Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!
While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here – and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Shana Galen is doing the Q&A and since it’s the weekend, there’s no guest author on the page. (You can find a list of most participating authors at the bottom of this post.)
This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.
Happy August. Life is better with #ATouchofRomance! xo
2018 RARM Questions:
Why do you write books?
I write books because I can’t not write books. I love to write. When I’m not writing, I always feel as though I’ve forgotten something. You know how you sometimes have that vague feeling that you were supposed to do something or that something is missing? I’ll have that feeling when I’m taking a writing break, and after a couple days I start to feel just a little uneasy. Finally, after a week or so—wham!—I realize I’m missing working and it’s time to get back to writing.
What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
I’d have to say rescuing stray dogs. I’ve only rescued a handful, but a few of the situations were kind of harrowing because there was a chance of getting hit by a car or having the frightened dog bite me. It would have been so much easier to just keep driving and look the other way, but I just couldn’t do that, so I took the risk and it required all the courage I had.
Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?
As a woman, romance and relationships are important to me. In our society, emotional attachments, building a family, and finding a mate are seen as female concerns, but I don’t think they’re any more important than the typical male concerns. So it’s natural for me to want to write about what’s important to me, but I also want to write books that validate women’s experiences and that show my readers what they value is worthwhile and important.
One of the most romantic moments in my life is when my husband proposed. We’d gone away for the weekend and then to dinner and a concert, and when we got back to our room, the bed was covered in rose petals. In the midst of the petals was an envelope. I opened it, and the card inside was all about how special I was to him. Instead of signing it, he’d written, “I have a question.” I turned it over to read the question, but there was nothing else. When I looked up, he was on one knee with the ring in his hand.
If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?
It would be what I tell my eight-year-old daughter all the time: don’t worry about what everyone else thinks of you. I think when we’re young, we’re all too worried about what others are saying about us. When we cater to others, it hems us in and keeps us from taking risks and trying new things. I wish I’d had the courage when I was younger to just do what I wanted and not worry what others thought of it.
Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.
I’ve done quite a bit of research on the French Revolution, and I’m morbidly fascinated by the guillotine. During the revolution, when there were daily executions, spectators remarked that heads held up for display to the crowd still had the ability to make expressions, like blinking eyes or looking around. Charlotte Corday, who was guillotined for killing revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat, had her head slapped after decapitation by her executioner. The crowd widely reported that her face expressed indignation.
Then in 1905 a doctor experimented on the head of a condemned prisoner named Languille. He called the prisoner’s name after decapitation, and the prisoner was able to focus his eyes on the doctor for several seconds after decapitation. It’s now widely believed that people retain consciousness for 5-7 seconds after decapitation. How long is 5 seconds? It’s a long time to still be alive after death! Moreover, another study I read had a doctor who shoved his finger in the severed spinal column of a decapitated head, and the person reacted with a grimace of pain. So there is reason to believe death by guillotine is not as quick or painless as we first believed.
Pretty gruesome stuff, huh? You asked!
(Shana did a video about this research – you can see that on her youtube channel here. )
How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)
Oh, I had to master those voices long ago! I find that if I have plans to write a character’s book then he or she can be more patient. It’s the characters who don’t have a book planned that tend to be pushy. Solution? Schedule a book for them!
If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?
That’s tough because I would love to visit the Regency era, but I don’t think I’d want to stay a month in that time period. I guess I’d choose London in the present day. It’s a city full of history, and I could visit all of England using London as a home base.
What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?
A few years ago, I was in line to have breakfast at the RT convention. I was chatting with a friend while we waited, and behind me I heard two ladies talking quietly. One of them said, “Is that Shana Galen?” The other replied, “I think it is. Oh, my gosh! I can’t believe it!” I turned around and told them they’d made my year. We ended up chatting for a while. It was a completely surreal experience. For one minute I felt like a celebrity.
Shana Galen is three-time Rita award nominee and the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps. “The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun,” and RT Bookreviews calls her books “lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time, surrounded by three cats and one spoiled dog.
She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.
Learn more – www.shanagalen.com
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Buy Shana Galen’s books:
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Authors on The Romance of Reading page:
1 – Jeannie Moon 2 – Lenora Bell
3 – Nancy Herkness 6 – Kimberli A. Bindschatel
7 – Cathy Maxwell 8 – Amelia Grey
9 – Liz Talley 10 – Dylann Crush
13 – Marilyn Brant 14 – Sharla Lovelace
15 – Sally MacKenzie 16 – TBA
17 – TBA 20 – Christine Nolfi
21 – Susie Orman Schnall 22 – Caroline Linden
(more to come…)