The Joy of Romance
***Contest now closed! Thank you everyone who responded to my essay. The winner chosen by random draw is Diana Michelle Tidlund. I will be announcing this on Facebook as well. ***
I read my first romance novel, Johanna Lindsey’s, Fire In Winter on a bus ride from Fort Pierce, Florida to my home in Haines City when I was thirteen years old. The bus was filled with strangers and I was traveling alone. I put my bag on the seat next to me and opened the book I’d picked up at the flea market that morning and hoped it would keep me entertained for the next 3 hours.
It swept me away. It consumed me and from that moment my affair with romance began. Over the years I’ve read so many stories of couples falling in love and the joy that I have gotten from those hours spent tucked in a corner, nose in a book have been glorious. I can’t imagine my life without romance in it.
I didn’t realize the true power that came from writing romance until I was going through a divorce in 2007. I’d been married for 17 years and to say it was difficult is a bit of an understatement. Writing about happily-ever-after while my real life romance was ending was a struggle, but I found a strength in remembering the core beliefs that I held and one of them is in the power of love. I wrote a book that I really feel captures all the romance and promise that I believe exists in the world. It has a really dark black moment where I poured all of the heartbreak I felt into my heroine and when the hero makes a huge gesture to win her back, I fell for him too. The process of writing that book saved me. The book was The Spanish Aristocrat’s Woman. Here is a link to it.
Then when the book was released the following year, I started to get reader mail and I was surprised by some of the letters. They were from women who were going through divorces like me, struggling to remember that romance and love didn’t always end badly and my book helped them. I hadn’t talked about my divorce publicly so there was no way these women would have known that I had been in that situation while writing but the story. It reaffirmed a few things for me. The first was that the joy I get from writing books is transferred via my books to readers. The second is that I am doing what I’m meant to do.
I’m so thrilled to be part of Read a Romance Month with http://www.readaromancemonth.com/2015/08/loreleis-lit-lair-a-joyous-journey-to-romance/.
Here are the books that give me joy when I read them.
Johanna Lindsey’s Fire In Winter. How could I not chose the book that set me on this path!
Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I laugh so much that I cry every time I read the opening of this book and then I cry when Bobby Tom realizes that he loves Gracie and she has already stopped loving him. This book is simply the best.
1 – Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.
One time I jumped off a cliff at Rainbow Pools in Yosemite. It’s a really high cliff and I was terrified but as I stepped off the ledge and plummeted into the pool I felt intense joy and laughed as I was falling. I felt powerful and alive. J
2 – Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.
Being at the beach with my family. We spend more time in the water than on the sand. I love body surfing with my hubby and kids, bobbing in the waves with my parents and talking about life and nothing important.
3 – Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.
This is going to sound silly, but for me it’s the sound of my mom in the kitchen making breakfast on Sunday. I hear the pans first and then my dad’s quiet rumble as he asks her what he can do to help. Shortly after that I hear my kids getting up early to sit at the counter and talk to their grandparents while bacon sizzles and hash browns fry. When my husband and I get into the kitchen it makes me feel so happy to see them all sitting their talking and laughing.
4 – What recent book have you read that brought you joy. Why?
The last book I read that really made me happy was re-reading JR Ward’s Lover Awakened. Zsadist and Bella are my favorites in the series and there is something so powerful about watching the transformative power of love.
5 – And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~
Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)
Okay, this is a toughy. I like all the Chris’ but I’m going to have to go for Chris Pratt. He’s funny, sexy and a great family guy!
I’m giving away a prize that includes my latest release from Harlequin Desire, Carrying A King’s Child, some British goodies (tea mostly) and SWAG. The drawing is open to everyone and a winner will be chosen on September 1, 2015. Just leave a comment on this blog to be entered to win.
USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 60 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund. Visit her on the web at http://www.katherinegarbera.com, connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @katheringarbera.