Falling in love with romance by Erin Knightley
Debut Erin Knightley releases her first romance on June 5th, More Than A Stranger, a wonderful historical romance – enjoy!
Isn’t it funny how a smell, a taste, or a sound can define an era, a year, or even a moment in time? There is an elusive scent out there, one that I catch only once in a blue moon, but the moment I do, I am instantly transported to the magnificent library in the city where I went to college, Columbia, South Carolina. It’s the smell of thousands upon thousands of books, warmed by the heat of the southern sun through the glorious expanse of glass walls that so minimally defined the space. It’s flavored with a hint of the exotic—towering tropical trees grew freely in the bright space—and the subtle undertones of earthy stone and airy sky.
It was a library that lived like an art gallery . . . but then again, wasn’t that what it was? A pulpit for the art of imagination, a showcase for the mastery of story-telling that had been honed through the centuries of civilization? All that knowledge, all that adventure, all that delicious romance—a million books that seemed to encompass the entire universe and tackle every aspect of man in every possible time somehow fit neatly on a single city block. Each page, each book, each carefully designed cover was truly the culmination of so many authors hopes and dreams made tangible for us, the eager reader to devour.
And eager I was. Every Friday, I would slide into my ancient silver Volvo, turn the key and hope the beast would roar to life, ready to carry me to my favorite of all destinations. I had only spare change to my name back then, and I would happily cough up my precious nickels and dimes for the parking meter, buying me minutes and hours to soak up the row upon row of romance novels, surely the largest selection in the world.
This is where my love of historical romance began. No longer stuck with the underwhelming selection of my tiny hometown library, I discovered westerns first. The vivid works of authors like Lorraine Heath, Elizabeth Lowell, and Linda Lael Miller drew me deep into a whole new world, a different era where life was slower, and richer, and the untamed frontier stretched before us like an unpainted canvas. This is when I first discovered that simple words on a page could roar to life so fully, that nothing so trivial as sleep could keep me from finishing the book.
And then, one day, I picked up my first Regency historical novel. Oh, how my world changed that day. The dashing heroes, the plucky heroines, the dresses and manor houses and deliciously witty banter—all of it came together in a perfect storm of awesomeness that captured my heart like nothing else. I devoured Julia Quinn, Susanne Enoch, Lisa Kleypas, and so many more, happily losing myself in the crowded balls of London and sprawling green hills of the countryside. My days were filled with calculus classes, and physics exams, and oh-so-tedious organic chemistry homework, but my nights—oh, my nights, my friends, were for stolen glances, first kisses, and that perfect sigh of true love.
It’s been over a decade since those days, and in those rare moments when I’m once again reminded of that scent, I can’t help but smile at the memory of the perfection of the hours lost in the world of possibilities. A building of stone, glass, and steel, holding all the secrets of the universe, giving life to the magic of imagination, and planting the seed of dreams yet to come.
On June 5th, when my debut novel finally releases, I already know that I’ll delight in seeing its gorgeous cover on the shelves of bookstores I love and frequent. I’ll have fun visiting my local library, and will certainly look forward to scrawling my signature on the title page of my own book.
But most of all, I’ll think of what it would be like for me to see my name on the spine of a book marked by the stamp of the Richland County library. I think of that girl, who scrounged beneath the tattered blue seats of her car for an extra nickel so that she could have another ten minutes to wander those familiar aisles, sliding her fingers along the covers as she looked for her next adventure. What would she think if she knew her own book would someday be nestled among those authors she most loved and admired?
This summer, I may succumb to the lure and take a little road trip. I might just head south, traveling 300 miles by distance and over a decade back in time to walk those hallowed aisles once more. I want to smell that perfect scent, and know that I am now a part of it in a way I would have never dreamed of all those years ago.
Once upon a time, my world was expanded a thousand times over thanks to the discovery of a library that valued romance novels. It makes me so happy—and a little teary—to think I can now give back in my own small, yet tremendously tangible way. Where once tiny seeds were planted, now the fruits of my dreams will live. And that, dear friends, is the best happily ever after of all.
So I want to know… where did you first fall in love with romance?
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1. Everyone who comments will be entered in my Sealed with a Kiss blog tour giveaway! Prizes include signed books, lots of fun swag, stationery, a custom iPhone case, and gift cards from Starbucks and Amazon! For details, click HERE. Drawings will be made June 15th!
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MORE THAN A STRANGER debuts June 5th!
AN UNCOVERED BETRAYAL
When his family abandoned him at Eton, Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend’s sister. Her letters kept him going—until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven….
AN UNWANTED ATTRACTION
After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, Lady Evelyn Moore is finally free to live her life as she wishes. So when her brother shows up with a dashing stranger, she finds herself torn between her dreams…and newfound desires.
AN UNSTOPPABLE INTRIGUE
Despite his determination to keep Evie at a distance, Benedict cannot deny the attraction that began with a secret correspondence. Yet as they begin to discover one another, the dangers of Benedict’s world find them, threatening their lives, their love, and everything they thought they could never have…
Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science. It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn’t any fun at all. Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. Together with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina.