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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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Barbara Valentin – Entranced By The magic Of Books
My childhood home may have looked like a typical brick ranch on the outside, but the interior gave off more of a quirky library vibe. To say my mother, a reporter for our local newspaper, had a book fetish would not be an overstatement. On entering our rec room, my friends would marvel at the stacks of paperbacks and hard covers lining the paneled walls from floor to ceiling like a tapestry of multi-colored rectangles, touting titles by writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Parker and Lewis Carroll. Was it any wonder my sister and I became entranced by the magic of books? Not only did they provide decorative cover for the otherwise ho-hum paneling, each offered a portal from our boring Chicago suburb to parts unknown.
While my sister chose to transport to the front lines of famous WWII battles via historical fiction stacked near our dad’s recliner, I vanished into regency England via the historical romances near my mom’s. Fast forward to college, I majored in English and minored in Creative Writing, determined to become a famous author whose books might someday find a spot in someone else’s library. Imagine my delight when I landed a writing gig right after graduation. Only, it was technical writing. While drafting procedures to troubleshoot telecom equipment malfunctions may have paid the bills, over time it sucked nearly every creative cell out of my body.
The characters who had been whispering in my ear, waiting to come alive on a page in a book in a library somewhere, were all but gone. One marriage and five sons later, reading still managed to whisk me away from my mundane job and miles-long to do lists. It wasn’t until I saw a posting for a local romance writers meeting, though, that those characters started whispering (shouting, really) again. I promptly joined the group and started wielding my laptop like a wand. Almost a year later, I had drafted my first manuscript. With the support of my critique partners, I refined it and got the attention of a publisher. While my first manuscript became HELP WANTED, my second published romance novel, it didn’t lessen the thrill of seeing it grace our local library shelf. Talk about magical!
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Stacey Wiedower – www.staceywiedower.com – @Amazon
Sharing the heartaches and heart throbs of characters who would fit in well with my circle of friends, she takes the genre of romantic comedy to a whole new level.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
When I’m writing a scene I’ve got all mapped out, but the characters decide to take it a different direction (that often works out much better than I had originally planned!).
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. The first book of hers I had read, I first saw it sitting on my chair at a luncheon for which Kristan was the keynote speaker. I had never heard of her before, but decided to binge read everything she had ever written when she was only a few moments into entertaining us with tales of her life as a bestselling author.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
A few months after False Start, my first Assignment: Romance book, was published, I plopped myself down in a seat on my usual commuter train into work when the woman sitting next to me held up the copy of it she had just finished and said, “This is me.” She had tears in her eyes as she handed me a pen so I could sign it for her.
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?
While I like creating second chances for some of my characters, my favorite theme usually centers around characters not being (or at least seeming at all like) who they first seem to be. I don’t go there on purpose, but it ‘s a great way to give characters some depth and a bit of history and mystery.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
What inspires me is telling stories of women who are struggling in some way – be it with their path, a past mistake, a flawed body image – and helping them conquer, accept and inspire others to do the same. I can’t think of a better way to arrive at a happily ever after.
Drawing – Barbara is generously giving away two signed copies of Help Wanted (domestic readers only, apologies to our international friends).
To enter, leave a comment below responding to some point in her post. Comments must be in before 8/19/19 11:59 pm Central.
Comments will also be entered to win a bundle of books from the Week 2 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 8/21/19 11:59pm Eastern to enter.
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Barbara Valentin is the author of the bestselling Assignment: Romance series.
She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her sons and a cat named Nala.
Discover all of Barbara‘s books:
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