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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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Maida Malby – The Magical Passport In Books
“A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair.” Katrina Mayer’s words expressed my thoughts perfectly about this year’s Read-A-Romance month theme: The Magic of Books.
I grew up in the Philippines and coming from a poor family, I did not have the resources to travel out of my birth country until I was already a working adult. Thankfully, I had a bookworm for a father and a teacher for a mother who both encouraged me from a young age to read books that took me all over the world before I was able to actually travel to the locations in which they were set.
Judith Krantz’s I’ll Take Manhattan familiarized me with New York City landmarks prior to my first visit there in 1994. I had seen the grandeur of the Sydney Opera House through Emma Darcy’s Harlequin romances set in Australia before I beheld it for the first time in 1998. Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence had me enthralled with the South of France years before I toured Europe in 1999. Imagine how often I’ve been to England from reading books by Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Barbara Cartland, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, and Johanna Lindsey. Truly, if there’s a special passport that gets stamped every time I travel in books, I would have to renew it every year.
I want to believe that this is the same for millions of readers all over the world. In reality, however, the US-centric world of Romancelandia has limited book travel options to Asia. There’s Sonali Dev’s angsty A Distant Heart which transported me to India and Hong Kong, Sherry Thomas’s epic The Hidden Blade and My Beautiful Enemy duology set in Imperial China, and Mina V. Esguerra and her Romance Class cohorts’ works which always brings me home to the Philippines.
There are a few others but I feel strongly about the need for many more books to take readers to the biggest continent on Earth without leaving their homes. That’s why, when I started writing, I’ve chosen to conjure the magic of traveling through books by setting my first series in my home region of Southeast Asia. I’d like readers of Carpe Diem Chronicles to not only visit the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand when they read Boracay Vows, Singapore Fling, Samui Heat, and Palawan Promises, but also to experience the cultures through the languages, customs, and food I feature in them.
People fall in love all around the world. The magic is in witnessing that love blossom within the pages of a book.
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Linda’s The Magician’s Curse and its sequel The Magician’s Blood are perfect for my topic not only because of the magic tricks in the books, but also because the scenes take place in various places in Canada.
Catherine’s How to Seduce a Spy is an award-winning steampunk romp that takes place in France, Egypt, USA, and England.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
2004 stands out as one of the most eventful years in my life. It was a year of travels for me with trips to Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, the US, and the Philippines. It was during my summer vacation in the US when I met my now-husband Brian. In the fall, he visited me in Singapore where I was based at the time and we went to the Philippines where I introduced him to my family and friends. I also brought him to my favorite place in the country: the island of Boracay.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist changed my life. I was at a holding pattern when I read it – no romantic relationship, no promotion at work, no budget for travel. Then I came across the famous line: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
It’s not a wish or a prayer that will be magically, instantly granted, but that of a goal I’m going to work hard to accomplish, with the entire universe surrounding me with positive energies. The hope it gave me was so profound, I made my dreams come true shortly afterwards.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
I wrote BORACAY VOWS during NaNoWriMo in November 2016. It was already November 26 and the book was only at 37,000 words. I needed to write 13,000 more in four days in order to win. On the 27th, I wrote 4,000 words. Something just clicked. After that, the next three days flew by with the creative juices flowing and the words coming out fast and furious. The competitor in me rose up to the occasion and urged me to finish in style. Also, magic. And the universe.
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?
Somebody traveling to a faraway place and finding their forever partner there is magical to me. How else can two strangers with vastly different backgrounds come together in that particular place, at that specific time and decide that nobody else will do? They’re it. Attraction. Love. Magic.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
When I’m blocked, I go to Amazon and search for my debut novel Boracay Vows. I click on “Similar books” and see only my other book New York Engagement there. Nobody else tells the stories I do – Filipina main character paired with an American love interest and their romance happens outside of the US. I get back to work right away and write more of my love story and the love stories of many couples all over the world who are like me and my husband. If I don’t represent them, nobody else will.
Drawing – Maida is generously giving away a Book-A-Magical-Trip package containing:
– A signed paperback copy of Boracay Vows
– A charm bracelet/anklet that can also be a fancy bookmark
– A cute sinamay hat with blue ribbon
– A fashionable pair of shades with white frames
– A sea-themed blue and white sarong
– White flip-flops
– Soak Up The Sun tote bag
To enter, leave a comment below. Drawing open until September 6, 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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Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and lives Romance. With her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she takes you to her favorite places in the world and shares with you the experience of their rich cultural heritage.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and reviews of romance novels are featured on her website maidamalby.com.
When not writing, reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection, debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.
Discover all of Maida’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!