August 15 – Sally MacKenzie

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here –  and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Sally MacKenzie is doing both the Q&A and the author takeover.

This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.

Happy August. Isn’t life better with #ATouchofRomance?! xo

2018 RARM Questions:

Why do you write books? 

Because books are magical! As a child, I remember really, really wanting magic to be real. I read mostly fantasy and science fiction—and Georgette Heyer’s Regencies. (Clearly, I’ve never been one to live in the here and now.) In fifth grade, I wrote a story that made the class laugh in all the right places—that’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Over the years, I’ve worked with words in all sorts of ways, from writing federal regulations to school auction programs. But it took me until my first son was headed to college to try my hand at romance. Now I write because I have deadlines, but also because this sort of writing lets me explore emotional issues in a way nothing else does. Plus creating a world out of nothing really is magical.

 

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Starting a new book. I’m writing my nineteenth romance now, and the fear is real every single time I type “Chapter One.” Some writers are energized by beginnings, excited by all the possibilities. Not me. I stare at the blank screen and try not to think about the journey ahead, the hundreds of choices I’ll have to make, the emotions I’ll have to wrestle with, the thousands of words I’ll have to write to get to my two favorites: The End. I seem to be what’s called a “pants-er” among romance writers. I don’t plot—I let the characters direct me. So often when I sit down at my computer I have no idea where I’m going to go that day. Which sounds sort of crazy—and it is! It’s terrifying, too, but it’s also magical. I’m always amazed, at the end of a successful writing session, to see that I have indeed written words. (And I hope they’re good words that I’ll keep the next day.)

 

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

I have to have a happy ending! When I was about middle school age, I read Gone with the Wind. Many people love that book, but it scarred me for life. I think I cried for days after I finished it, and for years afterward, I checked a book’s ending to see if it was happy before I committed to reading it.

I was an English major in college so I’ve read a good bit of Literature. But while a lot of what I read in school stimulated my mind, most of it didn’t touch my heart. Books lost their magic and became things to analyze.

I want to write stories that speak to a reader’s heart. And hey, why have a sad ending if you can have a happy one? Real life is beyond my control, but I’m the queen of my books, and I decree that all stories will end happily!

 

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.

At the risk of having my romance-writing license revoked, I have to say I’m drawing a blank here. Anything hearts-and-flowers-ish or even lofty-thought-ish tends to get a snigger and an eyeroll here. Maybe it comes from years of living in a heavily male household—two brothers, no sisters and then one husband and four sons (no daughters). That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of love in my house. I’ll be married thirty-nine years this Saturday to my soulmate. (I say sincerely, but with a snort and an eye roll.) He still makes me laugh and still often knows what I’m going to say before I say it. And he cooks and does the grocery shopping! Now that’s romantic.

 

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

Be mindful—live in the moment. Don’t worry about the future or regret the past. And always, always choose kindness (and wear sunscreen).

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

For my new series—the first book, What Ales the Earl released July 31—I had to research the history of brewing. Two historical tidbits caught my fancy. First, our popular image of witches with pointy hats and broomsticks may well derive from the alewives of olden times. (And may be the work of men moving into the business and trying to push the women out.) Second, by the Regency brewing had largely moved from a home-based, female pursuit to a commercial, male-run enterprise. And with the bigger business came the chance for bigger disasters. Hence the London Beer Flood of 1814. An enormous vat of beer gave way, demolishing the brewery and the surrounding neighborhood. Sadly, eight people lost their lives, literally drowning in beer.

 

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)

The only voice I have in my head is my internal editor. She is very annoying. She’s always telling me that I can’t write, the scene is stupid, the characters are boring, that I’ll never reach “The End,” but if I do, my editor will hate the story. And if my editor somehow lets the book be published, readers everywhere will despise and detest it.

My internal editor—the life of the party. I just try to mute her and carry on.

 

If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

A lot of places and times popped into my head with this question. I’d love to spend a month in California near the West Coast grandbaby—though a month wouldn’t be enough. Someone needs to invent a teleporter STAT! And what Regency writer wouldn’t want to spend a month in England in the early 1800s to see what life then was really like?

But then I thought I’d like to spend those thirty-one days one day at a time and drop into my mother’s life when she was a girl, a young woman, a young mother raising my brothers, an older mother raising me. One of the things I find so interesting is the dichotomy between the way the world sees us—the roles we play (mother, wife, daughter, sister, mother-in-law, grandmother, employee, boss)—and how we see ourselves, who we think we really are. My mother died in 2006—she was 88 and had had a good, long life—but I was still deep into parenting my sons. Now that I have more time and perspective, I have lots of questions—but she’s not here to answer them. And she was pretty reticent, so I’m not sure how much she’d want to talk about her life.

 

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?

I am always—every single time—surprised and delighted when someone tells me she read one of my books and loved it. How amazing—how magical!—that words I struggled to form into sentences created people and places and emotions in someone else and made her smile.

 

Sally recommends:

I suppose I shouldn’t admit this here, but now that I’m writing romance, I don’t read as much of it as I used to. So, for recommendations I’m going to go back to some authors I loved when I was “just a reader” and whose work probably influenced my own.

In a class by herself is the mother of the modern Regency romance, Georgette Heyer. A librarian introduced me to Georgette’s books when I was around twelve years old. I loved them—though I remember thinking even a thirty-year-old hero was old! (And now I think some of Heyer’s heroines are far too young.)

Georgette Heyer    –    @Amazon

 

When I was busy raising my four sons, I would go out to lunch with my mother once a month—except in the summer when the boys were out of school. We always stopped at Borders (RIP) to check out that month’s Signet Regencies. Two of my many auto buys were Mary Balogh and Joan Wolf. (My husband looked askance at my purchases. Ha! Little did he—or I—know I was actually doing market research.)

Mary Balogh    –     marybalogh.com     –    @Amazon

Joan Wolf    –    www.joanwolf.com   –   @Amazon

 


USA Today bestselling author and Washington, D. C., native Sally MacKenzie writes funny, sexy romances set in her favorite time period (other than the present): Regency England. Two of her books—The Naked King and Bedding Lord Ned—made ALA Booklist’s 101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years: 2017 Edition.

A former federal regulation writer, recovering parent volunteer, mother of four (and grandma to three), and middle-of-the-pool Masters swimmer, she loves to research historic sites and hike through—and frequently get lost in—the English countryside with her long-suffering husband.

Find out more at www.sallymackenzie.net

 

Buy Sally’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!

 

 

Authors on The Romance of Reading page:

Authors on the Romance of Reading FB page:

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  Regina Kyle

17  –  Mimi Milan                 💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

23  –  TBA                               💜         24  –   Talia Surova

27  –  Lisa Patton                    💜        28  –  Tracey Livesay

29  –  Danelle Harmon          💜        30  –  Minerva Spencer

*   31   –    Christina Lauren (modified guest host)

August 14 – Sharla Lovelace

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here –  and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Jeannie Moon is doing both the Q&A and the author takeover.

This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.

Happy August. Isn’t life better with #ATouchofRomance?! xo

2018 RARM Questions:

 

Why do you write books? 

I write because I always have characters living out stories in my head. LOL. I always have. Once I realized the joy of writing them down and structuring them into books, it got a little less crowded up there.

 

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t know about courageous, but for an introvert like me, public events where the spotlight is on me are terrifying. Takes quite a bit of gearing up mentally to get ready for those. Other than that, I did accomplish a bucket list item of ziplining through the rainforest in Jamaica this year. Which was both terrifying and so awesome! I loved it and will do it again, but I am hardcore afraid of heights so it was a big deal for me.

 

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

I have tried to write other genres or focus on plots without romance, and I just can’t seem to pull it off. Romance always finds its way in, I can’t help myself, so I embrace it and make it the best I can make it. I adore the push-pull teasing dance of romantic and sexual tension, and that “feeling” when characters look at each other and have that moment and you know that love has entered the building. Omigosh, I love that so much.

 

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.

Oh wow, that’s hard, because to me, real life romance is the day-to-day stuff that we sometimes take for granted and have to back up and remember to appreciate. Cooking supper when I have to work late on the day job. Surprising me with cleaning the house while I’m at a conference and come home to that. Taking my hand as I walk through the living room and pulling me into a silly dance just for the hell of it. OH! And reading my books! My husband is not a reader at all, but he reads every one of my books anyway and helps me brainstorm when I get stuck. That would be the equivalent of me going deer hunting and shooting a deer for him if he was struck suddenly blind, so let me tell you, that’s about as romantic as it gets. LOL.

 

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

Don’t settle. Be fearless. Stand your ground. Don’t ever change who you are.

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

When I first started the storm chaser Heart Of The Storm series, I interviewed a real storm chaser. Learning all the ins and outs was fascinating, because I’ve always been intrigued by storms, but I was a little bummed to find out that my favorite show, Twister, was a big groaner by storm chasers everywhere. Evidently, they got everything wrong in a chaser’s world, and that made me sad! I still watch it, though. 😉

 

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)

Not too much of a problem until the end of a story. I’m pretty monogamous to the story I’m working on, those characters take over everything. But toward the end, it’s like people in a restaurant waiting for a table to open up and you’re sitting there too long just finishing your drinks. As soon as things begin to wrap up, they start staring at me and distracting me with their shiny new presence. I’ll write down quick notes and force myself to ignore the pretties.

 
If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

I’d love to go back to any time in the past and see what it was like, anywhere. But honestly, the first thing that came to my mind was that I’d love to go back about 20 years when life was crazy and my daughter was little and my parents were still alive, and really appreciate that time and soak it in. I’d give anything for a day like that, much less a month.

 

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?

One of the most inspiring things as a writer is having readers that love my books. That actually read my words and tell me what they loved and gush about my characters and stories like they are real people, and get excited about them. It makes my day, my week, my everything when readers find me at a book signing or message me to tell me they just read something and they can’t get it out of their head and they loved it so much. It blows me away EVERY single time, because I’m just in awe. It makes all the work and frustration and hard times in this business worth it, because that’s what it’s all about. The words, and the readers. There is nothing better than that for a writer. I wouldn’t have (almost) 14 books out without my readers, and I am SO so grateful to be blessed with them.

 

Sharla recommends:

 

Pippa Grant   –    pippagrant.com    –   @Amazon   (hilarious and dirty/edgy/funny)

 

Jami Albright   –   www.jamialbright.com  –   @Amazon  (funny/brilliant)

 

Alisha Rai   –   www.alisharai.com   –   @Amazon   (sexy/snarky)

 


Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. Among her work is the bestselling novel Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy Charmed in Texas series.

For more about Sharla’s books, visit www.sharlalovelace.com, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @sharlalovelace.

 

Buy Sharla’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!

 

Authors on The Romance of Reading page:

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  Regina Kyle

17  –  Mimi Milan                 💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

(more to come…)

August 13 – Marilyn Brant

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here –  and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Marilyn Brant is doing both the Q&A and the author takeover.

This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.

Happy August. Isn’t life better with #ATouchofRomance?! xo

2018 RARM Questions:

 

Why do you write books? 

Books—novels especially—were my closest companions when I was younger. Libraries were absolutely magical places to me. So many stories! Stacks upon stacks of them! I remember being in second grade, spinning in one of the aisles like Fraulein Maria from The Sound of Music, arms outstretched toward all of those books, wishing I wouldn’t ever have to leave. Through the novels I read in elementary school and onward, I was introduced to characters who revealed their unique perspectives to me, taught me new ways to evaluate the world, made me laugh and think deeply, and shared with me their relationship and travel adventures long before I could embark on similar journeys myself. I write books in hopes of giving just a little bit of that magic back. Hoping I might entertain another person for a few moments or connect my thoughts with someone else’s the way so many authors did for me by reaching out through the pages of their novels and graciously assuring me I wasn’t alone.

 

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

My son would roll his eyes if he read this, but it’s becoming a mother. Hands down. In my opinion, all parenting choices take courage and a tremendous leap of faith. We had no idea when our son was born what gifts or struggles our baby would have, what his personality or his interests would be like, or what the future might have in store for him, his peers, and the world they inhabit. He’s a thoughtful young man, almost in his twenties now, yet my heart still follows him whenever he walks out the door, whispering, “Please be safe out there.” He, in turn, is forever shrugging and saying kindly, “Mom, you worry too much.” Yeah, well…

 

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

There was never a time in my life when I didn’t want a love story to have a happy ending. Of course not all relationship stories are tales with a happily ever after (who else read/watched Anna Karenina or Love Story?), but all romance novels end on a happy and hopeful note, and that’s what I wanted for my characters, for my readers, and for me!

 

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.

My husband, who’s a world history teacher, was as much of an insatiable traveler when we met as I was. We both wanted to see the world’s famous sites but, until we were self-supporting adults, we’d been limited in our travels. The summer after we got engaged (over 25 years ago!), we backpacked through Europe together, and I’ll never forget the first time we saw Venice. I’d been daydreaming about visiting this Italian city since I was in 6th grade, and as we rounded the bend of the Grand Canal in the vaparetto/water bus and I saw San Marco’s Square, I literally gasped. It was so beautiful and looked just like the pictures. Just like I’d imagined it. I couldn’t believe we were finally right in the middle of it… My husband-to-be, who knew how much getting to see it meant to me, reached for my hand as we gazed out at the canal and the ancient buildings. He kissed me lightly and said, “Honey, we’re here.”

 

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

Ahhh. I’d tell my younger self (both the woman and the writer) that while we all have a lot to learn in life, criticism tends to be valuable only when it’s truly constructive. That I should trust my instincts about which comments are genuinely constructive criticisms—intended to be helpful and point the recipient in the right direction—versus mean-spirited remarks that may be hiding someone else’s agenda.

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

Travel tours and road trips have been a source of writing research and inspiration for me even before I realized I was novelist. I learned all kinds of interesting things during our European adventures that I later included in my romantic women’s fiction book, A Summer in Europe, which is kind of a modern day A Room with a View. And I specifically made my husband and our son take a Route 66 road trip with me when I was writing The Road to You (a romantic YA mystery) because I figured there would be serendipitous discoveries along the way that would help inform the story. And oh, boy, was there ever! It’s one thing to read about a place and study the pictures online, it’s altogether another to get to wander around the Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma and get the true sense of the atmosphere. Or spray paint a few words on a car at Amarillo, Texas‘s famous Cadillac Ranch, which I later had my book characters do. The details became a part of me, made me delve even further into the history of the Mother Road and, ultimately, found their way into the story in ways too numerous to count.

For anyone who’d like to see photos, I have travel pictures from both the grand European tour  –   here  –  and the Route 66 road trip  –  here  –   on my website!

 

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)  

Love this question! My debut novel, According to Jane, has the spirit of Jane Austen living in the head of the main character, offering her dating advice. When I wrote this manuscript, it was a bit of a comedic nod to the “voice in the author’s head” concept—although, instead of me needing to deal with a persistent, frequently interrupting voice, it was my heroine, Ellie, who had this problem. It started to get to be a little “meta” for me, though, while I was writing…imagining Jane’s voice in Ellie’s head and both of them arguing and invading my thoughts. I needed to put a stop to it, LOL. In writing subsequent novels, I’ve preferred to think of the narration like watching a movie on DVD, and giving myself the ability to pause it mid-scene whenever I had to deal with some real life situation. If the characters from my current book (or one I have yet to write) feel the need to jabber at me, I’m compelled to take back some of the power, put them on hold, and not feel remotely guilty about it. Because sometimes, you know, you just have to take a break and make dinner.

 

If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

Reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as a high-school freshman changed my life, so I’ve imagined living in Jane’s Regency England with some frequency over the years. However, I’m also a big fan of modern plumbing and antibiotics, so it’s possible that a month in, say, 1813 London might be pushing it… If I got to attend fancy balls, wear beautiful gowns, and meet a few dashing Darcy-esque gentlemen, though, this may be inducement enough.

 

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?

As a reader, I cherish every one of those incredible moments when I come across a passage in a novel and it reflects exactly some thought or feeling I’d had but never expressed. I’m so grateful for that gift. And, as a writer, it’s been gratifying and indescribably rewarding when readers have let me know that one of my stories did that for them. There was one time when a reader told me that one of my romantic women’s fiction books helped her mend her marriage. There are many reasons why I’m glad I wrote that novel but, to me, it was worth it just for that comment!

 

Marilyn recommends:

For wonderful contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and women’s fiction, I really enjoy reading all three of these talented authors:

 

Laura Moore  –   lauramoorebooks.com   –  @Amazon

 

Katie Oliver  –   katieoliver.com     –   @Amazon

 

Pamela Hearon  –   www.pamelahearon.com   –   @Amazon

 


Marilyn Brant is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy and mystery. She’s written twenty novels and novellas to date. Her debut book, According to Jane, won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award (2007), and she was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. Most recently, she competed the “Mirabelle Harbor” series—sexy contemporary romances set in the northern Chicago suburbs on the sparkling shores of Lake Michigan—and one of her short stories, “When Life Imitates Art,” was included in RWA’s latest anthology, Second Chances.

Marilyn loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato.

For book updates, news and events, please visit her website: www.marilynbrant.com

 

Buy Marilyn’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!

 

Authors on The Romance of Reading page:

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  Regina Kyle

17  –  Mimi Milan                 💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

(more to come…)

August 12 – Teri Wilson

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here –  and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Jeannie Moon is doing both the Q&A and the author takeover.

This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.

Happy August. Isn’t life better with #ATouchofRomance?! xo

2018 RARM Questions:

Why do you write books? 

I write because I’ve always loved books. I’m an only child and grew up with my head in a book almost constantly, so I’ve always been really passionate about reading and stories.

 

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

For three years I volunteered at the Iditarod Trail dog sled in race in Alaska. I was a dog handler at the start of the race, then I was on the dropped dog team and the last time I made the trip, I rode in one of the sleds on the first day of the race. I also participated in the Running of the Reindeer, which is like the running of the bulls in Spain (only way less dangerous). Reindeer chase people through the streets of downtown Anchorage. I love Alaska and tend to think of these experiences as my most courageous, because I’m generally a chicken.

 

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

I love the genre so much and I’m very proud to be in an industry that spreads a positive message of hope and love. We need this so much right now, and it’s my favorite thing about being a romance author.

 

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.

One of my favorite romantic moments every year is attending the Harlequin party at the Romance Writers of America conference. It’s a very fancy affair—everyone dresses up and the party is always held at a posh hotel with really over the top desserts and cocktails. The entire setting is just like something out of a Harlequin novel. I think it’s important for people to realize they can have great romantic moments in their lives, whether or not they have a romantic partner.

 

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

I would tell her to be herself. It is so much more fun that trying to fit in any kind of mold.

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

 Last year, I wrote a book called Royally Romanov that was a modern-day retelling of Anastasia. This project required more research than any other manuscript I’ve written, but I loved it because the Anastasia story has always fascinated me. The thing that intrigued me most was that after Anastasia’s DNA was finally uncovered, the Russian Orthodox church refused to accept the findings and say it was really Anastasia. I had no idea, but I used this fact as part of my plot.

 

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)  

I’ve written a lot of category-length romance and I think that experience has really helped me learn how to craft  a nice, tight plot. I’m usually really focused on the main two characters. Where my voices give me trouble is typically when I’m trying to finish a book. That’s oftentimes when I want to take time off to write a proposal for a new book. (Shiny new idea syndrome.) Sometimes, I’ll go ahead and write the synopsis so I can get it out of my system and get back to focusing on my current manuscript.

 

If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

I adore the UK and Europe, and at some point I’d really love to move to either London or Paris for a few months and write a book set in that city from start to finish. I think I’m drawn to these cities because to me, they feel like the ideal places to set a modern-day fairy tale.

 

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?

My favorite experience as a writer has definitely been having my books adapted for film. I’ve had two books made into Hallmark Channel movies, and I helped write a story treatment for a third. Being on set and seeing something I dreamed up in my head become an actual, real thing was a very surreal experience. I loved every minute of it.

 

Teri recommends:

I love Lauren Layne! She writes such great romantic comedy. Her Stiletto and Oxford series are my favorites, as well as her standalone book Walk of Shame.

Lauren Layne   –     https://laurenlayne.com/     –    @Amazon

 

Sophie Kinsella is also a favorite of mine because her voice is just fantastic:

Sophie Kinsella    –    www.sophiekinsella.co.uk    –    @Amazon

 

And I’m currently making my way through Avery Flynn’s backlist because I read her for the first time recently and just adore her work.

Avery Flynn   –    averyflynn.com    –    @Amazon

 


Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies UNLEASHING MR. DARCY, MARRYING MR. DARCY and THE ART OF US, as well as a fourth Hallmark film currently in development.

She is a double finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction for her novels THE PRINCESS PROBLEM and ROYALLY WED. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system.

Visit her at  www.teriwilson.net   or   Twitter @teriwilsonauthr

 

Buy Teri’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!

 

Authors on The Romance of Reading page:

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  Regina Kyle

17  –  Mimi Milan                 💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

(more to come…)

August 11 – Julie Ann Walker

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here –  and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Julie Ann Walker is doing the Q&A.

This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.

Happy August. Isn’t life better with #ATouchofRomance?! xo

2018 RARM Questions:


Why do you write books? 

To appease the voices in my head? No, seriously though, I write books because I love the storytelling process. Through narrative and prose, I get to dream and travel and explore and live lives other than my own, have experiences other than my own, and fall in love a hundred times over again. My question is, why doesn’t everyone write books? Ha!

 

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I’m doing it right now. I’m writing a trilogy that is way outside my comfort zone and brand. I think it’s evocative and emotional and soooo not romantic suspense. (It is a love story, ’cause I’m a sucker for a good one of those.) And I have no idea if anyone will read it or like it, or if my fans will boo and hiss and tar and feather me in the virtual world/social media space. I might have wasted a year of my life, and the thought of not getting a paycheck for all this work keeps me awake at night. But I had to write it. The characters and their story wouldn’t leave me alone. So I took a chance and jumped in with both feet.

 

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

There are two reasons why I write romance. One, I love falling in love. With each book I write, I get to know the hero: his back story, his motivations, his personality, and his quirks. And I get to fall in love with him through the process of writing him. Two, I love that romance has a guaranteed happy ending. I love knowing that no matter how much pain, anguish, and suffering the characters go through, in the end, they’re going to be all right. There’s welcome security in that.

 

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.

Picture this: Rolling mountains without a phone line or electrical line in sight. A bright bluebird sky. Insects buzzing around flowering bushes, their drone a pulsing thrum that sounds like the heartbeat of Earth itself. And miles upon miles of rock wall and massive guard towers. I’m talking about a hike I took along a section of the Great Wall of China where few tourists ever dare to tread. I was moved to tears by the expanse of the it all, the remoteness of it all, the verve and the vigor and the sacrifice of all those who’d built this mighty structure. I communed with nature that day, and with the monumental history of man. It was there that I understood the smallness and vastness of my own existence. Even now, the memory gives me chills.

 

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

Stand up for yourself. That old adage “what you put up with, you end up with” is true. It took me a long time to realize there’s a difference between being kind and obliging and being taken advantage of.

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

The trilogy I’m working on now is set in New Orleans and I’ve loved learning about the history and culture of that city. One of my favorite things is the custom of the King Cake. It’s a cinnamon-style cake with green, gold, and purple icing. Inside is baked a little plastic baby. The cake is brought to gatherings and parties in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, and whoever gets the slice with the baby inside is responsible for bringing the King Cake to the party the next year. It’s just to hopeful. As if everyone just naturally assumes there will be another year, another party, another Mardi Gras.

 

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)  

I wish I could say I go with who is screaming the loudest. But there have been times when contractual obligations have forced me to tune out (or at least turn down the volume on) one voice in order to listen to another. Those are the times the writing has been the most difficult.

 

If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

I would choose the west coast of Ireland. All that wildness. All those wonderful green vistas and grey/blue seascapes. Sheep and pubs and cottages with thatched roofs. Traditional folk music sung in that rolling Irish brogue. It’s the perfect place to walk and talk and dance and dream. A place to set my imagination on fire.

 

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?

I’m over the moon anytime I get fan mail that says something along the lines of, “I was going through (fill in the blank) and your books provided me with a welcome escape.” I think the purpose of fiction, and romance specifically, is to allow readers to disappear from their own lives into a story they know is going to be inspiring and hopeful and, ultimately, happy.

 

Julie Ann recommends:

First up, I love Suzanne Brockmann. She’s the reigning queen of romantic suspense, the lady who started it all. I adore the humor and heart and the diversity of her characters and stories.

Suzanne Brockmann   –    www.suzannebrockmann.com   –   @Amazon

 

Secondly, I’m a sucker for Kate Meader’s wit and whimsy and unbeatable dialogue. She has a new rom-com coming out soon called Down With Love. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy and… wow! You want this book.

Kate Meader    –    www.katemeader.com   –   @Amazon

 

And last but certainly not least, I. Love. Kristan. Higgins. Her women’s fiction is so sweet and honest and alternately heartbreaking and funny. I devour every word of each new book she writes.

Kristan Higgins    –   www.kristanhiggins.com   –   @Amazon

 

Bobbi here – three authors I love wholeheartedly, too! And you?


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 daily walks through Chicago’s beautiful Lincoln Park, fishing with her father, reading, writing, and watching the Chicago Cubs round the bases. 

 

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!

 

Authors on The Romance of Reading page:

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  Regina Kyle

17  –  Mimi Milan                 💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

(more to come…)