💜 💜 💜 💜 💜
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.)
💜 💜 💜 💜 💜
Vanessa Kelly – Love, Hope & The Essence of Magic
Life can be magic. Life is magic, in huge, amazing ways—like the birth of a child, or falling in love, or starting over and finding something better. How is that not magic?
Then there’s everyday magic—a baby’s smile, a hug from a loved one, a dog’s wagging tail, a beautiful sunset, or a really good glass of wine. Those moments, as small as they are, give a glimpse of the ineffable something that makes you think, damn, life is good.
Books, including romance novels, catch a slice of these glorious moments. Frozen in time and yet always ready to come alive in our imaginations, books are flashes of magic whenever we want them—or need them.
And sometimes we really need them. And that’s because life can be really, really hard.
I’ve had one of those years where life came at me in many crappy ways: health, family, work issues…just, ugh. We’ve all been there, of course. It’s the human condition. Life is a gift, but bad comes with good. You have to find ways to cope with the big bad, ones that help rather than harm.
Books help. Books help a lot. There have been times when books literally saved me, at least from doing something that would have made my situation markedly worse. In desperation and instead of doing the stupid thing, I would pick up a book. For that small slice of time, I stepped away from my problems and into another space where I could lose myself and, sometimes, find myself, too.
Because books can heal, right? That’s a big part of their magic. If you find the right book—and it’s amazing how often, how magically, that happens—it can speak to that part of your spirit desperate for healing. Books, including romance novels, are a light along the path out of the dark.
The magic of romance never grows old for me, which is why I re-read my favorite romances when most worn down. Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, and Victoria Holt, those early book loves have carried me through some very tricky patches. But whether it’s a treasured re-read or a shiny debut, romance novels are magic because they are always hopeful, even when the characters face epic, heart-breaking, impossible odds.
Love is hopeful, and hope is the essence of magic.
Clan Kendrick, my latest series, features a boisterous family of Highlanders. Logan Kendrick, the hero of THE HIGHLANDER’S CHRISTMAS BRIDE, has certainly had his share of challenges and sorrows. Handsome, brawny, and with a boatload of charm, life always came easily to Logan—until it didn’t. Now a widower with a little boy, he wants nothing more than to be a good father and make his son happy. A challenge he’s never faced on his own, he’s making a bit of a hash of it.
But Christmas is coming and the magic of that lovely season—along with Donella Haddon, a sensible young woman who’s decided she’s been sensible for much too long. Donella wants the magic of love and hope, and she wants it with Logan Kendrick and his adorable little boy.
As a reader, I am so grateful for the wonderful books that have given me the courage to carry on through the difficult times. As a writer, nothing—and I mean nothing—makes me happier than when a reader says: hey, I was having a rough day, and your book made life a little bit better.
That, dear friends, is truly magic.
💜 💜 💜 💜 💜
I love futuristic romance and space operas, and this is one of the best starts to a new series I’ve read in quite some time. Smart and fun.
💜 💜 💜 💜 💜
2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
When I was in graduate school, I spent a summer in England doing research in Oxford—at the Bodleian Library, no less. After spending several hours in a gorgeous building that was once the intellectual home to some of the greatest minds in English literature, I would then pick up lunch at a little stall in the local market. I would head out to one of the college gardens and pick a quiet, shady spot to eat my lunch and think. All around me were the “dreaming spires” of Oxford, a most ancient and beautiful place. I also went tooling around the countryside with my brother, ending up in places like Tintagel and Lyme Regis—following in the mythic, magical footsteps of Merlin and King Arthur, and the real but no less magical footsteps of Jane Austen. It was glorious!
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
I would have to say books rather than book—specifically, The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I am not generally a fan of paranormal books, but A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES blew me away. It’s big, complicated, beautiful, smart, scary, and, of course, intensely romantic. The entire series transports the reader to a world that is magical, both literally and figuratively, but also grounded in science, medicine, and history. It’s world-building on an fantastic scale, with tremendously distinctive characters. I was SO happy to see it made into a mini-series. Harkness deserves every bit of her acclaim, IMHO.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
Donella, the heroine of THE HIGHLANDER’S CHRISTMAS BRIDE, was a secondary character from HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER, a book from an earlier series. At the end of that book, she hiked off to a convent—presumably never to be seen again. When I realized that she would get kicked out of that convent (think Maria, from The Sound of Music) and become the heroine of my latest book, it was a moment of story magic for me. I never thought much about Donella, and then I realized in a flash of inspiration how much she needed her own story. It made it SUCH a fun book to write.
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 find myself going back to themes about family. We start and end with families, in a myriad of versions. It’s a theme that is magically fascinating to me—how we lose families, find them, forgive them, and create new ones that fulfill our need for love and connection.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
To be honest, I don’t feel like I’m a very creative person. I’m more of a worker bee. Doing the job, honouring my commitments, trying to write stories that will make my readers happy (and me!), that’s what keeps me going.
Drawing – Vanessa is generously giving away signed, print copies of Three Weeks With a Princess and The Highlander Who Protected Me to one reader. (Open to international readers). To enter, leave a comment below. Open until August 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.
💜 💜 💜 💜 💜
Vanessa Kelly is USA Today bestselling author, whose Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests. She’s won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages, and she is well known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty storylines that captivate readers.
Discover all of Vanessa’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!