As an author, English major, and general nerd, I enjoy looking up words in the dictionary. I like learning the history of words, how the usage has changed and the multiple meanings of a word. When I heard that this year’s Read-A-Romance Month’s theme is Celebrate Romance, I looked up celebrate in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Included in the definition is “to say that (someone or something) is great or important”, and that struck me. Because romance novels are great and important, and they are worth celebrating.
This is supported by another definition of celebrate, “to praise (someone or something)”, because I know that every romance reader has experienced that blissful moment where you loved a book SO MUCH that you couldn’t wait to tell other people about how great it was. How the love story ripped your heart out, and the happily-ever-after left you filled with warm, fuzzy satisfaction. I love that moment. I judge a book’s awesomeness by how eager I am for my best friend to read it too. She knows my catnip, and I know hers. I introduced her to the joy of Nora Roberts. Together we fangirl so hard over Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series that we bought each other T-shirts. I host an Author Thursday feature on my blog, and I love hearing what other authors are reading, and hearing them squee over their favorite books.
Because that enthusiasm is one of the coolest things about romance—our community rocks. Every romance event that I’ve attended has been filled with super supportive people who love this genre and are always excited to talk about it. We want the world to love our genre as much as we do.
But every romance author has a story about interacting with people who ask questions like “When are you going to write a real book?” or “Why do you write those books?” My mom is one of my greatest supporters, but she occasionally drops unsubtle hints about me writing children’s books instead. (That is so never going to happen.)
When faced with someone who gives romance novels the stink eye, I encourage everyone to stand proud and reply, “I read romance. I write romance. Romance novels are made of awesome.” Because love is great. Relationships are important. Praise the things you enjoy.
Celebrate romance novels every day. Now go forth and read. 😉
Robyn’s Reading Recommendations
I could recommend awesome authors all day. For those who want to check out what I’ve been reading lately I’m active on Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Shelfari. For paranormal romance fans I recommend Yolanda Sfetsos, Devin Harnois, Dana Marie Bell, Moira Rogers, Vivian Arend, Keith Melton, and Barbara J. Hancock. For fans of sci-fi romance I recommend Linnea Sinclair, Sheryl Nantus, Cathy Pegau, and Chandra Ryan.
Questions for Robyn
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I lead a quiet life—I’ve never even been out of the country. Daring has never been a word used to describe me, but I’m trying. I struggle with anxiety issues (or as I like to call them, my inner anxiety demons). Every conference and book signing I’ve attended has been terrifying for me, and I consider each one I survive to be a victory over the anxiety demons.
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?)
According to my mother, I wrote my first book when I was 3 years old, so it was a pretty safe bet that I was going to be a writer. I started my first novel in 8th grade—a fantasy romance. I cringe when I think about it now, but finishing it gave me a sense of pride and confidence that encouraged me to take creative writing classes in high school and narrative writing courses in college.
My first published novel, Blood, Smoke and Mirrors, began as my first National Novel Writing Month story in 2006. It was never meant to be published, but as I worked on it I fell in love with the characters. I joined the Romance Writers of America, became a member of my local chapter, took online workshops, attended local conferences and learned everything I could about craft and the industry. In 2009 Blood, Smoke and Mirrors was contracted by Samhain Publishing. It’s been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs since then, but I love being a writer. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts was the book that brought me back to romance. I read romance novels in high school but had a dry spell during college. I was an English major, and as a student I read an enormous amount of literary fiction (and pretty much read nothing for fun). Then a friend recommended Dance Upon the Air to me, and reading it was life changing. The book introduced me to Nora Roberts, who is and always shall be my favorite author, and to the world of paranormal romance. I was hooked. Romance novels reminded me that reading could be fulfilling and stimulating while still being fun and enjoyable.
Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with happily-ever-afters, soul mates, swords, spaceships, vampires, and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her paranormal romance Bad Witch series, historical paranormal romance series Bad Witch: The Emily Chronicles, and spicy space opera romance trilogy Cy’ren Rising are available from Samhain Publishing. Her books have finaled in PRISM Contest for Published Authors, the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. You can find out more about Robyn at her website or on Twitter @RobynBachar.