Thursday, July 31, 2014

Read-A-Romance Month 2014

Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match --
On sale for a few more days in celebration of
the release of the new companion book:
Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet!

Let's Celebrate ROMANCE!

I'm so honored to be invited to participate in RARM (Read-A-Romance Month) this year by a wonderful contemporary romance writer, who also happens to be one of my good friends and critique partners -- national bestselling author Laura Moore! I love ALL of her books, and I have copies of all of them on my keeper shelf, too!! Definitely check out her Rosewood Trilogy and her latest Silver Creek Series. Such fabulous heartthrob heroes -- mmmm! ;)

I fell in love with romance novels when I was in junior high and discovered Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt at my tiny local library. I'm pretty sure I read every single one of their Gothic romances in the collection. Not only did these stories make me long to meet a tall, dark, and handsome stranger from a foreign land, but they also spurred my interest in international travel, castles, and mystery plot lines...

As far back as I can remember, my favorite songs, movies, and novels were love stories -- sometimes with a dash of danger, frequently with a bit of humor, and always with some strong emotion. I'm thrilled to be a part of the community writers that gets to publish romance today and, hopefully, give a whole new generation of readers the joy of discovering tales of passion for the first time!

My coming-of-age romantic mystery (which was
chosen by The Reading Frenzy to be one of
their Top 20 Novels of 2013) The Road to You.
1. Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I'm not a big physical risk taker. I haven't skydived out of any airplanes or skied down a slope much higher than a bunny hill. However, I've taken some fairly major emotional risks... Like auditioning for a community theater musical, even though I didn't have any formal vocal training. (I did get a chorus part in the show, though!) And auditioning for a university dance group that was going to tour Europe, even though I didn't have any formal training in dance either. (I was lucky enough to get accepted into that, too, although I really had to work hard to come up to speed on those Charleston steps, LOL.) But probably the most adventurous thing I ever did in my life -- aside from motherhood -- was to apply to be an AFS exchange student as a high schooler. I was 16 and there was a lot of work involved. My parents were supportive of me, but they made it clear that if I wanted to do it, all the initiative would have to be mine. So, I filled out stacks of papers, got teacher recommendations, officially applied, did the in-person interview when I'd made it through to the second round of the submission process, and waited for what seemed like an eternity... I got a placement and was able to spend the summer between my junior and senior years in high school in Brisbane, Australia. I *loved* it, and the world just seemed to open up like a treasure box once I'd had a chance to travel halfway around it... It was a fabulous and truly memorable experience.

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 always loved both reading and writing -- and I do think the two go hand in hand. (Someone once wrote that reading is the "inhale" and writing is the "exhale"... Love that.) I wrote songs and poems in elementary school, but it wasn't until 6th grade that the notion of writing professionally even occurred to me. But I didn't pursue it. In fact, aside from being on both the newspaper and yearbook staffs in high school, I didn't take writing seriously at all until I was in my early 30s with a newborn baby at home. Then I started writing about him (he's never fond of hearing this!) -- articles, parenting-related essays, and poems at first. When my son, who's now in high school, was just a toddler, I began drafting my first novel, and the end result was dreadful. No one will EVER see that book! It took five completed (different) manuscripts before I got my first contract with a New York publisher, and it's been a roller-coaster ride ever since.

My debut novel, According to Jane,
which won RWA's Golden Heart
Award & was a #1 Kindle bestseller...
3. Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
There are MANY novels I've loved, but the one that changed my life -- hands down -- is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. (I even wrote a blog post about it HERE for the 200th anniversary of its release.) In my opinion, it's a work of stunning brilliance, and I'm just as much in awe of it now as I was when I first read it at the age of 14. Austen knew human behavior. She understood they way people thought, acted in public (and in private), dealt with difficult news, with tedium...or with joy. Her characters are timeless and universal and, more than any other author, she's made me recognize many of the traits of her most famous characters in the real people I know from my life, including my own family members. Her novels have greatly influenced the direction of my writing as well. My debut novel, According to Jane, along with the new contemporary romantic comedy series I'm working on now (Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect ___ ), are both direct nods to Austen's genius. I'm forever grateful to my high-school English teacher for assigning that novel!

My Official Bio:
Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. Visit her website: www.marilynbrant.com . 


bobbiwrites said...

Thank you so much! What a fun post and great covers for your books! xo

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post, Bobbi!! Even more, my heartfelt appreciation for coming up with RARM -- what an inspired idea -- I love it!!

Lisa McLuckie said...

Isn't it funny how travel can change you? It's soul-expanding.

Marilyn Brant said...

Lisa, I loved your story about the Amazon!! And, yes, I totally agree...travel is life changing ;).