Romance Equals Thoughtfulness
I don’t actually celebrate Valentine’s Day. I know, I know—I read and write romance. You’d think I’d be all over the big day dedicated to ‘romance’ and ‘love,’ but no.
Because, to me, celebrating romance isn’t something that you can slot into one day. You can’t get the heart-shaped box of chocolates and the vastly overpriced dozen red roses and call it a year.
That’s not Romance. That’s barely putting in an effort.
I think one of the reasons we read and write romance is because we crave more than a greeting-card holiday. We know, deep down, that real romance isn’t some superficial event that you can pay lip service to.
Romance isn’t flowers or chocolate (not that there’s anything wrong with either, mind you). It’s thoughtfulness.
When I’m reading a romance, I want to know that the hero and heroine are on each other’s minds. They can’t stop thinking about each other and, from that, springs actions. They change course to be together, whether it’s changing plans or rethinking long-held assumptions.
In real life, my husband is being romantic when he makes me dinner and I’m being romantic when I do the laundry. He knows I hate cooking and I know he hates laundry. When he plans a meal and makes it for me, I know he’s thinking of me. I’m on his mind and that (plus food!) is romantic.
I think we’re all like that. Romance doesn’t have to be the grand gestures of quitting your job or moving cross-country to be with the one you love (although those are all good things!) Maybe for you, romance is not watching the latest episode of that show until your spouse gets home. Or it’s when your spouse lets you read the Sunday comics first. Or even when you get up with the kid in the middle of the night because you know they’ve got a big meeting tomorrow.
Romance is how you show you love your partner, the hundreds of small ways you celebrate that love every day. Reading romance reminds us of those small ways we are intimately connected to our lovers, and them to us. Reading a romance is reading about two people learning each other and remembering those little things.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone made me dinner! And I have laundry to fold. Yes indeed, it’s all romance, all the time in here!
Sarah’s Reading Recommendations
Because I write contemporary, I almost always read historicals for pleasure. I just need a break—and it takes me back to my grad school days! So I turn to Jeannie Lin, Courtney Milan and I just tore through Juliana Gray’s entire backlist in one weekend! I’m looking forward to reading Tracey Devlyn next—I like my historicals with a hint of espionage! If I want something short, I’ll read Maisey Yates or Jules Bennett—and try not to be jealous of how they write!
Questions for Shannyn
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I’ve done some pretty adventurous things in my time, like when I was travelling around Italy with my grandmother in the mid 1990s. She was 82 at the time and got tired in Florence, so she decided to rest in a church and read the Reader’s Digest she’d packed for just such an occasion. So I wound up literally running through the greatest art and architectural sites in Florence, trying to see as much as I could in two hours before swinging back to snag my grandmother, who’d struck up a conversation with some nuns, of course. But for sheer insanity, I was visiting the Canyon de Chelly in Chinlee, Arizona and walked right up to the edge. It’s a 700 ft straight drop down to the floor of the canyon and I was standing ON the edge! At the exact moment my mom said “Honey, what are you doing?” a breeze came up behind me and I pretty much thought, “Holy crap, WHAT AM I DOING?” I actually sat down and scooted back on my butt because I was afraid the breeze was going to push me over! It was a great view, though. J
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 when my son started sleeping through the night. Which took two and a half years. We were driving back from a road trip and my grandma (the same one I left in a church in Florence, but she was now 92) and my son both REALLY needed to take a nap, so I didn’t even turn on the radio. To keep myself awake, I thought of a couple—they were arguing in the rain and then he kissed her. This was pretty normal for my wandering imagination—but this scene stayed with me for a week. Who were they? Why were they fighting and then kissing? They wouldn’t leave me alone, these people! So I finally decided to write them down to get them out of my head, and that became my first, really terrible book. It was awful! But I didn’t give up. I kept writing and sold my 9th book (and have published 3 of those first 9 since). Since then, I haven’t stopped!
Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
I read SO much as a child that it’s hard to pinpoint just one book. My third grade teacher read a book out loud to us that captivated me and my poor mother spent months trying to track it down (this was well before Amazon). Island of the Blue Dolphin by Scott O’Dell and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George were some of my early favorites—note the reoccurring theme of young people surviving on their own. But as for a book that changed my life, I was on track to becoming a horse veterinarian when I read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen in high school. That pretty much did it for me. I went on to get my Masters in the Victorian Novel—and said goodbye to animal sciences forever!
Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go. Sarah won the 2012 RT Book Reviewer’s Choice for Desire of the Year for A Man of Privilege.
When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son. You can learn more about Sarah at her website, Facebook and Twitter.