liked it.

    • I know! I’d LOVE to know if she ever read it!

  • Tori Valenzuela

    I love recommending books! Expeciallh when the person messages me after reading it and I’ve helped them become an addict to that series!!!

    • It’s the greatest feeling when someone loves a book you recommended to them!