AUGUST 14TH UPDATE
GIVEAWAY WINNERS: ROSE & GRETCHEN
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO STOPPED BY TO READ THIS POST AND ENTER THE CONTEST! FOR MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO WIN PRIZES, SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER (SEE SIGN-UP TAB IN THE RIGHT-HAND SIDEBAR)
When Bobbi Dumas and Lorelei’s Lit Lair invited me to participate in Read-a-Romance Month as a derivative author via Lorelei’s RARM post, I was honored. When I learned the central theme of the month was “the joys of romance,” I knew this could well be the easiest blog post I might ever be asked to write! The real challenge would be keeping my response short and sweet.
People often ask, “Why do you choose to write romance?”
My answer: I write romance because no mystery, suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, or crime novel contains more thrills, or evokes more emotion, than a journey to love.
And therein lies the joy of romance for me.
I defy any reader to pick up a well-written romance novel and not be whisked away on an emotional roller coaster that will literally awaken her body and rev up her heart while also stirring her soul. Like a good love song, a romance novel will engage its reader by tugging at universal passions that resonate deep in our chest: yearning for, finding, and/or losing love.
Who among us doesn’t enjoy reliving the butterflies of new love, experiencing the lump in the throat caused by a heroic grand gesture, and, let’s be honest, picturing that sexy hero? On that last note, many contemporary covers can also inspire quite of bit of “joy,” right? Yes, joyful would be an apt description of what I might feel if asked to sit in on a cover shoot with the open-shirted cowboy on Laura Moore’s Once Tasted cover…*coughs*
But all joking aside, an authentic, layered love story can provide hope when we need it, or catharsis, or the comforting knowledge that we are not alone in our own relationship ups and downs.
Romance novels connect us through our collective desire to be known, understood, and loved just as we are. In real life, that can be hard to find and too easy to lose. But with a romance novel, we’ll not only experience that connectedness for a few hours, but we’re also assured of a happy ending.
And truly, what greater joy could one take away from any book?
Author Q & A
Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. Aside from the obvious (marriage, birth of my kids, publication of my debut novel), one indelible, joyful moment of my life occurred during a 28-day Outward Bound program (many moons ago), when I found myself dangling from a cliff on my first-ever rock climbing and rappelling experience. The odd combination of terror and mastery, set against a stunning backdrop of the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, provided quite a powerful feeling of success and possibility. To be pushed beyond what I thought I could do also taught me not to let fear dictate my decisions.
Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy. As you might guess from my prior answer, one place that always brings me tremendous joy is traveling to the mountains, particularly the Rockies. The majesty of the peaks—whether sheer rock faces or slopes littered with fir trees—never fails to awe and inspire me. I love to hike or ski them whenever possible!
Tell us about a sound that brings you joy. My daughter’s singing. I’ve spent my life being a music lover, so I absolutely adore hearing her practicing piano and singing. When the house is filled with music, it is a happy place indeed.
What recent book have you read that brought you joy? So this one is a little weird, because sometimes I find joy and beauty in sorrow. I know…like I said, weird. A “relatively” recent book that has affected me this way is JoJo Moynes’s Me Before You. Oh, boy, did I cry. Rivers of tears. That “barely breathing” kind of pain in the throat. But underneath the sorrow, that story exemplified the power and beauty of the kind of love that understands, accepts, and encourages, which is why I think it’s such a best seller. Technically it may not be a “romance,” but for me, it was a wonderful love story.
A joy of choice ~ “pick your Chris” (Hemsworth, Pine, Evans, Pratt, Rock, or Plummer). This is a tough choice, but ultimately I think I need to go with Chris Pine because he’s got beautiful eyes, a very nice set of lips, and has a bit more of a refined look than the others (which I like).
GIVEAWAY! I’m giving away two signed copies of either of my books (reader’s choice) along with some little goodies. To be eligible to win, simply leave a comment to this post telling me why you love romance (the comment link is just beneath the post title). The little contest widget will pick two winners from those who choose to participate. I’ll announce a winner on August 14th (in order to give people time to read and participate).
Recommendations. Where to begin? My favorite romance subgenre to read is historical romance, and my favorite authors in that genre are Lisa Kleypas and Sherry Thomas. I’ve read all of their books and, if forced to pick favorites (an unfair and impossible task), must choose Lisa’s Love in the Afternoon and Sherry’s Ravishing the Heiress.
But recently I’ve also read a few good contemporary romance novels from newer authors: If you enjoy sharp humor and a whimsical story, try Tamra Baumann’s It Had To Be Him. Want heartwarming with a dash of sexy? Sara Richardson‘s No Better Man is for you. Other author’s to try? Gail Chianese, Sugar Jamison, Miranda Liasson, Jeannie Moon, Regina Kyle, and Sheila Athens.
Bio. Jamie Beck is a former attorney with a passion for inventing “realistic and heartwarming” stories about love and redemption, including Amazon Kindle store Top 10 best seller, Worth the Wait. In addition to writing novels, she also enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking, and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.