Comfort Reading

The Lady Taken 3I’ve gotten into the habit of writing a post every time I have a release day for The Lady Taken. Usually they have something to do with the subject matter of the serial part, like when I wrote about feminism in Victorian England for the release of part 2. I’m not doing that with the release of The Lady Taken: Part 3. This time I’m talking to you about comfort reading.

Being a writer is great, and I love my job. It is, however, emotionally exhausting. You dig in and root around in make believe people’s heads for hours. In some ways, you live their lives and then, when you hit publish, you have to sit back and mentally switch off for a moment. If life interferes, all of that becomes harder to do.

July was a monster month for me. I left my day job I had been at for six years. I published The Lady Taken: Part 2 the Tuesday of RWA. I went to RWA which was a wonderful, crazy, harried good time. The following Monday, I started a new day job. Then I put my baby sister–who lived four blocks from in New York City–on a plane to the UK where she is moving. Oh, and my best friend gave birth to her first child. That’s a lot of change for one 30-day period.

I returned to my apartment a couple Saturdays ago after dropping my sister at the airport and swinging by the hospital to visit the brand-new baby girl and sat down at my computer to do some much needed writing. Normally, I can just put my hands to the keyboard and start thanks to years of working on deadline as a journalist. Not that Saturday. Instead, I just stared at the blank screen. I was done. I’d cried twice that afternoon–once when my sister left and once when my best friend’s husband introduced me to their baby as her “auntie.” That’s a lot of crying for a woman who’s even keeled (or as one friend says, “A cold Brit”) 99% of the time.

And so I did what I always do when I’m feeling emotionally strung out and stressed. I closed my laptop, got out of my chair, and went to my bookcase. I picked up one of the four (!) Julia Quinn Bridgerton books I’d grabbed at RWA, drew a bath, and soaked and read until my feel were pruney. When, later that night, I closed To Sir Phillip with Love, I felt like my normal self again. Maybe a more puffy-eyed version, but normal nonetheless.

Books are powerful. They can grip you and haul you along or they can sweep you away in the most gentle of manners. They capture every emotion and every situation all while letting you forget what’s going on in your life. They give you a release.

For me, the most escapist books will always be historicals. It doesn’t matter the heat level (ironic coming from an erotic romance author, no?) or the setting. What counts is whether the author can pick me up and drop me right into the middle of a world of corsets, silk gowns, house parties, and dashing heroes.

That’s what romance does for me. It comforts me and takes me away. It reaffirms for me over and over again that happy ever afters are possible, and that sometimes the path that we take is a bumpy one but we will get there.

I’m saving my other Julia Quinn books for more emergency Sunday afternoon sessions, but I would love to hear what your relieving books are. Leave a comment or come find me on Facebook.

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