Monday, February 17, 2014

Get Lost in a Classic Romance

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Sunflower
by Jill Marie Landis

Analisa, a strong, independent immigrant from Holland, is a woman with a tragic background who stumbles upon a half-dead stranger on the doorstep of her sod house on the Iowa prairie. 

Caleb Storm is a man whose mixed heritage challenges every feeling in her battered heart. And yet, their love is as inevitable as the sunrise—as powerful as the prairie winds.

EXCERPT
It was gentle that first kiss, as gentle as water in the creek sliding over smooth stones. Caleb’s lips touched Analisa’s for a moment and then drew away, only to return a heartbeat later and linger this time. She let his lips capture hers without returning the kiss as yet, merely savoring the close contact. As this sweet kiss ended, he wrapped his arms around her, pressing his palms into her shoulder blades, enfolding her against the hard wall of his chest.

“I want you, Analisa,” he whispered.

And suddenly she knew it was not a dream. . .

Get Lost in a romance from Jill Marie Landis

With her first novel, SUNFLOWER, Jill Marie Landis won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart and the Golden Medallion Award for Best Historical Romance, RWA’s precursor to the RITA. Her novels WILDFLOWER, ROSE and JADE, confirmed the promise of her unique talent for rich detail and characterization. COME SPRING, winner of the "Best Romance Novel of the Year" RITA award, was hailed by such celebrated authors as Julie Garwood and Linda Lael Miller, while PAST PROMISES earned the praises of Amanda Quick. UNTIL TOMORROW, AFTER ALL, LAST CHANCE, DAY DREAMER, JUST ONCE, BLUE MOON, GLASS BEACH and THE ORCHID HUNTER. Many of these titles are already available in eBook format and the rest will soon be re-published for a whole new generation of readers to enjoy.

JILL MARIE LANDIS writes novels that earn distinguished awards and slots on such national bestseller lists as the USA TODAY Top 50 and the New York Times Best Sellers Plus. She is a seven-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award in Single Title Historical and Contemporary Romance as well as a Golden Heart and RITA Award winner.

She resides in Hawaii with her husband. When she's not writing or sitting on the beach reading, she enjoys visiting with family and friends, raising orchids, working in her garden, occasionally quilting, but most of all dancing the hula.

Some of her recent releases include two new historical romance novellas included in BE MY VALENTINE, the Irish Angels Series, inspirational historical romance from Zondervan, and MAI TAI ONE ON, TWO TO MANGO, and THREE TO GET LEI’D, the first three titles in her hilarious “Tiki Goddess Mysteries” set in Hawaii from Belle Books. 

Q&A

E.E. Did you get lost in the writing of your first published novel?

JILL: I definitely got lost writing SUNFLOWER. I had finished an entire novel that received a lot of good rejections (yes, there are such things) and so I started SUNFLOWER, my second novel project. I started writing it in a fiction writers’ workshop held evenings at a local community college, before I’d ever heard of RWA. I had just quit teaching kindergarten full time and decided to pursue my dream of writing and selling a novel. I hadn’t thought past writing one book and certainly never planned on having such a wonderful career as a working writer.

To all those who aspire to write, here’s my advice: get to the end of your first book no matter what. I learned so much writing that first novel, even though it never saw the light of day. Back when I started, self-publishing was not what it has become today. Rejection was something we all came to know well and survived.

E.E. What led you to choose the historical romance genre?

JILL: Quite a few things started me on the path to writing historical romance. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in History and I love history and can get lost in research books. When I was teaching full time I started reading bags of paperback historicals. Talk about getting lost! Devouring the old “bodice rippers” (I know I’ll hear about that from somebody) is how I spent every minute of my spare time. The “greats” started writing back then. Some of my favorites were Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jude Deveraux, and Laurie McBain. If you haven’t read these authors or heard of their books you are really missing something. Run, do not walk, to look them up.

E.E. Have historical romances changed much since those classics were written?

JILL: Historical romances have evolved in many ways over the years but of course the books of today (forty years later in some cases) have the same elements. The classic romances are longer than today’s novels. The required word count had to be 150,000 instead of 100,000 or less, so the writing was denser and more textured. The heroes were definitely “Alpha” males and not a bit politically correct. They were mostly dark and tortured and brooding, and yet they were all eventually tamed by the heroines. Eventually.


GOTTA ASK: So which of these classic “old school” historicals were your very favorites and which would you recommend to readers who have never read them?

GOTTA ANSWER: Before I answer let me just say again, these books are not watered down or politically correct. They are raw and gritty and yet they aren’t what are considered erotica, either. My three favorites (though it’s hard to narrow them down) are “The Wolf and the Dove,” a medieval by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I’ve read that title over and over for years. I also re-read Woodiwiss’ “The Flame and the Flower” and “Shauna.” Jude Deveraux’s “The Black Lyon” is one I remember as a page-turner. Also Laurie McBain’s “Moonstruck Madness” and “Devil’s Desire.” If you love to get lost in a book, I’d definitely give these titles a try.

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Get Lost (again) with your favorite historical romance

How old were you (or what year was it) that you read your first romance? What was the title? Have you ever re-read it? Do you still own a copy?         

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17 comments:

  1. Love the storyline for SUNFLOWER.

    It's been too long since I read my first & I'm sure there have been thousands since. I would have been in my late teens Pretty sure it would have been a medical romance - my older sister was really into them.

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    1. I have a lot of friends who loved the medical romances, too, Mary. Somehow I never got into them. I guess they'd be historical now.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Jill

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  2. I was in my early teens. It was Anne of Green Gables... I still have a copy!

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    1. Glad you hear you still treasure the book. Thanks for the comment. Jill

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  3. My grandmother and aunts would write: "OK for Angi" inside the front cover...telling me it was okay for me to take the books home. It was way back when I was in 6th grade (won't tell what year that was! LOL). I grew up wanting to write. ~Angi

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  4. Don't remember; probably don't have it

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  5. The first romance books I read were definitely medical romance books that I found in used-book stores when I was in my mid-teens, but when I found Regency and Victorian romance books - I was hooked!
    I still read about a book a day in either (or both) romance and mystery, and if it includes historical details, I'm thrilled. Wish I wanted to write Regency, since I love reading them. But I'll stick to contemporary for now.
    Thanks for reminding me of those early books I used to read. I recognize all the names mentioned (Woodiwiss, e.g).

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    1. Thanks Celia! I'll bet we all spent our youth in libraries and bookstores.

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  6. As a teenager in the early 70's, I loved classics like The Prisoner of Zenda, Lorna Doone and The Scarlet Pimpernel. In the 80's it was Georgette Heyer novels. I've never outgrown these books.

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    1. Oh, I loved Lorna Doone. Bought a copy while we were on vacation in England...a very old edition in a used book store. You brought back a memory for me. Thank you.

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  7. I cant remember exact details, but I know I was in my late teens and it was Historical Romance that started my love of the genre

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  8. Thank you Elisabeth. I'm having a great time. Just found the comments and how to reply today...! Take care and thanks to all your readers who stopped by.

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  9. Jill Marie, thank you so much for agreeing to be our guest for this three-day blog fest. It's been a blast putting these together with you. I'm looking forward to reading your mysteries now, as well as re-reading all your wonderful classic historical novels, and will be looking forward to more. We'd love to have you return.

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  10. I was about 13 when I read Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. I loved that story and read it several times, and yes, I still own a copy. I've been thinking of also getting a copy for my ereader.

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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