It’s Read-A-Romance Month.
Visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about The Joy of Romance. Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo
So Many Joys in Romance
Reading romance has brought me a great deal of joy. In fact, I would say that reading romance novels was, for years, generally a more joyful experience than my somewhat disastrous love life—at least until I met my husband! Between the pages I found not only joy but also myriad expressions of passion, intimacy, humor, friendship, and a commitment between lovers to overcome the challenges of whatever life threw at them. During some pretty dark times, those books provided comfort and bolstered my belief that a lasting and joyous love was still in my future.
And, sure, I got that it was fiction. I knew that my hero was not going to be a billionaire or a Navy Seal, and I knew that he would not be driving a high-perch phaeton and wearing skin-tight breeches and tall leather boots (unfortunately). But what I did get from reading romance was a reaffirmation of many of my core values, and the valuable lesson that I was worthy of love. For someone who often felt awkward and unlovable, that was an important lesson to learn.
Romance novels also pointed me in another joyful direction—my work. Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances were my first contact with the genre. They bred in me a love of all things Regency, which led to Jane Austen and eventually to graduate school and the study of British women authors of the Georgian and Regency periods. Even though I went on to other work after grad school, romance novels remained an integral and joyful part of my reading life. I loved mystery novels, historical fiction, and literary fiction, too. But romance novels were a touchstone, a way to fill the happiness well when it started to run a little dry.
And when it comes to writing romance novels? For the most part, that’s been a joyful experience too. I’ve met so many wonderful people in the romance community—writers, publishing professionals, and most especially readers. How can you not feel joyful when a reader takes the time to tell you how much she enjoyed one of your books, or how a particular book helped her through a tough period? It’s truly a joy and a blessing to know that I’ve been able to impact a life in so positive a way.
Finally, I have the slightly bizarre joy of sharing my love of romance with my husband, because we write contemporary romance novels together as V.K. Sykes. Working together and sharing so many of the same interests has deepened our relationship, made it more interesting, and added much value to our lives as a couple.
How strange and joyful to think that so many crucial elements of my life started years ago, when I cracked open the pages of my very first romance.
Debbie Mason’s Christmas, Colorado Series: Debbie writes wonderful small town romance—heart-warming, funny, with lovely emotion and wonderful couples. I think she’s fantastic.
Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas Series: OMG, can that woman write. The Iron Seas is amazing and epic, smart, sexy, moving, and unbelievably fun. The Kraken King is one of my all-time favorite books.
Erica Monroe’s Rookery Rogues Series: I stumbled upon Erica’s books when I was looking for historical romances that featured scenes and characters from London’s slums. The Rookery Rogues are gritty, sexy, and emotionally compelling books. Erica is a very talented writer.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.
When hubby and I won the Kindle Book Review’s Best Kindle Book Award for our book, HARDBALL. A lot of really good writers entered that contest and we’d thrown our hat into the ring on a lark. When we saw the results we both flew out of our chairs and danced around the room, yelling at the top of our lungs. Okay, I was yelling, Randy was just laughing really hard. It was just a lovely affirmation of our decision to write books together. And, hey, who doesn’t like to win?
Oxford University. Thanks to my advisor in grad school, I was able to spend a summer studying at Oxford. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place, imbued with so much history and atmosphere. I remember sitting in the gardens behind Magdalen College, taking a break from the library. It was a sunny day and I had the garden completely to myself. Over the trees, I could see the spires of the churches and colleges of Oxford. It was a perfect moment, and I felt entirely happy and entirely at peace.
Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.
Wind chimes, or when my husband laughs. That always makes me happy.
What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?
THE BOOK OF LIFE, by Deborah Harkness. It’s an amazing book—a family history, a scientific thriller, an epic paranormal fantasy, a corking good adventure, and, ultimately, a wonderful love story. And it’s just superbly written. Every reading moment was sheer joy.
And for fun, the joy of choice ~
Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)
A glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc after I hit my word count for the day. Sometimes the little things are just what you need!
Vanessa is generously giving away one copy of her latest VK Sykes book, SUMMER AT THE SHORE for U.S. readers, and one copy of her latest VK book, HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER, to international readers. To enter leave a comment on this post, on the RARM Facebook post or both (you can find that here) before Tuesday Sept. 1 11:59 pm CST. International readers enter through the form below.
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her sensual, Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Vanessa’s current series, The Renegade Royals, is a national bestseller.
When she’s not dreaming up plots for her next Regency historical novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.
Buy Vanessa’s books:
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