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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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Minerva Spencer – Reading, Writing & Magic Tricks
If you’re visiting The Romance of Reading and reading this post you’re probably already a member of my “tribe” and I don’t need to convince you that books are magic—especially romance novels!
I cannot envision a world without books. Or at least I can’t envision a world without stories. While I’ve only been a writer for five years I’ve loved reading from the moment I could decipher all those little black marks on the page.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit it, but books really were my best friends for many, many years. When I was a kid we moved a lot. In fact, we moved every six months or so until I was eleven. As an introvert, meeting new people every six months and trying to make a place for myself among my peers was hard work.
Being a stranger in a strange land meant I often turned to stories for both comfort and entertainment. I can still remember in 5th grade when I discovered The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It was the first time I read all night long, unable to go to sleep (and for months afterward I knocked on the back of all our closets and desperately wished for a wardrobe).
Since that long ago night I’ve often gone to work or school bleary eyed and sleep-deprived, and I haven’t regretted a moment of it.
After I graduated law school I was offered a job at a prestigious law firm. It was an insurance defense firm and everything inside me cried out against defending insurance companies. But the money and status were too hard to pass up, so I took the job.
I often joke that books saved my life that year. While it was a year spent depositing nice paychecks into my account, it was also a year of dreading every workday and of being ashamed of the companies I defended and represented.
It was also a year of dodging senior partners who wanted to take lowly associates to lunch. Now why would I pass up a free lunch (and a chance to schmooze the boss)? Because I lived for my lunch hours, that brief slice of heaven when I could escape into a bookstore only a few blocks away—a place I was certain never to run into any of my employers—and devour my drug of choice: science fiction and fantasy in those days.
I don’t want you to think I’ve only turned to books during the bad times. I remember the joy of passing around Judy Blume and V.C. Andrews (teen girl contraband) in 6th & 7th grade, when I finally began to assemble a group of like-minded book lovers and we would swap these taboo books. I also used to hang out at a local drugstore where one of my friends worked after school and she’d keep lookout for me while I hovered by the book racks and speed read forbidden Harlequin romances.
I have good friends who don’t read fiction—or who might read a book every few years—and I’ve never stopped being amazed as to how they survive. I HAVE to read before I go to bed, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I’ll read print, on an ereader, and even (reluctantly) on my phone.
Over the past few years I’ve discovered yet another way to get more reading in: yes, the magic of audiobooks. Okay, so that’s technically not reading, but it is a great way to pack even more books into your day. It’s also a great way to pair two of my favorite activities: reading AND knitting.
As much as I love reading books, I have to admit that writing them can sometimes be even more magical.
While I don’t write books with actual magic in them, I do write books about love—which, you have to admit, is pretty magical.
My current series, set during the Regency Era, is called The Outcasts and features characters who don’t always fit in with society and there is definitely magic happening as my heroes and heroines journey toward their happily ever after.
SCANDALOUS, the 3rd Outcasts book, tells the tale of an ex-whore-turned-privateer and the missionary woman who brings him to his knees (and other interesting positions). SCANDALOUS will take you from the pirate-infested waters off The Gold Coast of Africa to the ballrooms of London and you never have to leave the comfort of your PJs!
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Kaelan Rhywiol – kaelanrhywiol.com – @Amazon
Kaelan started writing when xie turned 11 and hasn’t ever stopped as evidenced by the massive amount of notebooks and digital files of xyr writing xie has hanging around
Chase Taylor Hackett – www.chasetaylorhackett.com – @Amazon
Chase writes funny, romantic stories about gay guys trying to build careers, amid the distractions of love lives, hormones, and the maze of the city.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
The day I received the call from my editor Alicia Condon about my book contract with Kensington was definitely a magical day. The weeks before the call had been very tough. I’d been reevaluating whether or not I had the emotional “chops” and resilience to be a writer. I had retreated pretty deeply into my cave when she called and I’m pretty sure I babbled mindlessly for the duration of the ten hazy minutes we spoke. I still feel the magic of that day and suspect I will for a very, very long time.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
The first book that comes to mind with this question is Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. I know it is not considered his best (Even he gave it a ‘C’ grade!) but it really grabbed me and made me think. It made me question everything and formulate my own belief system, rather than just accepting those promoted by school, government, the Catholic church, and all of the other institutions I’d considered infallible.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
I write by the seat of my pants so I often have magical moments (both good and bad) I have to say my magical moments are when my fingers are just typing along and I look down at the end of a few hours and re-read what I’ve written and think, “Wow! This is great–where the heck did it come from??” I usually only meet my characters once they’ve shown up on the page, I don’t plot or plan or even know who they’ll be until I start typing, so I find that phase of writing very exciting.
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 didn’t realize it until I looked back on all my books, but I definitely favor the marriage of convenience trope. There is something about life throwing two people together against their romantic will that really must appeal to me!
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
I do my best creative thinking while walking, driving on long trips with no radio, or sometimes in the shower. But sometimes there are those days (weeks, sometimes) when I just can’t seem to get down a single word. Those are the scary times but my family always reminds me it’s not over, I’m just “refilling my well.”
DRAWING – Minerva is hosting The Romance of Reading page, and her giveaways will take place there.
However, comments will also be entered to win a bundle of books from the Week 3 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 8/28/19 11:59pm Eastern to enter.
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Minerva Spencer is a Canadian transplant who now lives in the mountains of New Mexico. She began writing in 2013 after closing her 8-room bed and breakfast (a subject she will never write about. . . ) Minerva has been a criminal prosecutor, college history professor, and bartender, among many other things.
She currently writes full-time and operates a small poultry rescue on her four-acre hobby farm, where she lives with her wonderful, tolerant husband and many animals.
When Minerva isn’t writing or editing she’s playing with birds and dogs or doing a little DIY.
SCANDALOUS, Minerva’s third book in The Outcasts series, will be out September 24, 2019 and her anthology THE ARRANGEMENT with Sylvia Day and Kristin Vayden will be out January, 2020.
Minerva is represented by Pamela Hopkins of Hopkins Literary Associates.
Discover all of Minerva’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!