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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 Evie Dunmore will also be on the page.)
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Evie Dunmore – Romance Novels, The White Witches
An innocuous thing, a book: paper, rows of words, all in all small enough to fit into a handbag. Then you open it, and – the words pull you in. The outer world falls away as a new one unfolds before your mind’s eye and you’re off on a journey, into someone else’s life or foreign landscapes; back in time, or into the future, and as you go, you feel something. You laugh out loud along the way, or your chest will ache. Considering all you’re really doing is look at someone else’s thoughts printed on a page, that’s pretty magical. People in their respective corners of the world laugh and cry or fall in love with heroes and heroines who don’t actually exist, courtesy of someone somewhere typing away behind their laptop screen.
I find a reading experience most satisfying, most magical, when it speaks to some of my needs: making me feel seen, providing answers, whisking me away for a while. I believe a book can do this because at the end of the day, the hopes and desires of the person behind the screen and mine aren’t all that different. I love the idea that a book speaks to people because it appeals to the common threads that do run through us all no matter where we’re from; a lovely reminder that while we are unique, we are not alone with our thoughts and feelings.
If books are magical, then romance novels are the white witches, if you will. They possess healing powers beyond that of books from other genres, for again and again fellow readers share how romance novels have seen them through when real life was letting them down.
I experienced the power of romance novels first-hand in my twenties, when my health failed me and I had to slog on across rock-bottom for a year. I would have done anything just to get a break. Help came in the shape of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels. Yes, Twilight gets a lot of flak, but these books asked nothing of me other than that I crawl into them and rest awhile in the misty forests of the Olympic Peninsula.
Turned out that sparkly vampire romances with a guaranteed HEA worked a treat for letting me heal a little while I was busy with reading and re-reading. The experience made me seek out more adult romance novels. The books also inspired me to set goals: I became determined to go and see the Pacific Northwest. That is exactly what I did when I was well again, I flew half-way around the globe and road-tripped through Washington State and got a picture with a life-sized Edward Cullen paper cut-out in rainy Forks. One of the best things I ever did. So, if any of my novels ever helped another woman catch a break or inspired her to visit new places, all these hours I spend hunched over, typing, would be worth it tenfold.
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This list is just a fraction of authors I auto-buy but these are the books I engaged with lately:
Jen DeLuca – www.jendeluca.com – @Amazon
Fellow Berkley debut author & release date “twin” Jen DeLuca. Her Renaissance Faire rom com Well Met had me laughing out loud and is already very popular with early readers. Find Well Met @Amazon
Anna Campbell – annacampbell.com – @Amazon
Last but not least, the latest Highlander novella and pretty much anything else by Anna Campbell – for me, she is one of the few authors whose novellas pack the same emotional punch as a full-length novel, because she’s just so good at creating emotional intensity on the page.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
I did my undergraduate degree at a university in Wales, right at the Atlantic coast. In summer, I’d go down to the beach to see the dolphins play in the sunset. As you do. I’d sit on the still warm pebbles and watch the sun melt into the horizon. Seagulls cried, the waves were crashing, the smell of wood smoke from the bonfires wafted over. Then came the point when for a minute, the ocean would turn into a gently heaving pool of liquid gold and all was calm. Happy days.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
The God of Small Things – The prose was so lyrical and yet so unassuming, the entire book read like a poem to me and I never forgot some of the turns of phrases that moved me the most. “He had her aching heart on a leash, bumping behind him, lurching over leaves and small stones.” Ack. Who hasn’t felt that way at some point?
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
I’m a debut author working with an awesome agent and awesome editor, so the entire ride has been fantastic so far. But a few months ago, I woke up to the news that Kirkus had given Bringing Down the Duke a starred review. First, I had retrospective palpitations that my publisher had submitted my debut to the highly discerning Kirkus Review Team. Then I peeked at the review online and found it right above the starred review for Sarah MacLean’s Brazen and the Beast. That was when it all sunk in and I cried. MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break was the book that got me hooked on reading historical romance years ago, and to see Brazen and Bringing Down the Duke in the same picture was a truly magical “you have come full circle” moment.
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?
Apart from romance, an element I love both as a reader and writer is the found family. As you grow into yourself, you have an opportunity to find your kindred spirits, people who accept and like you for who you are, and for some of us, that is not our birth family. I’m a huge fan of uplifting female friendships or “adopted family” being the safe havens when everything else has gone pear-shaped.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
It does feel as though higher powers are at work when the characters begin to do their own thing, and my fingers are frantically hacking away at the keyboard of their own volition to keep up and see what the hero will do or say next. But those magical moments are few and far in between for a plotter like me, so filling in the gaps is mainly just hard graft. On top of the list of things I need to keep going are a quiet room and time to myself and I’ve become ruthless about setting that aside, as a woman, I have to be. I also have a small team of other writers in an online support group, they are admirably patient when I go on a whinge binge about a manuscript behaving badly.
DRAWING – Evie 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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Debut author Evie Dunmore wrote BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE inspired by the magical scenery of Oxford and her passion for romance, women pioneers, and all things Victorian.
She is a member of the British Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA).
Evie at Amazon:
*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!