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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 Tara Sheets will also be on the page.)
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Tara Sheets – Voracious for Books & Romance
Books have always been a huge part of my life, but I didn’t really discover the romance of reading until I checked out a romance novel from the library when I was in middle school. My best friend, also an avid reader at the time, pulled me aside and whispered, “Those books over there. That’s what we want.” She pointed nervously to the wire round-about rack of paperback romance novels, and we descended upon those books like raptors, voraciously reading everything we could get our hands on over the next several months.
That was it for me. I was transformed by the magic and became a romance novel junkie, hooked for life with no cure. And why would I want one? All of my fairy tale fantasies came to life inside those pages, from swashbuckling pirates to knights in shining armor to charming outlaws and scandalous dukes. Even now, decades later, my tastes might change and my subgenre preferences may ebb and flow, but romance novels will always be my catnip.
When my daughter was born, I fell in love with books all over again, but for a different reason. Instead of being romanced by the stories, myself, I became entranced watching her grow to love them. I’ll never forget the time she was fussy and teething, and I held her in my lap and opened up Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton. Within the first two pages, my grumpy baby was smiling and laughing, and I thought, “This book is worth its weight in gold.” We called it the magic book. My husband and I ended up memorizing several of her favorite books; we read them so many times. On long car trips we could just recite them, and the stories still worked their magic, even without the pictures.
Now that my daughter’s much older, it’s fun to be able to share book recommendations with each other. She’s an avid reader who has grown to love and understand the magic of reading and the romance of books. In two weeks she’s heading off to summer camp. The camp guidelines said to bring “only the essentials.” Yesterday I walked past her room and noticed several books crammed Tetris-style into her already jam-packed suitcase. I just smiled and thought, “Yup. My work here is done.”
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Her books are charming, sexy, witty—the perfect recipe to warm your heart and put a smile on your face!
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
I’m a native of Guam and most of my extended family now lives in Hawaii, but I haven’t lived on the islands for a long time. Whenever I think about that lifestyle, there’s a magical aspect to it that will never leave me. The rhythmic sound of the ocean waves, the scents of coconut oil and saltwater and plumeria trees in bloom, the easy, laidback culture. I now live in a city that’s several hours from the coast, and it’s been quite an adjustment. Sometimes I miss seeing the ocean. Island life will always be a bit magical to me. It’s one of the reasons I chose a fictional island for the setting in my Holloway Girls series.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
When I was little, my mother bought me a giant book of fairy tales from all over the world. I read that book incessantly, pouring over the illustrations and imagining myself inside each story. When I got old enough, I began to rewrite some of my favorites, or make up stories to go along with the originals. To this day, the book sits in an honored spot on a shelf in my office. It was my first introduction to fantasy and magic, and it’s where my love for this genre began.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
When I was writing Don’t Call Me Cupcake, the first book in my series, I had a character who breezed into the story unexpectedly, which was not part of the plan. Sam, the old man who later acts as a mentor for the main characters, initially had no role in the book. I’d be writing and suddenly he’d show up in a scene, and I’d think, “You again? What are you doing here?” It wasn’t until much later, toward the end of the book, when I realized how important his role was to the overall story. It’s happened to me with other books, too, so I’ve stopped questioning it. I’m learning more and more to trust the process and accept that it’s just the “magic” of writing.
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 am a lover of fairy tales and a staunch believer in Happily Ever After, so mixing magic with romance seems like the perfect recipe to me. I like the whimsy of fantasy elements—the unexpected predicaments that can occur when something magical pops up or goes wrong. To me, it adds a little bit more oomph and fun to the underlying love story.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
Whenever I lose focus or feel like my writing is stalling, I do different things depending on my mood. Sometimes I step away and go outside to people watch and just breathe fresh air. Or I’ll go to the local nursery and add new plants to my home collection, praying that they survive my black thumb. Sometimes I watch fun romantic comedies make me walk away feeling warm and fuzzy and ready to write again. Other times I bake something sweet, usually involving chocolate. I also like to do craft projects like sewing or embellishing costumes. Oh, and baths! I take a lot of “procrastibaths” until I figure out what to write next.
DRAWING – Tara is hosting The Romance of Reading page, and her giveaways will take place there.
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Tara Sheets is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Her debut novel, Don’t Call Me Cupcake, is a winner of the 2016 Golden Heart® award sponsored by Romance Writers of America®. Tara began her career as an author in the Pacific Northwest, inspired by the rain and the misty mountains and the rivers of Starbucks coffee. She now lives in the warm, wonderful South where she can stand outside with no coat on, and she finds that pretty inspiring too. When not writing, Tara enjoys life with her book-loving family and a book-eating dog named Merlin.
Discover all of Tara’s books:
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