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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 L. Penelope will be on the page.)
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Anna Campbell – The Magic Carpet of Reading
I’ve been mad about historical romance since I read my first fairy tale. Girls in long dresses? Guys doing dashing things like climbing towers and fighting giants for the love of a lady? The promise of a happy ever after? What’s not to like? There’s something magical about taking a 21st century technology like a Kindle reader and using it as a magic carpet back to ages past, with all that larger-than-life adventure and passion and drama that makes historical romance such a great genre to read and write.
As a kid, I devoured Georgette Heyer (and I’ve continued to read her – I love how every time I read her work, I come up with a different favorite book. Right now it would be a choice between Faro’s Daughter and Black Sheep, whereas last time, it was Venetia). Then as a teenager, I discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss and woke up to the possibility of lots of steam along with all that history. Bliss! I think it was inevitable that I grew up to write historical romance for a living.
I’m currently working on a series called the Lairds Most Likely, a mash-up of Regency and Highlander genres (although the next book, The Highlander’s Defiant Captive out in September, goes back to the late 17th century just to mix things up a little). The series started with The Laird’s Willful Lass last year, and the most recent book is The Highlander’s Lost Lady which came out in April.
So here I am in Australia, conjuring up the magic of the Scotland for a worldwide audience, most of whom have never set foot in the breathtakingly beautiful Highlands and all capable of dreaming of a gallant, stalwart hero who might be a little too stubborn for his own good, but who will go to any lengths to win the lassie he loves. Sigh!
When I originally started this series, the idea was three books, but there must have been something mysterious at work. That plan soon changed to four books because I decided to throw in a Holiday story at the end of last year, The Laird’s Christmas Kiss. Then earlier this year, I visited Canna (see Bobbi’s wonderful questions below for more about that) and came up with an idea for two more stories. And in between, I thought why not squeeze in another Christmas story and a really old-school Highlander tale of derring-do (Defiant Captive).
It looks like the magic of the Highlands will hold me captive for a long time to come! I hope you’ll come on the journey with me!
So are you a fan of Highlander romance? Why do you think this genre has such a worldwide appeal? I recently did author appearances in both France and Slovenia, and romance readers in both places are completely in love with Scottish stories!
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Emily Larkin – www.emilylarkin.com – @Amazon
I’ve been devouring Emily’s Baleful Godmother series like chocolate over the last little while. The books are unusual, with just a hint of woo-woo, the characters are memorable and, wow, can she write a love scene!
Evie Dunmore – eviedunmore.com – @Amazon
Evie is a new author, and I was lucky enough to read her debut book Bringing Down the Duke for a quote. It’s out 3rd September and don’t miss it. In the fight for women’s suffrage in 19th century Britain, a smart vicar’s daughter takes on a straitlaced duke with hidden depths. It’s funny and emotional and really sexy. Can’t wait to see what comes next.
Spinning Silver was the best book I read last year and I’ve since read more of Naomi’s brilliant fantasy stories. If you like a dollop of dark fairytale and fantasy with your romance, these books are for you. Beautifully written stories with a powerful emotional core, these are books you won’t forget in a hurry.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
I’ve been really lucky to have had so many magical moments in my life, often connected with travel. I’ll pick something from my most recent visit to Scotland. As those of you who follow me on social media know, I’ve recently made annual trips (pilgrimages?) to Scotland and each time I’ve done a writing retreat at an obscure little island called Eigg (pronounced “egg”).
Eigg is part of a group of four islands called the Small Isles. They’re just south of the Isle of Skye and they have to be among the most beautiful places in the world. I’ve done day trips to Muck and Rum, two of the other Small Isles, but I hadn’t been to the most westerly island, Canna. Last year I stayed for a couple of days, mainly to complete the set. What can I say? I’m a Virgo!
Well, Canna ended up being the best of the lot. I arrived with no particular expectations and found myself completely enchanted. It felt like fairyland. Compact and green and covered with bluebells, so everywhere you looked there was a haze of electric blue. Not only bluebells but wild garlic and blossom trees and baby lambs leaping over the pasture in ecstasy about being alive in spring. I was lucky enough to have wonderful weather too, which always helps. Every moment on Canna felt like a gift and I can’t wait to go back for three weeks next year to do some writing
If you’d like to see some photos of this bluebell paradise in the Hebrides, check out my website here.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
My go-to comfort read is a book called A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. I picked it up from the local library and found myself completely enchanted from page 1. It’s about a countess who finds a job as a housemaid in a stately home after the Russian Revolution and who faces all the challenges of her new life with a generous heart and enormous courage. It’s a romance (of course!) and the relationship between Anna (great name!) and Rupert, the earl who owns the house, will melt your heart. I can’t say how many times I’ve read this and I’ve been spellbound every time. Magic!
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
I’ve had lots of magical moments in my career (getting published felt pretty darn magical after all those years of thinking it would never happen!). But I’ll choose a moment from back in 2008 when I found that both of my first two books, Claiming the Courtesan and Untouched, had been nominated for Rita Awards. For a girl who never thought she’d see her name in print, finaling in the romance ‘Oscar’ was really magical.
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 think like a lot of romance readers, there are themes that I love and that reappear over and over in my work. A couple of favorites (and I know they’re also reader favorites!) are marriage of convenience, enemies to lovers, and fairytale tropes like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and the Sleeping Beauty
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
I could be slightly cynical and say the arrival of a new phone bill! But seriously, so many things inspire me. A great book I’ve read always reminds me of how magical it is to be able to tell stories and share them with people all over the world. My readers inspire me – one of the lovely things about social media is that I can talk to readers every day and that friendship and support always give me a kick along when I’m running out of puff. I also find inspiration in my travels. Over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Europe, especially Scotland and England, and I never fail to come up with new story ideas when I’m wandering through those gorgeous settings with so much exciting history.
DRAWING – Anna is generously giving away two downloads of The Highlander’s Lost Lady, one for a U.S. winner and one for an international reader.
To enter, respond to Anna’s question at the end of her essay in a comment.
Giveaway ends 8/12/19 at 11:59pm Eastern
All commenters will also be entered to win a bundle of books from the Week 1 participating authors. Must comment by 8/14/19 11:59pm Eastern.
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I’m an Australian historical romance writer. So far I’ve published 10 award-winning novels for Avon and Grand Central, and 22 books as an independent author. My books have been translated into 21 languages. I’m currently working on a series featuring roguish Highland heroes, called the Lairds Most Likely. The Laird’s Willful Lass,The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, and The Highlander’s Lost Lady are now out. Look out for The Highlander’s Defiant Captive and The Highlander’s Christmas Quest later in 2019!
I love to hear from readers.
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