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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 Tiffany Reisz will also be on the page.)
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Tiffany Reisz – The Magic Of Story & Inspiration
Something magical happens when a writer leaves her desk to go out into the big wide scary world, exposing herself to sunlight (ugh) and people (double ugh).
After the Romance Writers of American conference in Atlanta, Georgia in 2013, my then-boyfriend Andrew and I set out for a quick trip to Savannah.
On a hot rainy afternoon, we hopped into a carriage for a guided tour of the city. We took in all the usual sights—the mansions, the churches, the ghosts—but it was when we trotted past the Port of Savannah that the magic happened.
The tour guide pointed out a statue of a young woman and a dog at her feet. This was Florence Martus, the guide said, the old lighthouse keeper’s sister. The local legend was that Florence fell in love with a sailor and got engaged to him. He shipped out and after he left, Florence began to greet every ship that came into port, waving a white towel at them by day, or a lantern by night, hoping that her fiancé was on board.
He never returned. But Florence never stopped greeting ships, from 1887 to 1931, greeting every ship that came into the Port of Savannah.
Good story. I knew it. So did Andrew. He looked at me. I looked at him. Writers know a good story when they hear it.
I said, “She invented the fiancé so she wouldn’t have to get married for some reason.”
Andrew said, “Write that book.”
That was July 2013. In March 2017, THE NIGHT MARK came out—the story of a heartbroken widow swept back in time to find love again with a lighthouse keeper.
The story of Florence Martus plays a vital role in the plot. THE NIGHT MARK is my most magical book and my most romantic novel as well, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. THE NIGHT MARK was also my third novel to receive a RITA nomination. As for my then-boyfriend Andrew—reader, I married him.
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Elizabeth Knox – elizabethknox.com – @Amazon
Start with The Vintner’s Luck. A French vintner with a broken heart encounters a fallen angel and falls in love with him. Satan allows the match but only if the angel loses his wings.
Easily the most beautifully written love story I’ve ever read. Utterly devastating in all the best ways.
Lucy Maud Montgomery – www.lmmontgomery.ca – @Amazon
Must-Read The Blue Castle – This is the romance novel I most recommend to people. You’ll never love a heroine as much as you’ll love dreamy, downtrodden, courageous Valancy.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
I’ve had a lot of magic moments in my life. I remember when I won my RITA Award for The Saint. One of the main characters in the novel is French and on my way to the ceremony, as I was waiting for the elevator, two beautiful young women were waiting for the elevator speaking to each other in French. It was such a small thing, the tiniest, most meaningless little coincidence, and yet, it felt like a blessing, like the universe laughing with me. I knew when they started naming the nominees, I was going to win. I didn’t feel that way with my other nominated book or before or since. But this time, I knew. And I was right.
Coincidence or magic? Who knows?
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
I ordered a copy of The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery because I was researching what life was like in small towns in the 1920s and the book was written in the 1920s and set in the 1920s. Unlike a lot of little girls, I never did read the Anne of Green Gables books or even watch the TV show. I was into sci-fi and fantasy back then and still am. So I didn’t imagine The Blue Castle would do anything for me except give me some context for The Night Mark. I remember the night I read the book, starting it in bed around 10pm and the next thing I knew, it was 4 in the morning and I had just finished the most incredibly touching, funny, tender novel I’d ever read.
The book is pure magic.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
Recently, my nine-year-old nephew asked me what I’m proudest of in my writing career. I told him “My first novel paid off my massive student loan debt.” It vanished, like magic. All I had to do was work on a novel for six years.
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 a firm believer in novels as pure escapism. I don’t need relationships in books to be realistic. I don’t need novels to double as self-help tomes. I don’t care if the characters in books do things I would never do. I know what I would do so why would I read books that simply mirrored real life?
Fantasy novels embrace, utterly and completely, the idea of books—as Willy Wonka called it—of “pure imagination.” The first magical book I remember falling in love with was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, a sci-fi/fantasy/religious/occult/children’s novel that made no sense to editors (it was rejected by 26 publishers) but made perfect sense to my 10-year-old heart.
In real life, the only people who turn up in my kitchen at midnight is me or my husband. But wouldn’t it be magical to have an alien witch turn up in a storm, sit in my kitchen, and announce that wild nights were her glory?
Wild nights are my glory, too. And wild books by authors with wild imaginations…
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
In her book A Writing Life, Annie Dillard tells this story:
A well-known writer got collared by a university student who asked, “Do you think I could be a writer?”
“Well,’’ the writer said, “I don’t know. . . . Do you like sentences?’’
What inspires me?
I love sentences. I remember getting chills at age 10 when I read “Wild nights are my glory!” from A Wrinkle in Time and “There was once a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it” from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
I’ve been hooked on sentences ever since. It’s the sentences that keep me coming back again and again to my writing desk. If I loved images, I would have been a painter. If I loved chords, I would have been a musician. But I love sentences, so I’m a writer.
DRAWING – Tiffany 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 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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Tiffany Reisz is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Romance Writers of America RITA®-winning Original Sinners series from Harlequin’s Mira Books.
Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, Tiffany graduated from Centre College with a B.A. in English. She began her writing career while a student at Wilmore, Kentucky’s Asbury Theological Seminary. After leaving seminary to focus on her fiction, she wrote The Siren, which has sold more than half a million copies worldwide.
Tiffany also writes mainstream women’s suspense fiction, including The Bourbon Thief (winner of the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence Award) and the RITA®-nominated The Night Mark.
Her erotic fantasy The Red—self-published under the banner 8th Circle Press—was named an NPR Best Book of the Year and a Goodreads Best Romance of the Month. It also received a coveted starred review from Library Journal.
Tiffany lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer, and two cats. The cats are not writers.
Discover all of Tiffany’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!