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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.)
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Shana Galen – The Magical Friendship of Books
When I was young, my family moved a lot. This was in the late seventies and early eighties when the economy was shaky, and my dad, being a banker in Michigan, found himself out of a job several times when the auto industry faltered. So I began Kindergarten at one school and finished at another. I began first grade at one school and finished at another. I began—well, you get the picture.
One of my earliest memories is walking home from first grade and not being able to find my house. This was in the days when parents let kids walk alone, and my school was just a few blocks away. On that day it had snowed while we were in class, and I hadn’t lived in my new house long enough to recognize it if the area surrounding it changed. I couldn’t recognize the house with snow on the lawn.
While that was a particularly traumatic experience, probably the most challenging aspect of all those moves was the difficulty of making and keeping friends. Just when I’d make a friend, I’d move to a new city and have to start all over again. I am not particularly outgoing or social, and it wasn’t easy for me to make new friends.
And that’s where books came in. I did not have many friends as a young kid. I also don’t remember being a lonely child. I always had my books to keep me company, and the characters in those books were my friends. Is it weird if I admit I would talk to them in my head? I’d have conversations with Trixie Belden and Lucy Pevensie. Through the magic of books, I’d have a fictional friend to walk to school with or play on the swings with at recess. Laura Ingalls and I could play hopscotch. Nancy Drew and I would eat lunch together.
Of course, eventually I would make a friend to play with at school, but the nice thing about my book friends was that even when my new friend was absent or ignoring me for the day, I still had my fictional friends. And when I moved, they always came with me.
When I got to be a bit older, my family finally settled in one place and I was able to make more lasting friendships, but I never lost my love of reading or my penchant for making fictional friends. I might swap out Laura Ingalls for Lestat or Nancy Drew for Elizabeth Bennett, but I always had a companion between the pages of a book.
And now that I’m a writer, I can create my own companions, and I’ll admit to talking to them once in a while too. To me the real magic of books is that they can be the friend to a lonely first-grader, an escape for a tired mom at the end of a day, or a comforting companion to a daughter hoping for good news in the hospital waiting room. There’s a book and a story and a character for everyone, and I hope this year all of you find new fictional friends and cherish the old.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
Mornings are magical for me. I know many of you will not agree! But there’s something about the sunrise and the quiet and stillness that inspire me. Anything seems possible. Everything seems possible. Who knows what a new day will bring?
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Star Wars was magical for me. I know it was a movie, and I saw the move then read the book(s), and I read that book and the others in the series (move adaptations, I suppose) over and over again. I wanted to know everything about that world. I wanted to know all the space jargon and technical terms and futuristic inventions. I was obsessed ,and when I read those books or watched the movies, I entered a magical place.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
There have been many magical moments in my career, but the one I remember the best was when I found out The Making of a Gentleman won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Hero. My daughter was eighteen months old, still not sleeping through the night, we’d just moved to a new house, and my publisher was doing some “rebranding” that was throwing off my entire career. I was honestly thinking about quitting writing because it was a daily struggle to find any time for it. And then I got that call, and it was like the universe telling me to hang in there. To give it one more chance. I’m glad I listened!
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 don’t have magic in my books, unless you consider falling in love magical, and I do. But I do have elements I come back to over and over. One of those elements is characters who don’t fit in. Characters who feel like they don’t belong. I felt that way a lot as a child, and I still feel that way often as an adult. It’s something I like to explore because not only can I relate to it, I feel like a lot of my readers can too.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
I think most writing is not done under any sort of inspiration or creative whirlwind. It’s hard work and dedication and the discipline of sitting down every day and doing the work. But I do find pockets of magic in the process. Sometimes after I’ve written 500 or 1000 words, something clicks. My hesitant tapping on the keyboard becomes confident and quick. The words and ideas flow. I no longer need to think about every single word. I just know the words. I know the next sentence. I know the next scene. In moments like that, I just want to keep writing, keep going. I always wish those would last longer. I always wish those would come at the start of a day of work, but they inevitably come once I’ve struggled and persevered past those first few pages.
Drawing – Shana is giving away copies of the first three books in her Survivors series (Third Son’s a Charm, No Earls Allowed, and An Affair with a Spare) in print or digital (winner’s choice) to one lucky reader. Open internationally. To enter, leave a comment below.
Open until Sept 5, 2019 11:59 PM EST.
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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Shana Galen is a three-time Rita award nominee and the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, “The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun,” and RT Bookreviews calls her books “lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.
Discover all of Shana’s books:
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