Hope & Love – The Essentials of Romance
The very first romance I remember reading was JANE EYRE in eighth grade. We were allowed to pick a book from a list, then we gave a report to the class. I picked it because it was the longest book and I knew I’d be done before everyone else otherwise. As it was, I read the thing twice. I loved that book. What wasn’t to love?
Dark, tortured hero falls in love with the sweet, earnest young woman. Trouble ensues. You think they will never be together and voila! They are. I was hooked.
I spent most of high school reading Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney. Then I found Kathleen Woodiwiss. I very clearly remember turning down a date with a football player so I could finish SHANNA. It was a good decision.
I moved on to Rosemary Rogers, Janelle Taylor. I couldn’t stop. I still can’t.
Romance promises joy in a world with far too little of it. Romance is uplifting. It’s intriguing. While I always know that I’ll get my happy ending, how the author gets there is forever a surprise. Life’s too short and I’m too busy to waste time on a book that will leave me depressed. I can watch the news, read the newspaper or listen to my in laws for that.
Some say romance is unrealistic. I refuse to accept that. There’s a thing called hope, and I have it. So does every romance I’ve ever written and every one I’ve ever read.
I’ve been asked “Do you want your daughter to grow up with unrealistic expectations of her relationships?” Well, I don’t have a daughter, but if I did I’d want her to have hope, to believe in love. Both of those things are worth dreaming of, believing in and fighting for. This is the essential message of romance.
Recommendations: I’d like to recommend Liliana Hart, who writes all sorts of great series and in several different genres.
Questions for Lori:
What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?
I have a little table that is a hound dog dressed like a butler, holding a tray. UGLY. But we call him Clint, after the gun shy hound dog in one of my Harlequin Superromances (A Sheriff in Tennessee) so I just can’t get rid of him.
If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)
“Always Hopeful” with Demi Moore.
What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?
If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)
Alexi Romanov and Cat O’Banyon in BEAUTY AND THE BOUNTY HUNTER by my alter ego Lori Austin.
Jessica and Lord Dain from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.
You are reading this essay at ReadARomanceMonth.com. Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.
Lori is generously donating five copies of An Outlaw In Wonderland to give away to US readers (domestic only; apologies to international readers). To enter the domestic contest, 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 26 to be eligible, though winners will be announced at a later date.
Also visit the Awesome Contests page to register this week to win a Kindle Paperwhite and “A Month of Romance” (31 books) from Amazon Montlake, or the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!
Lori Handeland is a two time RITA Award winner and the New York Times Bestselling author of the paranormal romance series, The Nightcreature Novels, as well as the urban fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles and the historical fantasy series, Shakespeare Undead. She also writes western historical romance under the name Lori Austin. The third book in her “Once Upon a Time in the West” series, THE LONE WARRIOR, will be available in January, 2014. Lori lives in Wisconsin with her husband, enjoying occasional visits from her grown sons. You can find her online at lorihandeland.com or learn more about her alter ego Lori Austin at loriaustin.net.