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
Today is Romance Librarian Day at RARM! We love librarians. They can have such a great influence on what we read. In the case of romance, it’s a great opportunity for librarians to let readers know they won’t ever be judged for their choices. Thankfully there are some pro-Romance librarians in this world, and today we have three! If you’re a librarian who loves romance (or a reader or writer who knows one who does), then I wanted to let you know there’s a Facebook page where pro-Romance librarians share thoughts about publishing, libraries and romance. You can find it here. Please share!
Wendy the Super Librarian – Finding Joy In Emotional Truth
I’m a librarian, so it stands to reason that I want people to love reading. Anything. I’m not picky. There’s no secret handshake or Librarian’s Creed, but it’s not that different from a lot of other careers in the public sector. Ask most librarians why they chose this line of work and you’ll hear “because I wanted to help people” fairly regularly. Helping people can mean a variety of things. It can mean everything from helping them navigate online job searching to exposing them to other community programs to simply providing a welcoming space for the community. However my bread and butter is collection development, so of course I’m going to say that I like helping people through books the best.
Fiction, specifically genre fiction, tends to get a bad rap among intellectual circles. The word “escapism” is a dirty word uttered with a sneer. The writing is denigrated as trite and awful, even when it’s not. Readers who read genre fiction do so for a variety of reasons, some of which is escapism and some of which is not. Reading a mystery affirms my sense of right vs. wrong, my belief in justice even in the face of a real world where justice is sometimes in short supply. Reading romance is a different kettle of fish. I read romance for the characters and for what I call moments of emotional truth.
I think what makes romance so universally appealing to all stripes of readers is the emotion. I’d argue that all fiction should make the reader feel something, but romance is romance. It’s a genre built on the foundation of emotion. It wears emotion on its sleeve. Romance with no emotion is just….pointless. When I start a new romance novel I go into it expecting, dare I say it – demanding, that the author make me feel something. Bliss, love, hate, anger, sadness, happiness – yes please. Make me feel something. Take me on that ride. And the best joy to be found? When the author writes that little bit of emotional truth. That moment in the story when you stare at the print, dumbfounded, wondering how the author could possibly know that about you, channel it into her characters, when she wouldn’t know you from Adam in real life.
Those moments of emotional truth.
Sheer joy. Sheer bliss. It’s those moments that keep me coming back to the romance genre over and over again.
Deeanne Gist started her romance career writing inspirational historical romance, but her last few books have been more sweet Americana. She always includes such marvelous history in her stories and she has a knack for writing sizzling chemistry while keeping the bedroom door closed. Start with one of my favorites, Tiffany Girl or Maid to Match. (You can read Deeanne’s RARM post here.)
L.B. Gregg writes male-male romantic comedies. They’re like chick lit, without the chicks. What I love about her stories are her characters. Gregg writes such real, warm characters that I want to jump through the screen of my Kindle and give everyone a big hug. Check out my favorite, There’s Something About Ari, or any one of her books set in the fictional New England town of Smithfield.
Charlotte Stein writes erotic romance, which wouldn’t seem all that extraordinary since everyone seems to be writing it these days. What makes Stein’s books so great though is that she excels at writing sizzle and anticipation. Simply filling your word count with oodles of kinky sex does not an erotic romance make. It’s the tension. It’s the longing. It’s you sitting on the edge of your seat dying for the couple to do “it” already. She’s also funny. I tend to laugh (in good ways!) while reading a Stein book. My favorites include Addicted, Sweet Agony, and Intrusion.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.
Picture it, March 2011. At that time I was the adult fiction book selector for a large library system and I was toiling away in my office cubicle. When my phone rang I noticed immediately it was an “outside call.” Not an unusual occurrence, I figured it was one of our vendor reps. Um, no. It was then president of RWA, Dorien Kelly telling me I had been named Librarian of the Year and that they were flying me out to accept the award at that year’s conference in New York City. I was so stunned the first words out of my mouth were, “Shut up!” I would now like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Ms. Kelly.
Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.
This will shock nobody, but libraries bring me joy. Really, any place where there is a decent gathering of paper books – so yes, bookstores will work as well. There’s something about seeing all those books, preferably neatly lining the shelves, filled with so many possibilities. Where will I go today? What sort of story will the author tell me? I love the convenience of ebooks, and read a ton in digital, but I have to be honest – gazing at those files on my computer hard drive doesn’t give me the same sort of zing as walking into a library or bookstore does.
Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.
A huge chunk of music that came out of the 1950s and 1960s. I spent my childhood taking regular road trips to visit relatives in a neighboring state. To this day I gauge potential road-trips by six hours. Less than six? Please, I can do that without breaking a sweat. Dad and/or Mom driving meant we listened to their music. So while all my friends were swooning over New Kids on the Block (that doesn’t date me at all), I was swooning over The Everly Brothers and The Beatles.
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 most recent one would be Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist. I started reading that book while I was mired in a horrible slump. So horrible was this slump that even good or great books weren’t eliciting much reaction from me. I just didn’t feel like reading. Picking up a book, any book, was a tall order. But pick up Tiffany Girl I did and it hit all my sweet spots. It was the beginning of slowly crawling my way back into my reading groove.
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)
Hold the rotten eggs, but I’m convinced Hemsworth, Pine, Pratt and Evans are all actually the same guy. No, really. They’re like completely interchangeable to me. I would pick Plummer, but my mother loves The Sound of Music and she’d likely call me out, her own flesh and blood, to duel. So I’m going with Chris Rock because that man makes me laugh and I love guys with a sense of humor.
Wendy The Super Librarian is generously offering a mystery box of goodies from the Romance Writers of America Conference 2015 in New York City! What’s in the box? It’s a surprise! (U.S. readers only, apologies to international friends.)
Wendy’s first professional library job involved purchasing adult fiction for a rural Michigan library system. After earning a B.A. in history and a master’s degree in library science, she fell into that job by accident and wasn’t entirely prepared. The biggest hole in her popular fiction knowledge was romance, so she started reading and quickly got hooked. She now heads up the collection development department for a very large library system on the west coast. In 2011, the Romance Writers of America honored her with their annual Librarian of the Year Award. Wendy’s writing can be found on several online venues including The Misadventures of Super Librarian (wendythesuperlibrarian.blogspot.com) and Heroes & Heartbreakers (heroesandheartbreakers.com).
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