Why Romance Saved Me
Celebrating Romance is probably the easiest thing you could ask me to do. I’ve never made it a secret that romance novels saved me during some of the most difficult moments of my life. It’s why I chose to write romance above any other genre, and it’s why I’m such a proponent of the genre. I mean, what’s not to celebrate? I’m often quoted as saying that sex and love are two of the best things on earth, and they’re both the core of the romance novel.
I think it’s ironic—or timely or both—that I’m writing this blog about celebrating romance right now. You won’t see this until August, but I’m writing this in June, as my father is moved into home hospice, the culmination of a long illness. I’m hoping he will finally have some peace.
But how does this tie into romance? Some of you who’ve followed me for a while will know that I started reading and writing romance when my daughter was born with some serious medical issues. I always say that romance saved my life, and I truly mean that. And once again, I’m counting on the reading and writing to save me again. I know it will—it’s my therapy. My happy pill. My way of showing myself and everyone that love survives, that we can all be survivors, that even though bad things can and do happen, so do good things.
Romance is full of survivors. Warriors. The fact that people can go through so much and still find love and happiness in the end is not only inspiring to me, but it’s a truth. And it’s one I hear about from readers daily.
I’ve been celebrating romance as Stephanie Tyler since 2007. But since 2011, I’ve also been writing LGBTQ romance—specifically m/m romance—as SE Jakes. In May, I came out about my other name, grateful for the new readers I’d found in the genre. Writing as SE Jakes helped to inspire me to be a better writer, and helped me to find my center again. So for me, it always goes back to romance.
I hope you’ll give the following authors a try: Garrett Leigh, LA Witt, KA Mitchell, and Rhys Ford.
Questions For The Author:
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
Visiting my husband’s birthplace, in Songea, Africa. We drove down the Tanzanian coast to the mission where he was born, and trust me, driving anywhere in Africa is no easy feat. But to be able to take that journey with him, to see the house he grew up in, the place where he spent his formative years…it’s just such a beautiful place. We’ve been back to Tanzania many times, and it never fails to inspire and comfort me.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
I swear I was born a writer—I’ve been seeing movies in my head, my characters, for as long as I can remember. I was always either reading, writing or listening to music, and that hasn’t changed. But after hearing so many times that you can’t make a living writing, I moved to other things within the lit community—I was a bookseller, a PhD candidate, an adjunct professor and a teacher…until finally, my daughter was born with serious medical problems.
All I remember doing for two years was being with her, whether that was in the hospital, in the rehab unit where I learned how to take care of her or in various other facilities many states away from my own, where wonderful doctors helped her quality of life. It was during that time that a nurse handed me a romance novel and I was like, ‘this. I can do this. I want to do this.’ It was because of the HEA, the feeling of escape reading romance gave me while allowing me to still stay physically next to my daughter. It was the fierce theme of survival that romance novels always seem to bring to the table. Maybe, until that time, I hadn’t been able to complete a book because I hadn’t found my niche. With romance, I’d found it in spades.
Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
The book that changed my life was Cherry Adair’s Kiss & Tell – that was a book handed to me in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital by one of the nurses, and let me tell you how many times I read that book during my stay there with my daughter. Talk about a well-loved book—it is literally falling apart, but I will keep it forever.
Stephanie is generously offering three copies of any book of Stephanie Tyler or SE Jakes in either print or eBook, two for U.S. Readers (entry form at the bottom of the page) and one for an international winner (enter here).
Stephanie Tyler is the New York Times Bestselling author of romance novels spanning multiple genres, including Romantic Suspense, New Adult, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance. Stephanie also writes LGBTQ romance as SE Jakes. First published in 2011, SE Jakes has quickly risen to be a bestselling author in the LGBT romance genre, as well as a fan favorite. Stephanie is also half the co-write team of Sydney Croft (along with Larissa Ione.)
Please visit Stephanie’s websites to learn more:
Buy Stephanie’s Books: