Harper Fox – Exploring the Dimensions

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: The Extra Dimension

Preparing to write this post for RARM, I came up against a real difficulty. I realised that I couldn’t satisfactorily define for myself what romance is, let alone analyse its power! Then, when I tried to define for myself why I couldn’t define these things, I fortunately (before my head imploded) had a moment of revelation.

I was failing because I was trying to define something outside myself. And the emotional impetus for every one of the books I’ve written, not to mention all the years of unpaid fanfic writing before that, has its source, like a blob of volcanic melt slowly metamorphosing all the crust around it, deep inside.

Picture this: Catholic-convent school in the UK in the ’70s, society at large in the ’80s. On the bookshelves for any non-straight, non-CIS female: Radclyffe Hall. Jane Rule. I hold both authors dear and value them as the seminal voices they are – but, oh, such tortured torchbearers. Even in Rule’s lyrical, positive representations, such questioning, so much displacement, isolation, sorrow. And Mary Renault! She’s been formative for so many male/male-romance authors that to mention her is almost a cliché, but her Alexander novels don’t hold sacred space on our bookshelves for nothing.

The Renault Effect was extraordinary. Up I leapt, out of my Well of Loneliness and the depths of my own navel into which I’d been staring at the behest of Rule. However oblique, however low-key, Alexander and Hephaistion were definitely boyfriends. For the first time in my life, the mystical processes of my interior had found and met external confirmation. Other people were like this: felt like this, wrote like this. It was wonderful. I clutched Fire From Heaven to my chest for about a month, to the surprise and pleasure of my parents: at last I was taking an interest in Greek history!

But the power of that experience for me, more than the sense of connection, was the reinforcement of my inner life. I’ve said that I don’t regard romance as a phenomenon outside myself, and what Renault showed me – and Hall and Rule in their way – was the beauty of that interiority. That’s what makes writers, even out of awkward kids like me with so painfully, pitifully little fuel for our fires. We exist, often without realising, in a kind of demimonde or “magical reality” where our lives’ most ordinary events – a school day, the walk home afterwards, the lamplight outside a bedroom window – are imbued with significance and possibilities, a perpetual sense of the extra dimension. That gorgeous new kid in my class? A princess, definitely, who’ll recognise any minute my amazing capacity for escape from the humdrum and who’ll join with me in a dash between the tree-shadows on our way home and through the lamplit star-portal disguised as my garden gate. And when we discover we can lay some of that eternal, endlessly present and rehearsed romance onto paper, get it outside ourselves and share it with kindred spirits that way…

Well, that’s the power of romance for me. My one and only super-power.

 

Harper recommends:

Dal Maclean, whose debut novel, Bitter Legacy, I had the pleasure of reading for the purposes of providing a cover quote. If you’re looking for realism all wrapped up in that very indefinable magic of romance I was trying to describe above, I’d recommend this first novel very highly indeed. Engaging MCs, a vivid, uncompromising and extremely recognisable “Britpack” backdrop in London. I have to say, I rarely agree to review in my own field. It’s too close to home and I need to avoid cross-interference/fertilisation, hence my reliance on geology textbooks for those rainy afternoons when you just want to curl up in an armchair with a box of chocs and a stratification table. But Dal’s work grabbed me irresistibly. She definitely deserved that prestigious Lambda Literary finalist’s place, and I’m certain she has a bright future ahead. You can find out more about Dal at her website.

www.dalmaclean.com    –    @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

I’ve always had trouble with insta-love, mainly because I believe in it absolutely, experienced it during the mid-’80s, married the lady concerned, and here we are just about to celebrate our 33rd anniversary. However, conveying that in a novel remains the trickiest of feats, guaranteed to attract – understandably! – cries of, “That can’t possibly be real!” It’s a joy and a challenge for me to tackle that disbelief with the voice of experience. Mal falls more than a little bit in love-at-first-sight with Vivian in Cold Fusion, and I think that was my best attempt. I’ve become more of a slow-burn kind of author as time has gone by, simply because that thunderbolt is such a miracle, and over the years I’ve become more and more aware of my own good fortune in being so struck!

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

An amazing granite sculpture of a mermaid we found in a curio shop in a tiny village in wild west Cornwall. She was the beginning of my whole Cornish adventure, and certainly the spirit behind the Tyack & Frayne series that arose from my time there. She weighs a ton, is almost indestructible, and forever flings out one arm as if to say, “Go on! Whatever it is out there, go and find it!” She’s made from the bones of the land, and her copper-blue eyes tell the story of human history in this most romantic and yet uncompromising (and uncompromised) part of the world.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Sovereignty. I love that word. I spent a lot of my life in school trying to puzzle out what Shakespeare meant by it, what the difference in spirit was between the Plantagenets and Hanoverians, whether or not there was truth in the concept of the divine right of kings. As I began to recover my Pagan path and heritage, I became fascinated by the idea of the land, the earth, as the royal spirit of any nation, and the concept of a king who could only gain access to sovereignty by understanding and working with the land. It took me a long time, but I also finally understood that the real teaching of a Pagan path is to lead you to sovereignty over your own individual self, to be the person ultimately responsible for everything you do, to place the locus of control for your life back where it belongs – inside you, with all the pain and joy that entails. Yes, sovereignty.

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

Frank Herbert’s Dune. Not obviously romantic, although containing two passionate love stories. For me, this book captures the ultimate romance of place. Readers have been kind enough to say they enjoy the world-building in my stories: I hope I’ve always let the lessons of the Dune creation empower me. Total immersion. Full sensory feedback on every level. A comprehensive scientific (and brilliantly entertaining) study of a desert ecosystem, all underpinned by the magic of lonely, barely inhabited landscapes and the spice melange. Romantic for me because I fell in love with this place from cold, rainy Northumberland at an early age, powerful because I could see right there, and went on to try to attain for myself, what it took to create a wholly convincing and three-dimensional sense of location.

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

Has to be my dear friend Josh Lanyon  ( www.joshlanyon.com   –  @Amazon )  of course, in terms of total life-transformation. She is kind enough still to ask me, with concern, “Are you all right over there? What have I done to you?” And I can only say that, with all its stresses, insecurity, constantly shifting goalposts and fear of burnout, this writing game is still the finest way to live I could ever imagine, and to have been able to make this my career is an ongoing dream. Nearly seven years and 25+ books later, I still can’t quite believe it. Thank you, Josh!

Main Drawing:

Harper is generously giving away two e-books, winner’s choice from her backlist to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 16, 2017. (US only)

She’ll also be giving away more e-books as part of the US and international bundles, plus she’s sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway! (see below for more information)

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

Harper Fox is the author of many critically acclaimed M/M romance novels, including Stonewall Book Award-nominated Scrap Metal and Brothers of the Wild North Sea, a Publishers Weekly Best Book. Her novels are powerfully sensual, with a dynamic of strongly developed characters finding love and a forever future—after an appropriate degree of turmoil. She loves to show the romance implicit in everyday life, and she writes a sharp action scene too.

Harper lives with her partner Jane and their three demanding cats in beautiful rural Northumberland in the UK.

 

Learn more:

www.harperfox.net     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @harperfoxy

 

Buy Harper’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


MORE DRAWINGS!

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.

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

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week2@ReadARomanceMonth.com 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 Week2@ReadARomanceMonth.com 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 August@ReadARomanceMonth.com (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 ReadARomanceMonth.com.  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

  • Pamby50

    New author for me. One of the things I love about the month of August is that we have the opportunity to meet new authors and expand our reading. I like that you had a hard time trying to define what the power of love means to you.

  • Patty Vasquez

    Harper, you have certainly achieved the romance of place in your books. Your lush descriptions, the ability to capture the life of a place in words and show it to the reader through the eyes of the main characters is truly a talent worthy of mention. Your stories have stayed with me through the years; they are that powerful.

  • trix23

    Love Harper’s work, so it’s great to learn about what’s inspired it!

  • Toni

    I love your books. Thank you so much for sharing some of your influences and inspiration with us!

  • Kezia King

    I thought your post was really beautiful. I will definitely check out your books! Thank you for sharing! 🙂