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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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Andrea Lochen – The Magic of Time Travel
Before my husband and I got married on July 7, 2007, we had to meet with the priest who would perform our wedding ceremony. He was an incredibly sweet man, and he asked us several thoughtful questions about our relationship, including what one gift we would ask God for to help bless and strengthen our marriage. Since my husband-to-be and I were living in two different states at the time (Wisconsin and Michigan for different graduate school educations), I jokingly said I would ask for a “time-space portal” that would allow us to pop in and out of our different states to easily visit each other whenever we wanted to.
When the priest gave his beautiful homily at our wedding, he used this answer of mine to my great horror! He reported my husband’s lovely, insightful answer that he would ask God for “grace and patience,” and then the priest said, with a slightly bemused expression, that “Andrea asked for a time portal.” It was a pretty hilarious, embarrassing moment, and we have it forever recorded on our wedding DVD. I imagine my future grandkids one day, scratching their heads and wondering just what the heck Grandma meant by that. More like a space portal, my husband and I still like to tease each other to this day, twelve years later.
Okay, so apparently, I’m a little obsessed with time portals and space portals. In my first novel, The Repeat Year, the main character, an ICU nurse named Olive Watson, gets the opportunity to relive an entire year of her life to try to fix her many missteps. And in my recently published novel, Versions of Her, two sisters uncover a hidden door that allows them to time travel to their mom’s past. There’s just something very epic and romantic about time-traveling, don’t you think?
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
Every year, Christmas always feels magical to me, but even more so right now in my life, because I have a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. Seeing the holiday through their wide eyes brings back all the magic of my own childhood—driving around to look at Christmas lights with my family, singing “Silent Night” holding our tiny candles at church on Christmas Eve, lying awake wondering if Santa and his reindeer had visited our house yet. I love starting these holiday traditions with my children and teaching them how acts of kindness and charity are what the season are all about.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Honestly, every book is a magical experience for me in its own way. How wild is it that just by reading words on a page, a movie can play in your head, totally immersing you in another world and another person’s experiences? It’s mind-blowing and nothing short of magic! However, one of the most magical books for me as a child was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I loved that a small, vulnerable girl could use her intelligence and her love of reading to become powerful. It’s such a funny, heartwarming book too.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
When my first novel, The Repeat Year, came out in 2013, I was doing a bookstore event in my hometown. I saw a familiar face in the crowd, and it was my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Murphy. She was the first teacher to encourage me to be a writer. In her class, we had done something called “The Writers’ Workshop,” where we wrote stories, bound and illustrated them, and “published” them with contact paper covers to our own special library where classmates could check them out, and I had loved every second of it. Mrs. Murphy gave me a big hug, asked me to autograph The Repeat Year for her, and told me how proud of me she was. It was such a special, full-circle moment for me.
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?
In my novels, magical occurrences are the precipitating events that get the ball rolling. In The Repeat Year, a woman wakes up on New Year’s Day and discovers she’s reliving the previous year. In Imaginary Things, a mom realizes she can see her son’s imaginary friends. In Versions of Her, two sisters find a hidden door that allows them to view their deceased mom’s past. Magic may be the vehicle that grants my characters the opportunity to see their lives in a different way, confront their problems, and hopefully learn and grow from the experience, but the emotional work they put into bettering themselves and their relationships is something that I hope all readers can relate to.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
For some reason, long drives on country roads work wonders for me for brainstorming or problem-solving (when I’m not sure what a character’s motives are or what should happen next). In fact, I came up with the premise for my fourth book while I was driving home one evening, and boy, was I eager to finally pull into my garage and access my laptop to type some notes!
Sometimes, however, there are “fallow seasons” where I’m not writing or even thinking about writing at all, and I try not to beat myself up about it too much. Because if I don’t give myself the down time to do other creative pursuits—like read, sew, bake, and just go out and experience life—I’ll be totally tapped out and won’t have anything to write about in the future.
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 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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Andrea Lochen is the author of three novels. Her first novel, The Repeat Year (Penguin 2013), was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “an engaging, satisfying read that explores friendship, love and who we really are when it truly matters.” A draft of the novel won the 2008 Hopwood Novel Award. The Repeat Year was also produced as an audiobook and translated into German and Hungarian editions. The film option was sold to Ineffable Pictures. Andrea’s second novel, Imaginary Things, was published by Astor + Blue in April 2015 and described as a, “a beautiful book, filled with vivid scenes, unforgettable characters, and oodles of heart. With a page-turning plot and an utterly unique concept, Imaginary Things entertains, inspires, and provokes thought.” Her third novel, Versions of Her, was recently published by Red Adept Publishing in July 2019.
Andrea earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at UW Milwaukee at Waukesha and was awarded the UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Andrea lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two small children, and adorably fluffy dog, Maddy. In her free time, she likes to bake cupcakes and cakes, see musicals and plays, and read as much as humanly possible.
Listen to an interview with Andrea on Milwaukee Public Radio’s “Lake Effect.“
Connect with Andrea:
Discover all of Andrea’s books:
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