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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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Ruby Lang – The Power of Romance at Our Fingertips
I didn’t know I had powers until I lost them.
When I was younger, I’d study my fingertips, hoping that a spark or flame would shoot out of them. I’d curl my hand and concentrate, trying to form a ball of fire that I could hurl at my enemies. But throughout my life, my digits have remained disappointingly lacking in pyrotechnics.
But at least I had books in which I could read about women with swords and magic, or watch women slice men open with a single word. All my life, I read for powerful heroines.
Until I stopped reading.
I didn’t do it on purpose. But sometime around the end of 2011, I looked up and realized I hadn’t gotten to The End in a single novel all year, hadn’t even managed to slog my way through a short story. I mean, I did read. I looked up the nutrition information on the packets of baby food I was feeding my young daughter, and scanned anxiously milestone charts and parenting sites. I went through piles and piles of board books.
But somewhere in between not sleeping, and ignoring the hormones stewing in my veins, I stopped reading the stories that sustained me. I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t coping.
I did get help from my husband, from doctors; I am not trying to downplay the vital role they played in my recovery. They brought me from the brink. But after they shepherded me through the worst of my postpartum symptoms, I needed to do something for myself, and part of feeling that I could also do it was teaching myself to enjoy fiction again.
I started many books. Most didn’t hold my scattered attention, and that scared me. Those that did, I pored over and over again, like an apprentice memorizing an incantation. I read Jennifer Crusie’s The Cinderella Deal maybe forty times in one month. And gradually, after I read many more books many times, I started to feel like myself again. I got my powers back.
The ability to slay many of my own demons had been in my fingertips, growing with every page I turned.
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Therese Beharrie – theresebeharrie.com – @Amazon
Therese writes smart, emotional contemporary romance, and I especially adore her “One Day to Forever” series in which all the stories take place over a magical 24 hours.
Austin Chant – author site.com – @Amazon
Austin writes remarkable, original fantasy romance. I especially loved Peter Darling, a breathtaking m/m trans reworking of Peter Pan.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
I met my now-husband for the first time in real life at a restaurant in the East Village in New York. We’d been writing back and forth online for a month about old movies, Cole Porter, and books. It was October and it had been raining all week, so he told me I’d know him because he was carrying a green umbrella.
I arrived anxious and early—too early. I thought, for him to have arrived. When I peered inside the restaurant window, I saw a young, intelligent-looking man looking back at me, and thought, I wish I could meet someone like that.
Well, it turned out that man was carrying a green umbrella. My wish came true.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Sherry Thomas’s Victorian romance, His at Night, was a revelation to me. The story is about a secret agent, Lord Vere, whose cover is that he’s a blithering idiot. He finds himself trapped in marriage to Elisande Edgerton, a woman who is trying to escape her abusive uncle and save her aunt… also by pretending to be a blithering idiot. The plot is, well, bananas. But the book is beautiful and hilarious and terrifying and moving. I read it in one swoop a couple of years ago and still think about it often. The skill Thomas uses to put all these elements together and come up with gold is definitely some kind of alchemy.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
My local branch of the New York Public Library turned out to be a perfect place to write.
I was there to escape the workmen who were repairing the ceiling of the bathroom in my apartment, but I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get any writing done in a public space. It turned out to be just what I needed in order to finish my book, Open House (out 11/11/2019) about a real estate associate, Magda, trying to sell a lot on which the locals, including the hero, Ty, have built an urban garden.
I was writing about one quirky community space—the garden—in another quirky community space, the library. During my time there, I saw seniors come in to read newspapers, toddlers singing during story time. One day, a man in a full Santa suit sat down at one of the computer terminals to look at Facebook. Another day, I listened to a woman delivering a full lecture on the state of public parks to a librarian.
Maybe being surrounded by books inspired me. Maybe it was new surroundings. Maybe—no, definitely—it was the people. In the end, I wrote more fluidly and with stronger purpose than I had in a long time.
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 write often about people who think they want one thing, but end up discovering that what will make them happy is something else entirely.
I’m drawn to this theme because I, too, have switched careers, changed genres, picked up and moved more than once. The first couple of times I told myself I’d found what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. And even with clear evidence that it wasn’t always working, I sometimes tried to stick it out. So, I am attracted to stories about people trying to deal with transition and transformation. We aren’t always graceful or willing, but we are always changing.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
Eavesdropping, a filthy habit, is one of my best sources of inspiration. I watch people all the time and I love listening to the ways we talk to each other.
Long walks, and running (when my old knees aren’t bothering me), are also my favorite ways of working out thorny problems.
DRAWING – Ruby is hosting The Romance of Reading page, and her giveaways will take place there.
However, all comments will also be entered to win a bundle of books from the Week 2 participating authors. You may enter by commenting on this original blog post or on the Read-A-Romance Month Facebook page post, here.
The first unique comment in each space by an individual offers an extra chance to win. Must comment by 8/21/19 11:59pm Eastern to enter.
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Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.
Connect with Ruby:
www.rubylangwrites.com | Facebook | Twitter@RubeLang
Discover all of Ruby’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!