Sara Flynn – Lessons In Romance

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

The Relief of Finding Romance

I came from a challenging childhood. Abuse of all kinds was rampant. My yardstick of what to expect from a man was extremely low.

If a man said he loved me, didn’t hit me too often, didn’t chase me around the living room wielding an axe or a butcher knife, I was trained that I should be grateful that he saw something worth loving in me.

Then I had children. First, a beautiful daughter with brown eyes, with flecks of green. Then, a baby boy whose brown eyes were so dark they almost looked black. And they would look at me, their faces tilting toward me, like buttercups to the sun.

I would watch them sleep, their thick, dark lashes fanning across their flushed, plump cheeks, so innocent, so trusting. Trusting me to create a home of safety for them. One filled with peace and kindness.

The weight of that responsibility sometimes felt crushing.

When I read the newspapers in the mornings, the world seemed such an unforgiving place, full of meanness and cruelty and vice. The bad news was overwhelming, and more often than not I wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.

I didn’t, of course. I was a mother. My children didn’t ask to be born, and it was my responsibility to be there for them.

Quite by accident, while I was in an airport enroute to or from a movie location, I stumbled across an Amanda Quick romance novel, Mistress.

Well, what a relief.

I stopped reading the newspaper daily and started reading romance novels instead—romance novels with strong, opinionated heroines, with men who valued them, not in spite of, but because of the women’s strength and uniqueness.

In the beginning, I was especially partial to romantic suspense, I think because bad things would happen, but love and kindness would always triumph! I could relate. Now I’ve branched out and also enjoy other romance genres.

Romance novels taught me that it was okay to expect more from a relationship. They helped get me started on the journey to my own personal Happy-Ever-After, and my children brought me the rest of the way. In protecting and defending them, I learned how to protect and defend myself, how to stand strong, how to say no and how to leave a challenging marriage.

Some people say that romance novels give women unrealistic expectations of what life has to offer them.

I disagree.

I think romance novels educate women like me. Let us know we have a right to be treated with respect and love. We have a right to be an equal voice in a relationship. We have a right to enjoy our bodies and the act of making love. We are given the tools, a yardstick with which to evaluate the men we decide to allow into our lives.

This, to me, is the true power of romance novels. And it gives me great joy to add my voice to the vast array of romance novels out there, available to be savored and enjoyed.

 

Sara recommends:

Clearly, I recommend Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle

Jayne has a zillion books that have been on the New York Times bestseller list, and I’ve read them all.

jayneannkrentz.com    –    @ Amazon

 

I also enjoy Eloisa James, especially her, Desperate Duchesses, Essex Sisters and Fairy Tales Series.

www.eloisajames.com   –   @Amazon

 

Sherry Thomas’s The Fitzhugh Series is wonderful.

www.sherrythomas.com   –    @Amazon

 

Sarah MacLean’s The Rules of Scoundrels Series is a great group of reads.

www.sarahmaclean.net   –   @Amazon

 

And, of course, I love Lisa Kleypas, her contemporaries and historicals. I’m especially fond of her Bow Street Series.

www.lisakleypas.com    –   @Amazon

 

I also recommend L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. (I know this is six authors, but I couldn’t resist!)

 


Questions for the Author:

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

I attended the RT Booklovers Conference for the first time this spring. It was a revelation. The entire hotel was filled to the brim with romance readers, romance writers, romance audio artists, cover models. I loved the joie de vive, how we all were loud and proud about our affection for all things romance. One of my favorite memories was the Smart Bitches Trashy Novels session. (smartbitchestrashybooks.com) It was like a noisy slumber party with gummy bears and a room stuffed to the gills with passionate romance readers, all of us calling out the titles of our favorite books and why we loved them. So many genres I never even knew existed. And, oh my, how everyone’s face glowed when they spoke about the books they loved.

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

My mother, who recently passed away, gave me my grandmother’s engagement ring. I wear it every day, and I feel her love and presence with me.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

One of my favorite words has always been the word cozy, and it’s been a lifelong goal to create and relish the luxury of a cozy life.

There was a man in my past, with whom I was passionately in love. My heart broke a little when he informed me that cozy was his least favorite word in the English dictionary. For him the word meant suffocation, lack of air, loss of freedom, musty old ladies and tea. “No,” I said, feeling quite desperate. “It means a warm house and tasty food in your belly, and love and laughter, and safety and comfort and money coming in to pay the bills!”

“Bah,” he said. “I hate the word.” To my much younger self, hearing that was like a blow to the belly, as if the essence of me was what he hated.

Now, my beloved husband, Don, he loves the word cozy! And we are heading toward our seventeenth year of happy-ever-after.

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

Things touch us for different reasons. What I flashed to when I read this question was Lorraine Heath’s When The Marquess Falls (A Hellions of Havisham Novella). I read it on the plane to the RT Convention and found myself crying. The reason this novella sprang to mind is because I disliked Marquess of Marsden in the previous novels, quite strongly, actually. I didn’t like the way he talked to his son or his son’s fiancée. I felt he shared inappropriately. I almost didn’t purchase the novella because it was from his POV, but I needed something to read to take my mind off the fact that I was in a plane hurling through space.

So to find myself, not only caring about the Marquess, but crying over his loss was a weird sort of happiness after I had dismissed him. I loved being surprised. Love it when such a surprise happens in life, or in books.

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

My acting teacher, Peggy Feury, changed my life. She saw something in me and believed in me, and gradually I began to see something in myself. She passed away in 1984, and I still miss her.

Main Drawing:

Sara is generously giving away a copy of SOLACE ISLAND to one lucky reader (winner’s choice, e-book or paper).  To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST Sept 3, 2017. (US only)

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

 


She may be best known for her acclaimed Golden Globe-winning lead performance in the movie “Agnes of God,” but Meg Tilly is taking on an exciting new persona these days, as debut romance novelist Sara Flynn.

After successfully publishing six standout young adult and literary women’s fiction novels, the Canadian American actress/author decided to write the kind of books she loves to read—romance novels. Her first romance, SOLACE ISLAND, debuted at the 2017 RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta, where Meg, as Sara Flynn, co-emceed the popular romance fan convention’s awards ceremony.

Set on an island in the Pacific Northwest, SOLACE ISLAND tells the suspenseful story of a woman, dumped by her business partner/fiancé during her bachelorette party, who discovers a rewarding new career, romance and threats on her life in an idyllic vacation community. Two more Sara Flynn romances set on Solace Island will follow.

At the age of 14, the multi-talented Tilly started dance lessons and developed into a gifted ballet dancer. After she danced in the movie “Fame,” a serious back injury forced her to give up ballet, and she turned her creative energy to acting. Moving to Los Angeles and studying with renowned acting teacher Peggy Fuery, she subsequently landed television roles and then her first film, “Tex,” opposite Matt Dillon. Shortly thereafter she booked the role of Chloe in “The Big Chill.” Then came her performance in the title role of “Agnes of God.” Tilly’s portrayal of a novitiate nun who confesses her involvement in a virginal conception, opposite Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft, garnered that Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.  Other film credits include “Valmont,” “The Two Jakes,” “Leaving Normal” “Masquerade” and “Body Snatchers.”

In 1994, Tilly decided to take a break from acting to focus on raising her children. She continued to study and grow as a writer. SINGING SONGS (Penguin/Dutton, a Barnes & Noble Great New Writers Selection 1994) was her first novel, followed by another adult novel, GEMMA (St. Martin’s Press).  Her first YA novel, PORCUPINE (Tundra Books), was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize, The Canadian Libraries Association Best Children’s Book 2008, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year, Ontario Library Best Bets 2008 and was a finalist for the Sheila A Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. Next came FIRST TIME (Orca), a 2009 Golden Eagle Award Nominee, a 2009 YALSA Quick Picks and 2010 CCBC Best Books. Her fifth novel, A TASTE OF HEAVEN (Puffin Books) was shortlisted for the 2014 Libris Young Reader Book of the Year, a 2014 Diamond Willow Award and won the 2014/15 Chocolate Lilly Award. BEHIND THE SCENES (Puffin) was published in 2014

Tilly has sold screenplays to MGM/UA, Sony Pictures, NBC, Kidro Productions and ATO Pictures.

When her youngest child went off to college, Tilly decided to dip her toe back into the acting world. She landed the role of Lorna Corbett in the popular Canadian “Bomb Girls” series (2012-2014), which won the Gracie Award for Best TV Drama.

Tilly has been seen most recently opposite Brad Pitt in the 2017 Netflix feature film “War Machine.”  Directed by David Michod, the film is a satire of America’s war with Afghanistan and the people running the military campaign.  Tilly plays the role of the almost-too-patient wife of the General (Pitt).

Tilly has three grown children and resides with her husband in the Pacific Northwest. She is currently at work writing that second Solace Island novel.

Learn more:

saraflynn.com     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @SaraFlynRomance

 

Buy Sara’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.

(Sara is contributing to the US and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

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

  • Jodi B

    Just ordered a copy of Solace Island. Thank you for being a part of this.

    • mt

      Hi Jodi! I’ve been enjoying checking in through out the month and reading the posts and Q&A’s. Thanks so much for ordering my book. Big hug. Hope you like it.

  • Sue G.

    Wow…kudos to you for what you have been through. Sometimes it is nice to turn off the world and dive into a happy place that romance books brings. 🙂

    • mt

      Thank you, Sue! And you’re right it is one of my great pleasures to tuck into bed or a nice hot bath with great romance, and a titch of candy.

  • Melonie Johnson

    I absolutely love that it was an Amanda Quick novel that first brought you to romance books. She is on my short list of forever-favorites and often a go-to I suggest (it lures readers new to the genre right in!). If you’ve never listened to the audiobook version of many of AQ’s novels with Barbara Rosenblat narrating – I highly recommend! A fun way to revisit an old friend 😉 And as a former drama teacher/acting coach – it made my heart happy to read about your teacher who touched your life, and that the experience has stayed with you.

    • mt

      I adore Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle! Absolutely adore her. When I found out that she had blurbed my book it was one of the most exciting days of my life! I couldn’t believe that my major romance hero had not only read my book, but really liked it! And then when I met her via email. Holy cow! What a kind, lovely woman she is.
      Teaching people how to discover and dive into their characters requires a special talent. And in your work, not only do your students explore their character’s lives, but they also get to explore other roads and ways of life that they otherwise would not have experienced. I think acting can be a great liberator to figuring out who one is, because you can experiment in an imaginary world with the parameters of the play or movie script to keep you safe. How lovely that you spent a portion of your life giving that gift to your students and clients.

      • Wow that must have been such a magical conversation between Jayne Ann Krentz and you! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall 🙂

        • mt

          When I got the news, read the blurb, I started hyperventilating, couldn’t stop shaking. Weird, huh? I’ve met a zillion famous people over the years, movie stars, rock stars, financial geniuses, Prime ministers, royalty, heads of state and what totally knocks me on my ass? Jayne Ann Krentz! Hey, I’m a romance lover, I’ve got my priorities straight! 🙂

      • Read-A-Romance

        I love Jayne, and I’m so glad you’ve had the opportunity to get to know her. She’s always been a passionate and eloquent romance advocate too, so how lovely that she brought your own romance experience full circle. What a great story. xoxo

  • Kareni

    Thanks for sharing some of your history, Sara/Meg. Best wishes with your writing!

    • mt

      Thank you so much for the good wishes, Kareni. Hm… your Sara/Meg just made me realize that I’ve been posting here, via my Meg twitter instead of my SaraFlyn.romance one. Eeep…

  • cheryl c.

    Very inspirational life story! I am looking forward to reading your books.

    • mt

      The wonderful thing about having had to over come so many challenges is that I am so very, very grateful for all the blessings, little and big, that are present in my life today.

  • rebecca moe

    What an inspiring post! And so great that you went to the RT convention. It’s definitely on my bucket list…

    • mt

      Soooo much fun! The hard part was choosing which things to attend, because in every time slot I had checked off at least 2 that I really wanted to attend.

      • rebecca moe

        Oh, I can totally believe that! I’m sure I’d have the exact same problem. Maybe we could get a time turner…?

        • mt

          Hee…hee… I dragged my husband to RT17. In the beginning we went to the same talks and events, because I was feeling shy but by the second day, I made him go to all the talks I couldn’t get to and tell me all about them!

          • rebecca moe

            LOL, brilliant plan!

  • Tori Valenzuela

    I had a teacher who also inspired me and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She helped me though rough patches in my childhood and is now a very close friend!

    • mt

      A inspiring teacher is one of the greatest gifts ever. So glad you had someone in your life to help you traverse the rough spots. When I think about how Peggy changed my life, I wonder how many other people had also been touched and shaped by her. Peggy taught for many years. In the four years I studied with her, my classmates included, Sean Penn, Eric Stolz, Lilly Tomlin, Rachel Ward, Michelle Pfeiffer… and those are only the names that spring to mind, there were many more. She helped me so very, very much. I found my voice, found my self through exploring the characters and plays she gave me to work on.

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    I loved your story. Thank you so much for sharing. As I told another author, romance novels mean a lot to many people and affect them in positive ways the author may never have meant. Each of us are in different places and find ways to survive the obstacles, abuse, or other snags in life. If books are the answer, more power to them. For me it’s been a way to travel to other places, times, and lives. Sometimes it’s an escape from the demands of everyday life.

    • mt

      Yes! It’s like that for me, too. I don’t need to escape now, but boy do I love reading about happy-ever-afters. Now, for me, it’s also about getting to travel to other times, and places, and dip my toe into experiencing these other worlds and lives.

  • Ellen

    Cozy is a great word. (One of my favorites.) So glad your husband loves it, too. Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle always deliver a good read. Thanks for sharing.

    • mt

      I just finished rereading her Jayne Castle St. Helen’s Series. So much fun! I had my old dog-eared paperbacks with the yellowing pages, but when the 3-pack showed up on Amazon I found myself clicking on Buy. My justification for buying e-books of physical books I already had was I could make the font big, and read in bed as I wouldn’t have to wear my reading glasses. Cozy, cozy, cozy!

  • flchen1

    Congratulations on paving the way with transformations of your own, and reminding us our power, and the power of love, and the power of cozy! 🙂

    • mt

      Thank you for your lovely comment. The thing I’ve noticed is that when I look back, the times that felt the bleakest, were things seemed the absolute darkest are when I grew personally and found my inner strength. Those challenges are what helped form me into the person I am today.

  • Beautiful post, Sarah! Thank you for sharing your path to romance – and a wonderful recommendation list. My faves as well!

    • mt

      Hey Lenora, I went a little crazy with my recommend list. Have so many favourites. It was hard to whittle it down to six! I enjoyed meeting you at RT as well as your, Blame It On The Duke, especially the extravagant parties scenes, so decadent, with such great juicy details. It was a lot of fun!

      • I adored meeting you as well — you were the best MC ever! And I was totally sucked in by Solace Island. Luke was dreamy and the sister’s relationship was so true to life. And it was super hot! Is there going to be another book in the series?

        • mt

          Glad you enjoyed it! My sister, Jen has always pushed me to take chances, to dream big. Helps me put together outfits for any public appearance thing, because I am hopeless. My sister Becky is super feisty, an artist, and always has my back. So I used a bit of both of them in Eve. And yes, I am working Solace Stolen, which is the second book in the series. 🙂

  • Pamby50

    Amanda Quick/ JAK/ Jayne Castle. A wonderful author to bring you into the power of romance. It is on my bucket list to go to one of these conventions.

    • mt

      Hi Pam,
      It has been my great privilege to have been shepherded into the romance world by Nancy Berland, Cissy Hartley, and Jayne Ann Krentz. I owe them a lot and hope that someday I’ll be in a position to pay their kindness forward.

  • Jennifer Fairchild

    I love Amanda Quick as well. And what a wonderful story about romance bringing hope into your life.

    • mt

      She is the absolute BEST!

  • Lorelei

    Very touching article, Meg. I feel the same way about romance novels. There’s a lot to learn from them, too. I had so much fun reading Solace Island and sharing with you. Looking forward to the next one!

    • mt

      Hi Lorelei,
      Thank you so much. I received the topic and sat down and wrote what was in my heart. Quite a different feeling writing something in the safety of my writing room than when I saw it out there for everyone to see. Felt a little like, oh my, why did I say that? But then everyone was so kind and the vulnerable feeling faded. As you know, I was thrilled that you enjoyed Solace Island, felt blessed that you shared your thoughts as you read. So much fun!

  • Glenda

    Oh Meg, so many things I can comment on and relate to in your post!! My condolences on your mom’s passing – I’ve been there and it does get easier. Having children changes your world view SO much. Life is no longer just about you and your significant other — you have more significant ones to care for. And YES! I wish more women (and men) could learn the lessons about romances being guidlines of how we deserve to be treated! I’m lucky in that I met a man who showed me that the relationship I was in was toxic in so many ways; and that while life isn’t perfect, I still didn’t deserve the abuse I was tolerating.

    Thank you!

    • mt

      Thank you, Glenda. I’m so glad you found a way out. Sending love to you and your loved ones. xo

  • Kezia King

    What a great post! I absolutely agree that romance educates us.

    • mt

      It’s been fun getting to interact with you all. My thanks to Bobbi for inviting me to participate. 🙂