It’s Read-A-Romance Month throughout August and Blythe is a recommended read! Visit the Celebrate Romance page to join the celebration.  Posts, giveaways, more!

Romance can take us anywhere

August is Read-A-Romance Month and I’m joining the celebration!  Madeline Hunter, one of my favorite authors, was kind enough to recommend me on her post (see here) so I’m spreading the joy around.

This year, the theme is Celebrate Romance! And one reason I do is that romance can take us…anywhere!

It’s a truth I try to tap in my books, and one I think we recognize in all romance. Whether we read about the medieval past or a dystopian future, about dukes or space cowboys, or about lovers in our own country or a foreign one, the feelings are universal, and ones we recognize.

As a result, we can relax into the story and travel to times and places we will never see, even some that may not exist. When the story is over, we may be changed, if just a bit, by the experience. And we may learn a few new things we would never have bothered to study, because they were important to the hero or heroine and because the hero and heroine were, for those hours, important to us.

Of course, I tackle this most directly in an historical context, but the same holds true across many types of romance – paranormal, dystopian, suspense. Even contemporary romance can take us to a city we’ve never seen, or introduce us to a profession we know nothing about. Every book adds to our experience, and romance, I think, gives us permission to live in times, places, and situations we might otherwise have missed.

As a result, I find romance one of the most flexible genres. Who does not, ultimately, want to be loved? And which one of us does not want to be reminded that love can, indeed, conquer all?

Recommendations: As part of the celebration of romance, try reading in a corner of the genre you haven’t explored before. You may find you feel right at home!

Like so many in the United States, I’m very vague on Chinese history, but when Jeanne Lin puts me in the midst of a Tang Dynasty love story such as THE LOTUS PALACE, I can experience that world directly and emotionally, even if I knew nothing about it before page one.

Never read paranormal? Hanna Martine’s Elementals Series, which begins with LIQUID LIES, is a good example of this, as the main characters of each book are part of an “elementals” group, water, air, earth, or fire.

Haven’t read many contemporaries? Try Kate Meader for fun, sexy (hot!) contemporaries and Molly O’Keefe, who just won a RITA for her contemporary romance.

And if your tastes run to the inspirational side, try Hope White’s romantic suspense.

1 - Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I quit my job and moved across country without a new job lined up and knowing only one person. (And yes, there was a man involved.) But I learned many valuable lessons from that experience I would never have gained otherwise.

2 - Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
I started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, my first book was published, THE KNAVE AND THE MAIDEN, from Harlequin Historical. The book was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest, which opened several editors' doors.

But the complete story is that I started writing my first historical novel at age ten. In pencil.

3 - Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

Long ago, I read KATHERINE by Anya Seton. It is the fictionalized version of a true story of the lifelong love affair between a king’s son and his mistress, who became this third (and last) wife. The descendants of their “royal bastards” sat on the throne of England. I became obsessed with the English royal family and the 14th century, particularly royal bastards. I went on to work out a detailed English royal family tree, attempting to include even those born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. (This was way before the internet made such things available at the tip of a Google search.)

As a result, when I did start writing seriously, I started in that time period I loved so much, and four of my first five books featured royal bastards, real or imagined, as either the hero or the heroine.

Keep celebrating! Visit www.readaromancemonth.com for a month of essays and giveaways.