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A quick word from Bobbi Dumas, your host.
Hi everyone! Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month. You can find out more about this fun, month long event here. And check out all the great authors taking part this year on the calendar, here.
The theme this year is The Romance Of Reading, The Magic Of Books and we have an awesome assortment of writers – both romance and mainstream fiction authors – sharing about books, reading, romance & magic. I hope you’ll visit everyday.
(Also, be sure to check in to The Romance Of Reading FB page, where one of the RARM authors will be hosting the page each day in August. Today Karen Hawkins will also be on the page.)
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Menna Van Praag – The Magic Of A Love Affair With Books
I’ve always loved books. All my books are about books – and romance too, of course! But, for me, books are pure romance. I’m not exactly sure why, but I know that every time I step into a bookshop I feel a little shiver of delight, a sense of excitement almost as if I’m about to meet a lover. Perhaps it’s because opening a new book is a bit like starting a new relationship – you don’t know what it’s going to be like, but you have high hopes. You hope that perhaps this book will be The One. The book that changes your life, the book you’ll treasure forever.
Whenever I do find such a book, it’s like falling in love all over again. It’s like a love affair. I think about the book when I’m not reading it. I imagine the story, I wonder what will happen next. I think about the characters, I hope they’re okay without me, I long to return to the pages to know what new and dramatic turns their lives will take. I obsess. I try to sneak off to be with my book again. I grab stolen moments. I snuggle on the sofa, or in bed, for hours and believe that I could happily do so forever. And the author who has given me such joy automatically becomes my new (unrequited) best friend. If I truly adored the book, if it lingers long after I’ve left it, this friendship will last a lifetime.
So, it’s not a far stretch to say that some books give me as much joy (if not more) as some of the real romances of my life. And, although I’ve been happily married for many years now, I still sneak off now and then for a clandestine affair with a new favourite book.
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For magical and romantic, I recommend every book by Sarah Addison Allen and most of them by Alice Hoffman!
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
The summer I discovered Alice Hoffman, the queen of magical realism. I was at university in Oxford, writing my thesis and on a break I went to the local bookshop, Borders, and discovered a whole shelf of Alice Hoffman. They called to me across the room, though I’d never heard of her before. I spent that summer writing my thesis on Victorian feminists and my lunch breaks reading Alice. It was pure magical heaven!
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
The Night Circus. I read it the winter my son was born. He was only a few months old and would only fall asleep while I pushed him in the buggy. So I walked around my neighbourhood pushing him and reading the book and bumping into a few lampposts! That book enchanted me from the moment I read about the magical circus. I re-read it every year.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
In my latest book, The Sisters Grimm (releases in 2020), I had the most magical experience of my writing life! I wrote a scene like I’d never written before (it was quite scary!) and the words came out so fast, faster than I could think, as if I wasn’t writing them but taking dictation from Inspiration itself. At one point it all got too much and I had to jump up from my desk and shake off the excess energy before sitting down again and finishing it. It’s my favourite scene in the book. Powerful and pure.
For writers who use magical aspects in their books, what attracts you to those elements? For those of you who don’t, are there specific themes or elements you’re attracted to and find yourself going back to? Why do these resonate with you?
After my magical summer with Alice Hoffman, I knew that magical books were the ones I wanted to write. I started with The House at the End of Hope Street – a book about a magical house full of books & their long-dead authors… After that, I was hooked!
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
Great writing inspires me. I read, read, read all the time! Reading brilliant books motivates me to try and write brilliant books and when I’m stuck I return to reading to feel inspired again. Magical books are my favourite because I escape the worries regarding my WIP and when I return to the page I’m fresh and new again.
DRAWING – is hosting The Romance of Reading page, and her giveaways will take place there.
However, all comments will also be entered to win a bundle of books from the Week 4 participating authors. You may enter by commenting on this original blog post and/or on the Read-A-Romance Month Facebook page post, here.
Each first unique comment at each space offers an extra chance to win, so check in with each author. Must comment by 9/05/19 11:59pm Eastern to enter.
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Menna Van Praag ~ I’ve worked as a reader for BBC Films & TV and as a script editor for a number of independent production companies. I still work as a freelance script editor/consultant. I self-published my novella, Men, Money & Chocolate. Nine months later I sold it to Hay House and today it’s been translated into 26 languages – so far. The sequel, Happier Than She’s Ever Been, followed a year later.
The House at the End of Hope Street was published by Penguin in 2013. Random House published The Dress Shop of Dreams (Jan, 2015) and The Witches of Cambridge (Feb, 2016). Allison & Busby have published all three novels in the UK. My next novel, The Sisters Grimm, will release in the U.K. and the U.S. early 2020.
Discover all of Menna’s books:
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