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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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Roselle Lim – The Magic of Comfort & Entertainment
My lola (my grandmother) had a small collection of romance novels in her bookshelf. Sometime after I turned thirteen, I took one down. I came face to face with Fabio and his bronze chest. His lady friend, with her generous bosom thrusting out, snuck her hand upwards to fluff the twenty pounds of cascading blonde hair. I was a teen, of course I was enthralled.
I “borrowed” that book and read it in one sitting. After I finished ravaging her stash of four books, I went to the nearby public library to get my fix. (My grade school’s book fair didn’t offer a good selection of romance.)
At the library, I took out ten to fifteen novels at the time. I’d carry my stretched out plastic bag full of books home, hoping it wouldn’t break.
I read by nightlight until the sunrise. These courageous heroines and their bold choices gave me courage as a teen. I gained a bit of self-confidence, and learned of those things my mother would never tell me. These wonderful novels gave me a better glimpse of what happened between the prince and the princess after dark and after ever after.
Romances gave me comfort and entertainment. They fueled the part of me who wanted to write the type of stories I was reading.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
While attending a Chinese dance performance, I heard an erhu live for the first time. I got chills—its sonorous tones reverberated through my body and my mind in a way I had never before experienced. Two strings, separated by a finger’s width, holding every possibility. The soloist tugged the bow as a cascade of notes floated through the silence. In a concert hall holding over a thousand people, all faded away except those notes. I heard nothing else.
This became the seed of this novel. It was a siren call, tugging me to discover. I wondered about the character who played an instrument so evocative, what their backstory was, and how it could shape a story.
Inspiration strikes at the most surprising moment.
A new idea is exhilarating. It’s my favourite part of writing. Potential is at its fullest and anything can happen. Magic meets creativity as worlds are made, characters are brought to life, and, in my case, a menu is prepared for the food in the novel.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate was my introduction to magical realism. I had never before encountered a novel where the ordinary is magical: the weather, the food, emotions. The subtlety was in contrast to the fantasies I was used to reading. It revealed how magic exists in real life. I yearned to see passion turn into fire or tears becoming handfuls of salt.
This book inspired me to take a look at my own culture: its superstitions and unique magic.
Magic doesn’t have to be as grand as flying horses or vengeful dragons. It exists in the butterfly who kisses the bare skin of your arm while taking a walk, in admiring the design of a single snowflake you caught on your fingertip before it melts.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
After sobbing in the theatre when I watched Crazy Rich Asians last summer, I dreamed of having my book adapted to screen. Then in June I received an email from my film agent letting me know John Wells Productions and Warner Brothers had agreed to adapt Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune into a TV show. It’s cliché to say, but it really was a dream come true.
I started thinking about dream casts, about having Asian American writers involved to bring the show to life. My book is about my culture, yet diaspora Asian representation is rare. Now the inspiration boards I had created for my characters, which often featured real-life actors or actresses, would be made real.
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?
From infancy to adulthood, I’ve been fed a steady diet of fantasy. As a young child, my grandmother told me Filipino fairytales. When I got older, I sought fairytales from around the world. Each exposed me to our differences and, more important, our similarities.
Seeking out the extraordinary is a pursuit that makes life more riveting. To me, magic makes a novel more interesting. A regular novel is an ice cream sundae, but a fantasy novel is an ice cream sundae that grants wishes with every spoonful. The added whimsical and otherworldly elements completes the escapism.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
I’m inspired by my fellow women of colour authors. Their strength, their perseverance, their success. I get so much joy seeing their work on bookshelves in libraries and bookstores.
Hearing from readers who loved my book keeps me going. It’s why I write. There are days when I feel like giving up and quitting. Writing is hard, but when a reader reaches out to tell me how much they loved my book and how it reminded them of their family, it cheers me up and helps me push through the darkness I think all writers experience.
And, to be honest, the only thing that helps me focus is my husband threatening to cut off the Internet. Yes, I’m serious and, yes, he’s followed through on the threat more than once.
DRAWING – is hosting The Romance of Reading page, and her giveaways will take place there.
Drawing – Author is generously giving away this thing (open to international, though international winner will receive an ebook.)
To enter, leave a comment below. Open until August , 2019 11:59 PM EST.
However, all 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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Roselle Lim is a Filipino-Chinese writer living on the north shore of Lake Erie.
She loves to write about food and magic. When she isn’t writing, she is sewing, sketching, or pursuing the next craft project.
Discover all of Roselle’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!