Lucy Parker – Humanity At Its Best

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

Taking The Best Parts With Me

I grew up with romance. I ‘shipped characters before I knew what that meant. I had decided opinions on whether Mary Anne and Logan were right together, or if Elizabeth could do better than Todd, or if Kwame and Gi on Captain Planet might make a better couple than Linka and Wheeler. I devised epic love stories for my dolls. My one Ken doll in a sea of Barbies might have lost multiple body parts thanks to my older brother performing emergency surgery, but an anatomically-incorrect, headless man with one leg has never been so popular with the ladies. As I got a bit older, I moved on to teen romances and then, with an introduction to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and the discovery of a pretty racy Mills and Boon that I read under the covers and found fantastically scandalous, it was straight into adult contemporaries and historicals, and I never looked back.

One of the derogatory comments that I sometimes see leveled against romance novels is that they give young minds a skewed perception of the world, that a person who grows up reading romance will have unrealistic expectations and expect everything to be hearts and flowers and a happy ending. Romance novels have shaped the way I see the world, but they’ve helped to open my eyes, not clouded my vision with a rosy filter. These books have influenced my passions and my knowledge and my sense of self on a fundamental level. I’ve learned about history from romance novels, about human nature, and different cultures, and disabilities, about prejudice and hate, and love and grief. I’ve seen parts of the world and sides of humanity, both beautiful and intensely ugly, that I would have been blind to without authors letting me borrow their thoughts, feelings and experiences through their words.

When things in the world, in your house, in your body and mind, are bleak and challenging, the relief of enveloping yourself in a comfort read is indescribable, but it’s not necessarily about escaping into a fantasy world. We see universal truth in fiction, and that’s partly why it’s comforting. Romance novels are not only a celebration of the romantic love between two people, or three people, or five shape-shifters, they’re a celebration of humanity at its best, a much-needed reminder when in life we’re so often faced with humanity at its worst. To love another person more than yourself, to sacrifice, to want to give up but to persevere anyway, to forgive, to hold on to hope when all else is gone: that’s the powerful message in romance, and it’s one we all need, now as much as ever. I don’t read romance and then walk through life looking for the fairy tale; I read those stories and I take the best parts of them with me, a thousand fictional voices opening up new ways of thinking and seeing.

 

Lucy recommends:

Robin D. Owens   –     robindowens.com     –   @Amazon

The Celta’s Heartmates series is one of my favourite fated-mate series, and just romance series in general. Awesome, multi-layered world-building and great romance; there really isn’t a book in the series that I wouldn’t recommend. Also, people have telepathic animal “Fam” companions, that are sometimes adorable and sometimes annoying as hell, and live in sentient houses, and I like it all. (www.robindowens.com)

 

Julianne Donaldson   –      www.juliannedonaldson.com     –   @Amazon

Julianne Donaldson’s “Edenbrooke” is one of my favourite historical romances. It’s not a steamy romance, but it’s such an intensely romantic romance. (www.juliannedonaldson.com)

 

Laura Florand –     lauraflorand.com     –   @Amazon

Laura Florand has a writing style entirely her own; it’s lyrical and gorgeous and paints such vivid pictures of the French settings that you can almost smell the flowers and taste the chocolate and see the sexy Frenchmen. She has two main series, but my favourite is probably the Chocolate series, because—well, chocolate. And brooding chocolatiers. (www.lauraflorand.com)


Questions for the Author:

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

For about a year in my early twenties, I struggled badly with depression. I felt like I’d lost myself, lost all sense of passion and enthusiasm and humour, and everything that made me me. It was like I’d fallen into a black hole and I couldn’t imagine ever being able to climb out again. But there is always a flicker of light in what can seem like relentless darkness; there’s help and there’s hope. In Kresley Cole’s book “The Master” (a fave!), the heroine and hero say to each other when they’re hurt: “Better things await you”. That reminder that good things are still yet to come, however bad it seems right now, is something that I think everybody should hold on to. I don’t remember the moment I realised I was climbing out of that black period, but I do remember, with crystal clarity, the day I was able to pick up one of my keeper-shelf books again and see the story, not just words on a page. I didn’t so much lose myself in the plot, then, as find myself. I loved—and still love—those characters so much that it was like reuniting with old friends, and being able to actually feel the emotions with them again was a gift that I haven’t taken for granted since.

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

This would literally look like a case of one’s (wo)man’s trash being another (wo)man’s treasure. In the top drawer of my jewellery box, I have the pink foil wrapper from a Barbie chocolate lollipop that I ate a long time ago. It was a Valentine’s Day present from a so-called anonymous admirer — a.k.a. my Grandad. From the time that I was very small until the year that he died, my grandfather would deliver unsigned cards and chocolates to my cousin and me on Valentine’s Day. He had a Santa Claus level of stealth going on; neither of us ever caught him doing it, but the gifts appeared every year without fail. And when I look at that wrapper, I remember him, I hear his voice, and I see the twinkle in his eyes when he blandly denied all knowledge of where that lollipop came from. And for the rest of my life, that love is what Valentine’s Day will mean to me.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

“Believe.”  To believe in yourself, your goals, your dreams, your loves, that you’ll reach where you want to be, that there will be amazing times, that you’ll get through the bad times, that things will be okay. Believe.

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

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of the books that’s stayed with me the longest and the hardest. I read it at school when I was a child, it profoundly affected me, and I’ve never forgotten it.

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

There are so many people I could credit here, but in the spirit of books, I’m going to go with J.K. Rowling. In my teens, the Harry Potter books gave me my first experience of having so much anticipation waiting for a book to be published—and it was such a global phenomenon; there was really nothing like the build-up to each HP release. But more significantly, to me, was that Harry Potter was my first real fandom; I made a group of online friends who still offer me incredible support today. I’ve written stories since I was little, like most writers, and, also like most writers, I wanted to be a published author from a very young age. However, there’s a huge jump between wanting that in theory and actually finishing a full novel and putting your work out there, and the friends I met through J.K. Rowling’s books played a huge part in giving me the motivation to try.

Main Drawing:

Lucy is generously giving away a signed paperback copy of Act Like It for the main drawing, (open to everyone). To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST September 2, 2017. 

She’ll be giving away e-copies as part of the the international bundles.

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

 


Lucy Parker lives in New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes, and vineyards. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and art galleries, and doodles unrecognizable flowers when she has writer’s block. When she’s not writing, working or sleeping, she happily tackles the towering pile of to-be-read books that never gets any smaller.

Thankfully, there’s always another story waiting.

Learn more:

www.lucyparkerfiction.com      |     Twitter @_LucyParker

 

Buy Lucy’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.

(Lucy is contributing to the international bundles.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week4@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 Week4@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 4 contests are Aug 25 through Aug. 31

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

  • Sue G.

    How sweet what your Grandpa did every year for you! Those types of things make for the best memories!

  • cheryl c.

    Yes, getting lost in a good book can be a great relief when life is difficult.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I love the lollipop wrapper from your Grandfather. My Granddaddy called me on my birthday every year to sing to me. He has been gone for nearly 7 years and I really miss that.

  • Kareni

    I enjoyed reading your post, Lucy. It’s always fun to find a column here by an author whose books I’ve read with pleasure — all of them including the Elle Pierson title; I definitely look forward to more to come. My husband and I visited Dunedin a few years ago when our daughter was doing a semester abroad at the UofO — it was a lovely place, and now I want some Jaffa Balls! Happy writing.

  • flchen1

    Thank you–what a great interview!

  • Shannon O’Shea Schmieg

    Laura Florand recommended your work to me for my book club!

  • Pamby50

    Loved the story about your Granddad! I do agree with you about romance. My kids know I love to watch Jeopardy. They asked me how I knew so much about other subjects? I told them I got that information from reading romance novels. They are not only well written but well researched.

  • Liliya Bondarenko

    I love that you included Laura Florand on this! Her and Lucy’s books have been my favorite this year!

  • Abbie Gaile Gigante

    OMG I LOVE LUCY. I’m an international fan that’s why its hard for me to get signed copies of her books. Thanks for these awesome giveaway and your generosity! Love you guys!

  • Patty Vasquez

    I LOVE your stories, Act Like It and Pretty Face. Last April, my family and I flew to my nephew’s wedding. I am not a happy flyer. I read one of the books on the flight down and one of the books on the flight back home. I was totally wrapped up in the books and hardly worried at all about being in a flying cigar tube 35,000 feet above solid ground. I’m really, really glad you saw that flicker of light and kept on going.

  • Ellen

    Such a special story about your Granddad. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cathleene

    I love that part where you said romance stories open up our eyes rather than intensifying that rosy filter. Not only opening our eyes but also contributing a lot more knowledge, some we may never have known if we haven’t read it from those books. I’ve been wanting to read your books so this would be a really great chance to start on them! ❤

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    Thank you so much for sharing your post. You described, so well, why I read romance books and how important they are in my life.

  • AmandaS

    This is such a wonderful post! The romance genre has impacted my life in similar ways, so I agree with so many things said here. There is so much power in romance. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Tori Valenzuela

    Beautiful momento to what sounds like an amazing man! Thank you so much for sharing

  • May

    What a great and sweet story. 🙂

  • Kezia King

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Kristine R

    I really loved reading The Master by Kresley Cole too. Romance stories are certainly the best