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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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Abigail Sharpe – A Lifelong Journey Through Magical Books
Do you remember books from when you learned to read? And were transported into the world of Dick and Jan and Spot, or the crazy language of Dr. Seuss?
I remember one of the first books I ever read on my own: Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. How could a person (badger? bear?) eat only one thing? She didn’t even eat pickles! How was that possible?
This is book that changed me. Literally. It was neat, how when she finally started eating anything, she took measured bites, making sure everything came out just right. I started doing that. It was hard, when your sandwich was big and your banana pieces were small. Sometimes I took only half a bite of banana to make sure it’d last until the peanut butter was gone. Until I’d forget, and then eat whatever I felt like whenever I felt like it.
I promised myself that when I got cats (and I would get them!), I’d name them Really and Truly like Betsy did with her little sister Star i the Betsy and Star books. I finally got a cat when I was in college, and promptly named him Luke. And even now, I sometimes say “Salutations!” like the clever spider Charlotte, instead of hello.
For something magical now instead of 30 years ago, I’m eagerly awaiting the Cat’s Paw Cove books. Anything goes in this World created by Catherine Kean and Wynter Daniels, located near St. Augustine, Florida, whether it’s witches or talking cats or ghosts. I was fortunate enough to read an ARC of A Witch in Time and loved the subtle magic play between the characters (not to mention the hottie time traveler)!
I’ve also been reading the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole, which covers the gamut of supernatural creatures. And I can’t leave out Harry Potter! No explanation needed for that one.
Whether reading something that makes you think, or reading something to turn your mind off of daily stresses, or reading because of FOMO, words have magic and the power to change.
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Catherine Kean and Wynter Daniels created the world of Cat’s Paw Cove where anything is possible. Literally. I’m eagerly awaiting the Cat’s Paw Cove holiday anthology.
In my To Be Read pile is Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic by Lee Roland. I’ve read her Earth Witches novels, and was happy to see a new novel (okay, so it was published five years ago. I’m a little behind).
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Did you ever stop to think about how many books you’ve read in your lifetime? It boggles my mind. Before I started writing, and before the days of Goodreads to keep track, I read at least two books a week. Over one hundred books a year. It might have been fewer when I was in college (or more when procrastinating during exam time) or if it was a super long book. Books are always magical, but some have magical moments.
First: Flannery O’Connor’s A Late Encounter with the Enemy. All of O’Connor’s books have an element of creepy in them, and this one hit me hard. A Grandfather (a Civil War veteran) is watching his granddaughter graduate. He’s being honored as well. That’s really all I can say without spoiling it. The ending literally made me drop my book, in the middle of the cafeteria, while I was eating a ham sandwich.
Second: Captain Wentworth’s letter in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The most romantic line ever written: You pierce my soul. I might have gasped when I read it.
Third: The last of the Divergent books. I always love books that I can share with my kids, and these were great. My older son read the last book before me, and he came in toward the end. “She… they… I can’t believe…” and then he left my room. I loved seeing the magic in him. (And that was my reaction, too, when I got to That Part.)
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
There are many moments – the first time I finaled in a contest, when I got an agent, when my book sold. None of them gave me the same feeling as what transpired in March 2010, while I was waiting for a phone call.
This was the day the Romance Writers of America called those lucky authors whose book finaled in the Golden Heart contest (may it rest in peace). Calls started at about 8am. And I waited. And waited. And waited for my cell phone to ring.
One of my chaptermates finaled (hi, Lena Diaz! She writes amazing books too – they’re at Amazon here – and I was thrilled for her. And then I went back to waiting.
At 2:10pm, I figured all the east coast finalist had been called and I was not one of them. I sent an email to First Coast Romance Writers (my RWA chapter), throwing in my towel.
At 2:11pm, I got an email from RWA, saying I was a finalist and they’d been trying to call me all morning on my home phone, and were sending me an email because they wanted to finish the finalist lists.
Honestly, I got as far as ….happy to tell you, your book, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy, is a finalist in the Golden Heart for contemporary romance…. when my vision got blurry and I started shaking.
Out of over 100 entries in contemporary romance, mine was one of the top eight. THE TOP EIGHT. Out of OVER 100.
That was the moment I became a real frickin’ writer.
And it was magical.
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 I submitted my first book, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy, to my publisher, the editor called me to discuss changes. One of the things she wanted updated was the location of the ending. “You have such a great theme of life and rebirth and family in there, and ending it at the ranch would reflect that theme.”
I had no idea.
She opened my eyes to the subconscious of storytelling. I have four published romance novels, and every one of them has either siblings or cousins who are as close as siblings, who support and love and help each other. It wasn’t done on purpose. I want everyone to have someone in their corner.
As for what I gravitate to… that’s a harder call. Themes aren’t always obvious as tropes when you pick a book to read. Give me a good story and I’ll read (most) any theme.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
I have a story (or several) to tell, and I want to tell it. It might take a while to write and hone and perfect, but I’ll get there.
Losing focus is usually an indication I need to get to bed. I still have that day job, after all!
Drawing – Abigail is generously giving away a $5 Amazon or BnN card to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment below.
Open until August 27, 2019 11:59 PM EST.
However, all comments will also be entered to win a bundle of books from the Week 3 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 8/28/19 11:59pm Eastern to enter.
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Abigail is a Boston-bred Yankee now eating grits and saying “y’all” in North Central Florida. Technical writer by day, she doesn’t don a cape at night, but spends her time writing passionate and playful contemporary romance.
When she’s not writing, she can be found wearing a corset and singing bawdy songs with Just Desserts, an a cappella musical comedy act, at places that won’t throw them out. All hail low altos!
Abigail lives with her husband, two kids, and one crazy princess puppy.
Connect with Abigail:
Keep up with her on Goodreads or
She has a website, too ( www.abigailsharpe.com ), but it’s horribly outdated, and she’d rather write books than fix the HTML. Only go there if you want to sign up for her newsletter, which she publishes sporadically.
Discover all of Abigail’s books:
*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!