Julie Ann Walker – Reading Between the Lines

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 Empowers Women

Romance! That word alone is enough to make some readers curl their lip and turn away in distain. As a romance writer, I’ve heard it all. They’re cheap. They’re poorly written. They’re pornography packaged as literature. They’re frivolous drivel for bored housewives.

Every time I’m presented with one of those arguments, I can’t help but read between the lines. What I find there is a big ol’ load of misogynistic boloney. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at each of the above points separately…

Number one: They’re cheap.

Okay, so like most genre fiction, romance rarely comes packaged in hardback editions with glossy book jackets and gilded pages. More often than not it arrives at the book stores in trade or mass market paperback form. (Or, since we’re living in the 21st Century, pops up on our electronic devices like magic.) But despite its “humbler” packaging, romance is a billion-dollar industry. That’s billion with a B! Romance makes up a reported 34% of the entire U.S. fiction market. Considering it’s a genre written by women, for women (For the most part. Hats off to all you male romance writers. You guys rock my socks!) that’s a whole lot of ladies making some dolla, dolla bills, y’all. So… cheap? Ha! More like the pillar upon which the fiction market stands!

Number two: They’re poorly written.

Like any genre, there are some bad romance apples out there. But let me assure you, they don’t spoil the bunch. Some of the most brilliant people I know pen romance. Lawyers, English professors, mathematicians, biologists… The list of academic accomplishments of many romance authors is mind-boggling. But here’s the catch. Ninety-nine percent of those romance authors are… say it with me… women!  Considering we still live in a “man’s world,” it doesn’t surprise me that female writers are brushed aside, or worse, treated with disdain.

Number three: They’re pornography packaged as literature.

Romance novels celebrate, extol, and honor women’s sexuality. For most of history, women were not allowed to explore their fantasies, speak of their desires, or exalt in sex the way men were. Just look at our lexicon. A man is a rogue, but a woman is a slut. A man is a playboy, but a woman is a whore. However, romance novels not only feature strong women who readily ask for what they want, get it, and then don’t feel the least bit guilty about it, but also these stories allow readers to explore their own fantasies and desires, to embrace their own sexuality and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the male of the species who has been doing all of that for… well, forever. That’s not pornography. That’s POWER!

Number four: They’re frivolous drivel for bored housewives.

Romance novels deal with subjects women are interested in. Namely: community, family, friendships, and the journey to finding and choosing love. Whether it’s a contemporary romance set in a small town with lovable and laughable secondary characters, a paranormal romance featuring reclusive werewolves and brooding vampires, or a romantic suspense rife with car chases and shootouts, at the hot, beating heart of every romance novel is a story that examines the doubts, conflicts, triumphs and tragedies that make up the human experience. And even though readers are guaranteed a happy ending, that doesn’t mean these books are full of fluff. Quite the contrary, whether they are light or dark, silly or sexy, full of angst or full of fun, romance novels are thought-provoking and packed with real issues. To dismiss them just because they appeal to the fairer sex is sexism at its worst.

To put it simply, romance empowers women, both those who read it and those who write it. And maybe that’s scary to some folks.

 

Julie Ann recommends:

Looking to be empowered? Then check out some of my favorite romance authors...

Suzanne Brockmann is the reigning queen of romantic suspense. Her heroes are alpha, hot, and oh-so-real. They’ll steal your breath and your heart. And the story lines? You’ll be swept away!

Suzanne Brockmann      –       suzannebrockmann.com     –      @Amazon

 

Kate Meader is da bomb when it comes to page-turning, heart-warming contemporary romance. Her characters are smart, tart, hilarious, and so-very-yummy.

Kate Meader      –      www.katemeader.com      –      @Amazon

 

Kate Baxter’s The Last True Vampire series is a must-read for paranormal lovers. Angsty, sexy, dark, and delicious. She takes the world of vampires and ups the ante by ten-fold!

Kate Baxter    –      authorkatebaxter.blogspot.com     –      @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

I received a fan letter once from a woman who’d just had back surgery. She was in the hospital, in immense pain, but the doctors wouldn’t give her any more morphine. She couldn’t escape her agony. That is… until her sister brought her a stack of my books. This woman wrote that she became so enthralled, so entertained by the series and my characters that for three straight days she was able to read and forget how badly she was hurting. If that doesn’t illustrate the Power of Romance to whisk a reader away, to transport them to another place and time, I don’t know what does.

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

I have a painting at the end of my hallway that my husband and I picked up in New Orleans. We were living down there for two months while I did research for an upcoming series. It reminds me of the good times we had, how lucky I am to do what I do, and how much I love the man who has stood by my side for the last twenty years.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Commitment

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

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. This book was very far outside my wheelhouse and revolved around a rather taboo subject. The fact that I fell in love with it and continue to think about it illustrates just how beautifully it was written.

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

My father. He’s always led by example. A man of reason, morals, loyalty, and dedication, he’s always made me proud to be his daughter.

 

Main Drawing:

Julie Ann Walker is generously giving away a copy of FUEL FOR FIRE, her latest release.  To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 24, 2017. (open to everyone)

 

She’ll be giving away more copies as part of the US and international bundles.

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

 


Julie Ann Walker has saved the world. Or… at least the characters in her books have. In real life Julie prefers vino over villains, baked goods over bullets, and massages over missions, so she gets her international intrigue fix by writing romantic suspense novels that have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Julie enjoys riding her bicycle along Chicago’s lake shore, fishing with her father, and going to baseball games with her husband, a self-confessed diehard Cubs fan.

To learn more about Julie, visit her at www.julieannwalker.com. Or follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/julieannwalkerauthor and/or Instagram: @julieannwalker_author.

 

Learn more:

julieannwalker.com     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor

 

Buy Julie Ann’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.

(Julie Ann is contributing to the US and international bundles.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week3@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 Week3@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 3 contests are Aug 17 through Aug. 24

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

  • mariannewestrich

    This genre really is a great escape. It’s gotten me through my mom’s fight with pancreatic cancer this year. She ultimately lost the fight, but was able to accomplish and do everything on her list. Who could ask for more! Thank you for sharing your talent with us!

  • Make Kay

    It IS absolutely infuriating that romance continues to be disparaged. Even my own hubby makes fun of it occasionally, which just makes me want to shove him into a closet I’m so tired of women not being valued

  • Sue G.

    Nice write up! Some people you are just never going to change their mind about romances…it’s really their loss.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I find the romance genre to be so much more than it is thought to be. You can find just about any kind of story that you desire to read.

  • Jayne Hendry

    Love Julie-Ann’s book! a one click author for me!

  • cheryl c.

    Great “power of romance” story!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Well said….love your words here and in your books.

  • Patty Vasquez

    It’s always disheartening to have people bash the romance genre. I really like the fact that so many well-respected and well-spoken writers and readers are standing up to the nay-sayers. Thank you for all you do as a writer to support our community!

  • Glenda

    I love how you address each point the naysayers usually bring up

  • May

    So true. 🙂 I love how books can make a person escape!

  • Julie Ann Walker

    Thanks so much for all the support! The romance community rocks!

  • Ren

    Thanks for the wonderful interview. I love your books! I’ll have to check out Kate Baxter’s series. I love vampire books but for some reason haven’t read them in a long while.

  • Tori Valenzuela

    Yes the power of good books is overwhelming. I found my current favorite series in a very low point in my life, a year after my mother passed from cancer. I was 9 months pregnant with my first child at the time as well so all those wanting my mother, scared not sure what was going to happen. Wishing my mom was with me for the birth of my baby. This series pulled me out of the depression I was quickly falling into, helped me smile, laugh and keep moving no matter what.

  • Kezia King

    What a great post! People to make fun of romance have no idea what they’re talking about. I know because I was once one of them. I thought it was trash and I had never read one. Obviously, I was a fool- as soon as I actually picked one up and read it I was hooked for life. It’s amazing how you can form very definite opinions with almost zero information. *sigh*

  • Pamby50

    I have to thank RARM for introducing your books to me. You were a new author a couple of years ago. I read the first book in your Black Knights series and I was hooked. I couldn’t read them fast enough.