Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Into Romance

By Susan Crandall

What is it about Spring that brings out the romantic in all of us? Is it the increase of daylight—after all scientists have proven that increased daylight affects our hormones and mood, even our fertility? Is it the emergence of color after a long gray winter? The feeling of lightness and freedom as we shed bulky sweaters and wool socks? The proliferation of adorable baby animals? Whatever the cause it seems to be true, the arrival of spring melts not only the ice and snow of winter, but our hearts as well. Even the most jaded of us weaken to the idea of romance in the spring.

I myself am an old married lady and, while my husband is a romantic at heart, the beauty of that first blush of love now comes to me only vicariously. Normally at this time of year, I’m getting my romantic “fix” by writing a novel that in part devotes itself to true love. I’m busy building the foundation for my characters’ enduring loves, orchestrating hurdles for them to overcome (because we all know that something hard-won is infinitely more dear to us than that which comes easily), giving them the strength to open themselves to the truth that they are better together than either of them are alone. It’s a tremendously satisfying job.

Alas, this year, I’m having to look outside my own work for that always-exciting journey toward true love. I’m reading other writers’ romantic fiction because my current work in progress doesn’t have a shred of romance in it. Shocking, but true. This is a first for me, this creation of a story without romance. Why do it, you ask? Why create a story without the infinite satisfaction of bringing two human beings together in a bond that denies bounds? The answer is, “Because I must.” As writers of fiction, we do a whole lot of “living” inside our own heads. Usually we have some control over the lives we lead there, but occasionally a seed for a story gets embedded that just doesn’t conform to our chosen genre. Such is the case with my current heroine, Starla Claudelle, a nine year old girl whose romantic life is somewhere off in the distant future. But Starla demands her story be told, romantic or not.

I always refrain from reading the genre in which I am writing during the concentrated writing process. And usually that means I’m not reading stories with strong romantic elements. But this spring, when my desire for a delicious love story arises, I will be reading romantic stories on which I can simply ride along and enjoy, I can anticipate the unknown on the next page and in the next chapter in a way that isn’t possible when I’m the one creating the story. It’s a very different pleasure for me. One I’m taking every advantage of this spring as I indulge in one of life’s greatest pleasures, a romantic novel. I urge all of you to do the same!

Susan grew up in a small Indiana town, married a guy from that town, and then moved to Chicago for a while. She is pleased to say that she has been back in her hometown for many years and plans to stay. She and her husband have two grown children. "They make me proud every day," Susan glows. "My son, who has the heart of a poet, is also a writer. My daughter, who is both beautiful and brilliant, is about to take her first steps into the working world of science."

Susan has deliciously offered to give away one out of print copy of On Blue Falls Pond and one paperback copy of Sleep No More. Two fabulous books! Leave a comment on why you love Spring and you are entered to win one of these great books.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love spring/ summer because of the weather & the beautiful sunshine which truly uplifts ones spirit and i would have to also say that the sunlight makes you not only feel more alert & attentitive to all that surrounds you but everything looks so beautiful with the flowers & birdsong - divine bliss in a snapshot!
Thank you for an amazing giveaway of such amazing books, thank you.

From: Miss. Lucinda Fountain
Email: lfountain1@hotmail.co.uk

March 21, 2012 at 2:01 AM  
Blogger CrystalRosette said...

What's not to love about spring?! The amazing weather, the holiday, the good mood people are generally in, (I live in an extremely hot country, so good weather really has an affect on people's mood), not to mention that I'm a nature's fan so all the blooming flowers are a nice add!

Thanks for the giveaway!

(I'm sorry for the coded email, I'm trying to cut down the amount of spam I've been receiving...)
Also, if this isn't international, please nevermind my post.

March 21, 2012 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Why do I love spring? For me, it's pretty basic - I hate to be cold. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's never really that cold anyway! We're all a bunch of babies and anything below 50 degrees we whine about! I love to see the blossoms coming out, slowly but surely, and the green leaves emerging. I definitely love Spring.

March 21, 2012 at 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, Spring is God's way of letting Mother Nature come alive in our souls! Beautiful sunshine, blooming spring flowers and trees, birds chirping their "Good Day" greetings, and the sound of happy children playing outside.

Thank you for the opportunity to enter this contest! I recently discovered Susan Crandall's wonderful books and would love to have one (or, all) of her fantastic novels!


Nancy R. Louks daynacolinriley@sbcglobal.net

March 21, 2012 at 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Susan Crandall said...

Looking over all of the lovely comments on spring and enjoying them. Here in Indiana spring came almost a month ahead of schedule, in fact today feels like summer! Normally when we have warm weather early, reality weather sets in and ruins the blooms forced out before their time. Not this year! Everything is beautiful, fully bloomed without a hint of frostbite! They say we won't live long enough to see this kind of peculiar spring in Indiana again, so I'm enjoying it now!

March 21, 2012 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Lynne Marshall said...

I'm gushing because I love Susan Crandall, have since your very first book Back Roads. I am also very intrigued by this new turn in your repertoire - straight fiction or is it young adult? Wow. Can't wait to find out more.

I have read Sleep No More but would love Blue Pond (just in case I get lucky today?)

March 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Christy Hayes said...

I've had the pleasure of meeting Susan at several writing conferences and she is truly a wonderful person, as this post demonstrates. I also recently turned in a guest blog where I talked about how wonderful it is to be a romance writer when my very happy and contented life feels occasionally like Groundhog Day! I love spring for all the reasons you mention and can't wait to read about Starla.

March 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Charlene Sands said...

Hi Susan - I agree about not reading the genre you are writing about at the moment. I am always so fearful it would somehow slant or sway my own story or confuse me. Love the pictures and I also am intrigued about writing a book without romance. I don't know if I could do it myself!!

March 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Susan Crandall said...

Thanks so much everyone for such great comments ... and compliments! My book about Starla is definitely adult fiction. I've been trying to think of ways to describe it by referencing known works, it's akin to The Secret Life of Bees and To Kill a Mockingbird...child narrator all the way.

March 22, 2012 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Maggie Marr said...

Patricia and Lucinda Fountain thanks to Random.org you are our two winners! Patricia please send me your email addy so that we can get the book to you! maggiemarr @ mac.com

March 22, 2012 at 8:19 PM  

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