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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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Emily Larkin – The Magical Act of Book Telepathy
If someone asked me whether books are magical, my answer would be yes.
Think about it: someone, somewhere, made up a story and wrote it down, and weeks or years later you pick it up and read it and the characters in that story come alive in your mind.
That is definitely magic—one person creating characters that come alive in thousands of other people’s minds.
When you read fiction, you’re walking in someone else’s imagination, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. You’ve never met the writer. You probably never will. Perhaps they live on the other side of the world. Perhaps they’ve been dead for centuries. Yet during the time that you’re reading a book they wrote, you’re inside their head and they’re inside yours.
That’s unquestionably magic!
What’s even more magical is that the characters created by that writer might make such an impression on you that they stay with you for the rest of your life.
Look at the impact Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy have had on the world. Or Harry Potter. They’re figments of someone’s imagination, they’re not real, and yet they’re part of our lives, and they’ll be part of our children’s lives and grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s.
The most magical characters always are!
For me, the best books are the ones that make me laugh unexpectedly, or the ones with characters who worm their way so deeply into my emotions that my heart literally squeezes in my chest when something hurtful happens to them. Now that’s true magic—to make a reader experience a visceral reaction because of something that happens to someone who doesn’t actually exist!
In Stephen King’s ON WRITING, he says that books are portable magic and that when you read one you’re actually taking part in an act of telepathy.
He explains it like this:
“I never opened my mouth and you never opened yours. We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room … except we are together. We are close. We’re having a meeting of the minds. […] We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy.”
So, according to Stephen King, the world isn’t nearly as mundane and prosaic as we think it is. People are engaged in telepathy every day! And what’s even more remarkable is that a single book doesn’t represent a single act of telepathy, but thousands of acts of telepathy. (Or millions, if you’re Steven King or Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling.)
You may not agree with Stephen King that reading a book is telepathy, but I think we’d all agree that books are portable magic.
It’s magical to be able to enter someone else’s imagination and lose yourself in the worlds and characters they’ve created, to fall in love with people who don’t actually exist, to laugh with them and cry for them, to become sad or elated or afraid or angry, to literally shiver or feel your heart clench.
Books are magic!
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Within the historical romance genre, I recommend are Grace Burrowes and Anna Campbell. They’re both exceptionally talented writers!
My favorite genre to read at the moment is male/male romance and I’d like to recommend a couple of authors who include magical or paranormal elements in their books.
And last, but definitely not least, I’d like to recommend a book that I recently discovered: EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS by ‘Nathan Burgoine.
I loved EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS so much that I read it three times in one month! It’s new adult romance (or maybe YA, I’m never sure of the distinction) about a young man coping with unexpected magic and unexpected romance on top of finals. Heat-wise it’s sweet, and there’s a fabulously diverse cast of characters. It’s one of those books that just makes you feel happy when you read it. I can’t recommend it enough!
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
One of the experiences that is most magical in my memory—and that had a profound effect on me—was backpacking with my family through Europe for six months when I was eleven. I grew up in a small town in New Zealand, and that trip expanded my world in ways I can’t even begin to describe. It was kind of like the Big Bang going off inside me. I’ll never forget the magic of being surrounded by all those different languages and all that history, plus the architecture and the food and the traditions and the landscapes. Everything was so different from New Zealand and each country was also different from the next—Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, Denmark, Norway… It was the most incredible experience and it completely changed the course of my life, from the subjects I chose to study at high school (languages and classics), to my decision to become an exchange student (another magical time!), to my ever-present desire to travel.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
There are so many books that have been magical to read, but one that really stands out for me is SORCERY AND CECELIA (OR, THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT) by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. I stumbled across it quite by accident in the library one day. I was intrigued by the premise—a Regency romance with magic?—but was a little dubious and I almost didn’t borrow it. Boy, am I glad that I did! Honestly, the first time I read it I think that my brain exploded a tiny bit in the sheer delight. That was years ago now (twenty years?) but SORCERY AND CECELIA (OR, THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT) still remains one of my all-time favorite books. (I think I have three copies).
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
That would have to be when one of my Regencies-with-magic hit the USA Today bestseller list—and I didn’t realize until two months later! I mean, honestly, how could I have missed that? And yet somehow, I did. So the moment when I finally realized was pretty magical. (And yes, one of the first things I did was buy a bottle of champagne.)
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?
When I first started writing, I wrote fantasy novels under one name and historical romances under another. By the time I’d published five in each genre I realized that although I love the magic and adventure inherent in fantasy novels, my favorite setting is Regency England.
I decided to combine the two and write about an England populated by all the characters you’d find in a Regency romance—plus a handful of people who possess a magic they have to keep hidden.
There are balls and house parties and dukes and governesses and all that, but there are also excursions into a slightly more dangerous side of Regency England.
I love writing Regencies-with-magic for so many reasons! Let me count the ways…
1. I love mixing magic with the restrictions of Regency society.
2. I love that it gives me the opportunity to get my well-bred heroines out of the drawing rooms and put them in the way of adventure and romance.
3. I love how the magic complicates my characters’ lives and also the lives of the people around them.
4. I love being able to play with different kinds of magic. What would it be like to be able to change shape? To hear lies? To become invisible? How would that magic make your life easier? How would it make your life more dangerous? I love exploring all that.
Honestly, I expected my new series to have a readership of about ten people, but it turns out that thousands of people enjoy it, so I am beyond thrilled!
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
For me, walking is the magical elixir of creativity. If I ever get stuck in a scene, I climb a hill, and by the time I’m back home again my brain has figured out how to unstick that scene. Long distance train travel is also conducive to creativity (for me). I love staring out the window and watching the world go past. Something about the motion of the train and all those glimpses of vistas and backyards and other people’s lives just sets ideas spinning in my brain.
Drawing – Emily is generously giving away a choice of her Baleful Godmothers series. One to a U.S. winner and one to an international winner. If you’re international, tell us where you live in the comments.
To enter, leave a comment below. Open until August 31, 2019 11:59 PM EST.
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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Emily Larkin is the award-winning author of the Baleful Godmother historical romance series, a series that readers are calling “sexy, unusual and vastly entertaining” and “ridiculously wonderful.” She also writes fantasy novels as Emily Gee.
When not reading or writing, Emily can be found hiking—preferably somewhere off the beaten track. She loves to travel, and has lived in Sweden, backpacked in Europe and North America, and traveled overland in the Middle East, China, and North Africa. Her varied career includes stints as a field assistant in Antarctica and a waitress on the Isle of Skye.
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