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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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Amanda Bouchet – The Magic of Books and Book People
I’m thrilled to be sharing about the magic of books today! I write fantasy romance and futuristic fantasy. My debut series, The Kingmaker Chronicles, is set in a world based on ancient Greek mythology, while my current series, Nightchaser, is a Robin Hood meets Star Wars mash up that takes place in a far distant future. Both trilogies are quest-based adventures filled with strong friendships, found family, team efforts, danger, triumph, and steamy romance. I love writing on an epic scale: big books, big exploits, big emotion. Writing fantasy means building a unique world from the ground up and sticking to the rules I’ve established for it, which can be complex and difficult. Luckily, using my imagination and living in my own head are like breathing for me—totally necessary. That said, I’m not an introvert like many authors. I love being with people, especially bookish people.
Like anyone, I can be shy and awkward in a room full of people I don’t know or where our common ground isn’t particularly obvious. Part of the magic of books for me is community. I’ll never forget going to my first Romance Writers of America conference and understanding something fundamental: I’d just found my people. When I’m at writing conferences or book cons or signings, I’m happy in a way that transforms me into someone who doesn’t even think about being nervous. I can chat and make instant connections because I will always have something in common with the other people there: books and reading.
These magical connections don’t need to be in person, either. I love spending time with my Facebook and Instagram communities for the very same reason: books bring us together in something to celebrate and enjoy, and sometimes even to obsess over. We can leave our troubles behind and gush about new couples we love, stories that inspire us, and words that somehow come together on the page in a perfect storm that leaves us breathless, moved to laughter, tears, and everything in between. Part of the magic of books is falling so deep into a story that the rest of the world fades away, being bereft when it’s over, and then sharing the excitement with friends and other people who have already read or who might enjoy reading the book as much as you did. While reading may be a solitary experience, books bind people together.
I didn’t realize this until about seven years ago. No one in my family or circle of friends loved the same books I did, mainly romance for me, and so I read them, enjoyed them, and didn’t talk about them with anyone. I didn’t hide my love of romance novels, but I had no one to share it with, either. I’m fully aware now of a clear demarcation in my life—a before and after. I was always a reader, but it was writing with the aim of publication and building a career as a romance novelist that brought me into a community of readers and writers that already flourished on social media and at book and author events that I didn’t even know about. It was a case of my just going along, being fine, and not really understanding that an entire part of me was empty and waiting. I didn’t truly know what was missing until it had already filled me up and transformed me. For me, that’s the magic of books. Through them, I found my place, and I found my people.
What kind of magic has reading brought to your life? Have you ever been to a book event and felt the same wonder and sense of belonging as I have? If you enjoy books with magic, adventure, and kissing, I hope you’ll check out The Kingmaker Chronicles and Nightchaser. Thank you for reading!
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Maria Vale – www.mariavale.com – @Amazon
I haven’t stopped talking about Maria’s Legend of All Wolves series for nearly two years because it’s simply the most unique and fascinating paranormal romance I’ve ever read. Do yourself a favor and try it!
Adriana Anders – www.adrianaanders.com – @Amazon
If you want sexy and emotional, try Adriana’s books. Her upcoming Whiteout (out January 2020) is one of the most exciting adventure romances I’ve ever read. She creates characters that are so real you can see yourself in them, gives you heroines to root for, and writes heroes you’ll definitely want to keep for yourself.
Chelsea Mueller – chelseamueller.net – @Amazon
Chelsea’s Soul Charmer series is urban fantasy with a strong element of romance. There’s a gritty heroine who comes into her own, an ambiguous hero who’ll break noses (and maybe do worse) for her, and a shady boss they both need to get out from under before they reach the point of no return. Three books in the series are already out and ready for you to dive into.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
As a mother, there are small moments every single day that feel magical to me. My two children, ages six and eleven, bring me so much joy. I’m constantly proud of them and marveling at their achievements. What’s really magical, though, is when they look at me feeling proud of themselves for something they’ve accomplished. That Look at this, Mommy! smile on their faces is the best magic of all.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
I rarely reread books but one I will always be happy to pick up again and again is Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas. Those characters just burrow under my skin and I love them, feel for them, worry for them, and can’t get enough of them. My heart pounds. My chest clenches. I can’t put it down. I read a lot of romance when I was in high school and then less for a while. Sometime after college, I picked up this book, and that was it for me. It made me remember how much I adored romance novels and I’ve never looked back. Reading romance is what made me a romance author, so I suppose finding this book at the right time was life-altering, although it took me several more years to figure that out.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
Even though I’m fairly new to this, there have been several wonderful moments in my writing career. Two times on the USA Today bestseller list, lovely starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, fans simply saying they love my books, and people telling me that my stories broke their reading dry spells and made them want to devour novels again. One of the most magical moments, though, was a letter from a woman who’d just gone through a terrible break-up and was despondent and feeling so bleak and hopeless about life and herself. She wrote to tell me that Cat and Griffin and their story in The Kingmaker Chronicles gave her hope again—hope for feeling better one day and for finding someone who loved her for all the parts of her, the good and the bad. No one is perfect, and watching imperfect characters find their happy ending and love each other no matter what gave her the spark of hope she needed right then. Her letter brought tears to my eyes. It’s something I’ll never forget and will always be grateful for.
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?
Magical aspects in books allow us to stretch our imaginations, create from nothing, and build a world of our own choosing. We can pull from established lore (I loved weaving Greek mythology into The Kingmaker Chronicles), and we can invent whole new magic systems. I tend to do a combination of the two, leaving readers grounded in something they’re familiar with while bending and shaping those familiar things to fit the story I want to tell. For me, the most exciting thing about writing books with magical elements in them are the infinite possibilities. If I can conceive of it, I can put it on the page.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
My author friends are the pure magic here. Hands down, they’re what keep me going when I get stuck or feel unsure or upset about something. No matter what we write, we all end up experiencing the same highs and lows in this business. I couldn’t get by without them.
DRAWING – 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 4 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 9/05/19 11:59pm Eastern to enter.
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Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.
Amanda is a USA Today bestselling author of Fantasy Romance and Sci-fi Romance. She was a Goodreads Choice Awards top 10 finalist for Best Debut in 2016.
Discover all of Amanda’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!