Romance – A Many Splendored Thing
Having being a teacher, I read and taught literary fiction, and studied the classics all the way through graduate school, but by the end of my 20’s, I didn’t want to read the classics anymore, or literary fiction that was dark, and focused on loss: loss of self, loss of society, loss of hope. I’d experienced a great deal of loss in my life, and the dark, heartbreaking subject matter wasn’t good for me emotionally, or spiritually.
I used to worry about being perceived as an intellectual lightweight for preferring romance, and warm, optimistic commercial fiction, but I know what I need: hope, light, faith and courage. But I don’t worry about how people perceive me anymore. I don’t want about other people judging me. This is my life now. I like me. I love me. It took a whole lifetime—forty-some years—to love me and so now I read what I like to read, and that’s romance because its thrilling, and encouraging, and a great romance makes me feel just well…good.
But writing romance isn’t easy. I far prefer reading a great romance to writing one because I want my readers to feel the way I feel when I’m reading a great book—transported.
Have you ever watched a movie, or listened to a piece of music and you laugh or cry, and you are so alive in that moment? That is how I want my readers to feel…engaged, connected, alive. A great story can make life even more beautiful and memorable. Stories are metaphors for life, and a well done romance is like holding a crystal to sunlight and watching the light catch and throw prisms of color everywhere.
A great story comforts and entertains, and the happy ending reminds us that we do deserve more…we deserve everything. Joy. Acceptance. Hope. True love.
Romance novels are not just one thing, either. There is so much variety in the genre, so many different ways to tell an incredible story. But in almost every story there is the rollercoaster ride of emotion and hope, heartbreak and disappointment, with yet another crazy loop of longing and pain, before finding a resolution based on compromise, understanding, sacrifice and love.
But that’s life. Life has challenges and struggles and its messy and demanding. Love is messy and demanding, and once we can accept the messy and demanding part, we can make peace with it. Make peace with ourselves. Make peace with the people we love.
I was a reader long before I became a writer and nothing thrills me more than finding a new-to-me author who captures my imagination and makes me fall in love. I have several favorites lining my shelves, great authors like Georgette Heyer, Mary Balogh, Lorraine Heath, Loretta Chase, Kresley Cole, JR Ward, to name just a few.
Also on my bookshelves are a couple of my new favorites whom I discovered earlier this year – Kristen Ashley, who writes awesome motorcycle riding alpha heroes, and Jamie Maguire who single-handedly led me to tumble head over heels in love with the New Adult genre. Wow. Just wow! Next time you’re looking for a great read, try one by some of my favorites. I promise you, you’ll fall in love with romance all over again!
Questions for Jane:
What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?
I don’t know if I have anything crazy or ugly, but I do have a lot of rocks, and painted rocks that my boys painted for me over the years. As a mom of three boys I have certainly been given a lot of rocks, and they line my bookshelves, jostling for space with photos and books.
If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)
Hmm….the movie would be called A Little Bit Crazy and maybe Sandra Bullock could play me. She’s so funny and fierce and she’s German, and I’ve got a ton of German DNA….
What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?
I love it when someone makes something for me, and my husband’s mom made a quilt for me just before she died and it’s gorgeous and it’s her. She’s still with us—keeping me warm, keeping me safe. I cherish it, and the boy she made who is now making a life with me.
Jane is generously donating two U.S. reader prizes and one International reader prize. U.S. winners will each receive a copy of the first two books in the
Brennan Sisters series, The Good Woman and The Good Daughter, along with some fun Jane Porter goodies. The International reader winner will receive a $20.00 gift card from Amazon (International readers enter here). U.S. readers, to enter, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both. (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.) Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 13 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.
Bestselling author Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award four times, has over 12 million copies in print . Jane’s novel, Flirting With Forty, picked by Redbook as its Red Hot Summer Read, went back for seven printings in six weeks before being made into a Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear. September 2012 brought the release of The Good Woman, the first of her Brennan Sisters trilogy, followed in February 2013 by The Good Daughter, and book three in the series, The Good Wife, is slotted for release in September. A mother of three sons, Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband.