Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!
If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!
Making Stories More Human
When my first book came out, I didn’t quite know how to describe it to casual acquaintances. It wasn’t shame, but rather that I didn’t want to give the wrong perception: I did not think of my books as trashy bodice rippers, the sort of thing someone would only read when on vacation and not interested in anything that required thought. I also happened to live in New England, where there were more romance novels available in the grocery stores (a few) than in my local independent bookseller (none at all).
Finally I settled on saying I wrote historical novels. That was true, even if a little incomplete. After all, the love story is just as vital a part of the books I write, and in the books I love, as the historical settings and events. For most people, that was enough; they would smile and nod and maybe say they thought it would be fun to write a book some day—which mainly proved that they’d never tried—and that would be it.
Sometimes, though, the conversation would continue. What time period? What setting? Do you write about real people, like Philippa Gregory, or fictional characters only? What other books would you compare yours to?
And I realized, eventually, that this is actually a good way to demonstrate that romance is everywhere, even in stories that are definitely not romances. What’s more, people crave romance in their stories, even romance that’s doomed to a sad ending. We talk about happily ever after, but we all know no one lives forever; that’s why it’s so important to treasure the connections we have, the relationships we build, and the loves we discover and nuture and revel in.
Romances feature all kinds of women, all kinds of men, all kinds of settings and plots and conflicts; there is truly something for every taste. Even a romance that’s short and ill-starred and set in a story that is ANYTHING but romantic—Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese!—catches at your heart and makes a story human. Love makes the world go ‘round—and it makes books better.
Caroline Linden recommends:
Her writing is so clean and clear yet emotional and moving. Best of all, she writes all kinds of romance: Gothic, paranormal, YA, and some amazing dystopian. Whenever I get something new from Eve, my willpower drops to zero and I drop everything to read it at once.
A new favorite of mine is Marnee Blake marneeblake.com (at Amazon) who writes NA romance. Her second book just came out, and I cannot wait to read it because her first book was awesome (and a RITA finalist for Best First Book). She’s got a fantastic voice and I look forward to reading lots more from her.
And a long time stand-by for me is Helen Fielding (at Amazon) on the sheer brilliance of Bridget Jones’s Diary. That first book was a revelation. Just opening it to read a page now and then brings back all the obsessive thrill of reading it the first time.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
My little sister got married a few years ago, and there was a moment, after the wedding, that was so wonderful. My sister and her new husband were taking photos outside he church, having spent quite a while inside getting photos with family and friends. The photographer wanted them to walk down the steps of the beautiful church, hand in hand, but my sister’s gown had a train that needed to be tied up. Most of the guests had wandered away or gone on to the reception, so it was my brother-in-law who got down on his knees and tried to figure out how to connect the tapes and buttons that were supposed to gather up her skirt and keep it off the ground. They were so sweet and so in love, laughing together as she tried to talk him through it, even though she couldn’t see a thing he was doing to the back underside of her skirt, and his good-natured exclamations about how he never guessed this would be part of “better or worse.”
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
I will say, my daughter! We both love romantic stories and movies. I remember watching a movie with her (Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds) years ago, and in the middle it looked bleak for Anne Elliot and Cap. Wentworth. She turned to me anxiously and asked if they were going to figure out how much they still cared for each other. I assured her they did. Then she asked if they would kiss at the end. Again I promised they would. “That’s good,” she said with a sigh of relief. “I like it when they kiss at the end.”
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
A beach at sunset, at the end of a beautiful day.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
It has to be Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. No one else matches them, although I also love the pairing of Will Shakespeare and Viola de Lessups in Shakespeare in Love.
Tell us about your dream date.
A few years ago my husband planned, all on the sly, a trip for the two of us. We hadn’t gone anywhere alone in years. It was extravagant and over the top and really really strange to go somewhere without our children (who were elementary school age then) but it was so lovely to have my husband all to myself, with no responsibility but to be together. That was pretty much perfect, even without mentioning that we spent those five days in Aruba. And if he’s reading this, I would go back there at any time; just need an hour or two of notice…
Caroline Linden is generously giving away two copies of LOVE IN THE TIME OF SCANDAL and SIX DEGREES OF SCANDAL. One winner will receive one copy of each, two winners will receive one title. (US only, apologies to international friends.)
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST August 20, 2016. Good luck!
(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)
Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer code before realizing writing fiction was much more fun. Since then, she has won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Historical Mystery/Suspence, the NJRW Golden Leaf Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Her books have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller list and been translated into fourteen languages.
Buy Caroline Linden’s books:
*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!