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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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Priscilla Oliveras – A Lifetime of Magic & Books
Wow, so much power in those four words…The Magic of Books. They take me back to my childhood, getting lost in Ramona and Beezus, Nancy Drew, and The Babysitter’s Club. When books were trusted friends that came with me when a military move meant my familia had to relocate, again. They take me back to high school when Victoria Holt gothic novels swept me off my feet for the first time and when my first Harlequin Romance calmed the stress of waiting out a hurricane at a shelter in the Keys.
Those words remind me of the times a book has transported me to different worlds, enlightened me, brought me joy and sorrow, took my breath away…that’s the magic of books. The ability to move, teach, transform, unite.
Reading the Harry Potter series aloud with my three daughters provided hours of mother-daughter bonding time while we cultivated their love of reading. If I close my eyes, I can still picture the four of us huddled on our living room sofa, sitting at the dinner table long after our meal had finished, or driving across the US with one of them reading in the back seat. As a family we traveled to Hogwarts where we laughed at Ron’s and the twins’ antics, cried over Dobby and Sirius and other beloved characters (oh my gosh, that last book…tear jerker for some of us). Together we cheered every hard-fought battle won, bit our lips with angst, and yearned for Harry and the good guys to vanquish Voldemort and his evil.
The Magic of Books…it’s the countless nights I’ve stayed awake until dawn, reading “just one more chapter” in a Kristan Higgins or Nora Roberts or Sonali Dev or Alisha Rai or Alyssa Cole or Alexis Daria or Falguni Kothari or another fellow romance author whose mastery has spun a web around me, cocooning me in their story world, leaving me unable, unwilling, to put their book down.
The Magic of Books…it’s the power of words to bring hope, especially when reality has you feeling like there’s not much hope around you. It’s the beauty and intrinsic value of seeing yourself represented on the page. It’s the chest tightening joy that comes when a reader thanks you for writing a main character like them or others in their familia, because that hasn’t happened enough (or at all) in the past.
What better power than to help someone see beyond what’s in front of them. To show them it’s okay to aspire for better…in life, in love, in relationships, in general. That’s the true Magic of Books…the fact that it empowers our imagination, no matter what age we are.
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Alisha Rai – www.alisharai.com – @Amazon
Her latest, The Right Swipe, swept me off my feet— nuanced characters, humor mixed with heartfelt emotion, sensual sexy times…all around made me sigh with satisfaction
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
In my books, as in my real life, familia plays a key role. So, when I think of the magical moments in my life, my familia features in most of the highlights.
One BIG magical moment…attending my first game at Wrigley Field with my abuela.
I was already a young wife and mom of three, but my abuela and I had been talking about and dreaming about going to Wrigley together to cheer on our beloved Cubbies since I was a kid watching the games on WGN along-side her during summers I spent with her in Puerto Rico. My abuela and I made the trek to Chicago the summer of 1995.
Our first game at Wrigley, it was a cold, rainy, night game and we were huddled together in our seats, sharing the one rain poncho we had. We were damp and freezing yet determined to stay until the last out was called and the game finished. We spent much of the game laughing with each other over our bum luck with the weather. Reminiscing over games we’d watched together in the past on her small television in Puerto Rico. Awed by the grandeur of the place we considered, and still do consider, baseball heaven.
You know, I can’t remember whether the Cubs won or lost that game. But what I do remember, is the magical sound of my abuela’s giddy, infectious laughter. The excitement shining in her brown eyes. The grin tugging up the corners of her mouth. My absolute joy at sharing this special, magical night with a woman who’d helped shape my life, who’d taught me the love of the game. And who, while no longer physically with us, continues to play an inspirational role in my life.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Barbara O’Neal’s (Samuel’s) The Lost Recipe for Happiness is one book that inspires me as a reader and a writer. It owns prime real estate on my digital Keeper Shelf because I’ll often take it down to re-read a passage, or two, or three.
As a reader, I relish losing myself in her story world; she does such an incredible job making me feel like it’s real. I taste the food the heroine cooks in her restaurant. Smell the mountain air where she lives. Feel the pain some of the characters carry with them, and long for them to find their peace.
As a writer, I’m inspired by her masterful storytelling, vivid imagery, and ability to move me as a reader in such beautiful ways. Her writing makes me strive to do my best to create the same emotions in my readers.
It’s a powerful book in many ways for me.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
I try hard to look at all the “good news” moments—signing my first contract, attending my first book signing, getting my first letter from a reader, finishing a manuscript that tested me—as magical. We’re lucky to be able to share our stories and the characters we love with readers. But if I had to choose just one magical moment, it would probably be the day the box of ARCs (advanced reader copies) of my debut novel arrived on my front stoop.
Opening that box. Holding my first novel in my hands. Aw man, priceless. It was a dream that had been in the making for 27 years. That’s a pretty long time.
But you know what? It was totally worth it!
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’m not sure it’s specific themes or elements, but rather the hope for a positive future that resonates with me as a romance writer and reader. The human connections we find in romance novels are what draw me to our genre. Definitely, the connection between the main characters, which leads to their HEA or HFN. But also, the connections between the main characters and the others in their lives. Through our books, readers see the idea that healthy relationships—romantic and platonic—can empower us. It’s important for me to show and see the power of positive love amongst familia and friends in the stories I write, as well as the stories I read.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say a looming deadline is definitely inspiration that helps me keep going. 🙂 That pressure to not let my editor, agent, or readers down is true motivation.
Creatively, though, what helps is getting to know my characters. I spend a lot of pre-writing time learning what makes them tick—their history, wants, goals, fears, what brings them joy, etc. Once they become like real people, there’s a compulsion inside me to do my best to share their story in such a way that will have readers falling in love with my characters as much as I have.
That’s when writing becomes a magical, maybe even somewhat crazy, experience. I enjoy spending time with my characters. Oftentimes, I’ll get on a role, lose myself in my story with my characters and forget about what’s happening outside the four walls of my office. That’s when I’ll come out for a meal only when I realize I’m hungry or for coffee when I need a pick-me-up. Or for a trip to the gym for Zumba or a run in my neighborhood to think through a scene, then get back to my laptop so I can start playing with my characters again.
It’s both inspiration and stress-inducing, this need to give my characters my best. And yet, I love it. 🙂
Drawing – Priscilla is generously giving away a book selection from her available backlist titles (generally the ones featured in the post; open to anyone able to receive an e-book.) To enter, leave a comment below. Open until 9/2/19, 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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Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. She and her work have earned praise from the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, amongst others. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the program and teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. While she’s a devotee of the romance genre, Priscilla also considers herself a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock.
Discover all of Priscilla’s books:
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