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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.)
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Adriana Herrera – Hyenas & Romance, Oh My!
Hyenas brought me back to romance. No, you did not read that wrong.
But I’ll start from the beginning. I’ve always been a ravenous reader for as long as I can remember, I’m known for it. Family, friends and even acquaintances have always commented on the fact that I’m always reading. Romance was always one of my favorite things to read.
Since I discovered the genre as a pre-teen, when my mom got me a boxed set of young adult romances translated into Spanish, it was love at first read. But once I got older the genre lost me a little bit. In college my reading tastes shifted, because I wanted to read books that reflected my own experience. Still I missed romance, those stories that always delivered on their promise and made me believe in love and happily ever afters.
So after being away from the genre for years and years, I found myself living and working in Eastern Africa circa 2008. My work involved a lot of overnight trips to remote areas, where there was no electricity and usually meant in the evenings I had to make my own fun. So one day as I prepared for a multi-night trip, on a whim I went online (the connection back then was just a little faster than dial-up) looking for “fun” books. To my utter surprise and delight, I found that there was a wide selection of LGBT romance that I could read on my Kindle. So I got a bunch of them. I figured, if I didn’t like them I will return them, and just in case I also brought a paperback of the current literary fiction selection my book club was reading.
The town we were staying at on my trip was well-known for its hyenas. They whooped long into the night, and reader, it was so freaking scary. So as I laid there not able to sleep and not really interested in my book club book, I opened my kindle. I randomly picked Josh Lanyon’s Fatal Shadows. Four hours later, Jake and Adrien’s story had sucked me back in. That night I read the first book and about half of the next one, I was so immersed I could barely hear the hyenas. For the next two nights I made my way through the next couple of books and the rest is history. The magic of romance, and the need to see those people in the stories scratch and fight their way to love, kept me company on many nights in my travels and to this day are still working their magic on me.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
My time in Africa was pretty magical. I lived and worked in Ethiopia for five years and it was amazing. I consider that country the homeland of my heart. So much so that I wrote a romance set there, which is coming out next year. There is a magic to that place, its history and beauty that is hard to describe. But one of the most special things about my time there was that I rediscovered my love for romance in those years.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
I think the most magical book I’ve read in a while is The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. It was monumental to read a story about a Dominican young woman, and be able to see a unique reflection of my own life. It inspired me to keep writing romance that centered on Afro-Latinx voices, so that my stories could for some Romance readers what Elizabeth’s did for me.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
My career so far has had a lot of magical moments, so far and I am grateful for all of them. What has been incredibly special has been to read messages or emails from readers who are Latinx or PoC and tell me that my characters and their stories made the feel seen for the first time. That in my books they finally got what representation met.
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?
My culture and the nuance of being Latinx. I constantly dig into the many faces and stories of Latinx communities. Our own issues like colorism and misogyny, but also the beauty and the colors of who we are. Our food, our heroes, our music are the things that constantly inspire me. I want to give readers as much as I can form our world because it is so diverse and full. We often get lumped into a homogenous pile, when we are so vast and varied. As long as I write my culture, our culture will be the bedrock of my stories.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
Getting to tell the stories I always yearned to read by never found, is an incredibly powerful motivator for me. So whenever I lose my focus, I remind myself that I came into romance with a mandate and that I am still pursuing it.
Drawing – Author is generously giving away two copies of American Dreamer. 1 to an international reader, one to a US reader!
To enter, leave a comment below. Open until August 25th, 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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Adriana Herrera was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last fifteen years has let her job as a humanitarian relief worker (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings. Her debut novel, American Dreamer, had been featured in Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Book Riot and the TODAY Show.
When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a social worker in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Discover all of Adriana’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!