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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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Jeffe Kennedy – The Sheer Exhilaration of The Ride
Books are magic – every reader knows that. Through books we become different people, and even creatures! We travel to other worlds, explore new landscapes and discover countless dimensions beyond our own. Some people say we have only one life to live, but through reading, we can live thousands of lives. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
Even better is when we can have magical themes in those books. Through magic, we can reach even farther beyond our daily existence and explore what it’s like to be a sorcerer or how it feels to ride on a dragon – or to become a dragon! The characters in books like this can have all sorts of abilities that they use to fight terrible wrongs and to restore goodness and justice to the world. These are themes I love to write about for the sheer exhilaration of the ride.
Also, I love when characters discover strengths in themselves, when they transcend their old limitations to become the best version of themselves and triumph.
But the sweetest spot, the deliciously perfect combination for me, is when we add romance to the mix. Romance is about more than falling in love, as every Romance reader knows. Sure, finding the right person and falling in love is part of it, but it’s what the characters have to do in order to have that love that’s the real story, the true magic of Romance. True love requires sacrifice, demands that we overcome our fears and flaws to seize something beyond ourselves, to cherish another person.
Notice the parallel? Oh yes, for me the real magic of fantasy and romance is when the two arcs collide – when the heroine has to transcend her safe existence and become the warrior who can stand up for good, and in that transcending, is also able to embrace loving and being loved. Real, everyday magic.
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Grace writes gorgeous fantasy with deeply felt and unusual love affairs and friendships. I love everything she writes!
I fell in love with Amanda’s Kingmaker Chronicles and gobbled them up. She’s a fantastic author of magic and love.
I’ve been a longtime fan of Jennifer’s Elemental Assassins series. Now that she’s branched out into fantasy, I love her Shards of Honor books – fantasy with slow-burn romance.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
My husband and I lived in Wyoming for over twenty years. He was born and raised there, but I only went there for graduate school. I thought I’d be there just a short time, but I met this guy (him), fell in love, and ended up staying. There were many things I loved about living in Wyoming, and many things I didn’t.
Finally, we decided that my husband would take early retirement from his state job and go back to school to pursue his passion and have a second career. There were many places we could’ve chosen, and we picked Santa Fe, New Mexico because we loved everything about the place. We bought a beautiful house in the countryside with incredible views – exactly the kind of place we’d dreamed of – and moved in late in August. For those first few months, we felt like we were on extended holiday, living in some vacation home. We cherished every moment – the wildlife, the weather, the farmers markets, the people. We felt truly enchanted.
Even now I look up from my desk while writing this, look over the high desert and down the valley to the mountains, and I count my blessings. It’s magic here every day.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
When I was in 5th grade, I found Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong in the school library. I still remember the cover that caught my eye, and then how I felt reading it. That was my gateway drug to fantasy. I was absolutely riveted – and wanted a fire lizard of my own! – until I read Dragonflight the following year. A more adult book set in the same world with connected characters, Dragonflight introduced me to romance along with fantasy. I still want to be a dragonrider when I grow up.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
When I first decided to try to be a writer (instead of a research scientist – long story), I wrote essays. To my great delight, one of those essays – Of Swallows, Snakes and Science – won a contest. I sent it to a professor from college because the essay explored themes I’d worked on I classes with him. Unbeknownst to me, he sent the essay along to his sister, who happened to be an acquisitions editor for a university press. She emailed me and said she loved the essay and was she in time to publish my first book? She was! That became Wyoming Trucks, True Love, and the Weather Channel – my first book and the beginning of a fantastic journey.
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?
I’ve always been a person who believed in magic in everyday life. Bringing out obvious magic in my stories is a way of illustrating the magic of being human, of learning and growing, of becoming more and better. Also, magic is super fun!
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
I’d say the rush of creativity itself keeps me going. There’s no feeling better than when the words flow. It truly is like magic. Also, writing is my full-time job and my career, as well as my passion. Earning money to pay the bills is always good incentive.
DRAWING – Jeffe is hosting The Romance of Reading page, and her giveaways will take place there.
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Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has won the prestigious RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America (RWA), has been a finalist twice, been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) as a Director at Large.
Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Discover all of Jeffe’s books:
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