The next book in my Barefoot Bay series, BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN, releases in just ten days and I’m mighty excited about this one. And a little terrified, too. The early reviews are coming in and something is happening that I’ve never experienced before –the book generates a deeply personal emotional response. That’s what we want when we write, don’t we? Or…do we?
I’ve written around thirty books and my goal with every single story is to offer a reader escapist entertainment. I love to take my readers to places they’ve never been, on adventures they’ll never experience, with men we all only dream about. I proudly write the Calgon book: Take me away!! Some of them are more emotional than others, some are more action-packed, some are sexier, some are more touching, some elicit sighs, some turn on a tear or two. But something is different about BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN, and I can feel it in the early reader responses.
The book admittedly deals with some tough issues. Although the story is a romance through and through — star crossed lovers reunite after fifteen years and must learn life’s most challenging lessons before their hearts can be open to that happy ever after — the tale is told against a backdrop of some painful stuff that is, I’m afraid, all too universal.
Jocelyn Bloom’s father was physically and verbally abusive so when she left for college, she never looked back. That cost her Will Palmer, the boy she loved and, really, any chance at a soft heart and new love. But a decade and a half later, Jocelyn is forced to go back to the island where she grew up. She discovers that her father is suffering from Alzheimer’s and the disease has not only changed him into a sweet ol’ pussycat, it has also wiped away any memory of who and what he was. Even worse, Will is in Barefoot Bay, too, and he — a man with a heart of gold and a few issues of his own — is taking care of Jocelyn’s father and still carrying a burning hot torch for her.
It’s complicated. It’s painful. And, for me, it was terribly romantic to experience Jocelyn’s softening heart for both Will and her father. She battles with whether or not she can forgive and forget, even knowing that she must do both before she can take the love that Will is offering. She also knows that if she forgives, she makes herself vulnerable, and nothing terrifies her more.
I’m thrilled to receive letters and reviews that tell me the book is not only accurate in its portrayal of the agonizing subjects, but heartwrenching in the level of emotion. I’m also prepared for the inevitable reader and reviewer that does not want an “issue” in their romance novel — there are enough of those in real life, thank you very much. I respect that view, I really do.
So what about you? Do you prefer a romance novel that steers clear of the tough stuff or do you like one that takes on real issues as a backdrop for escapist romance? I personally like a little of both!
Drop a comment and win both books in the Barefoot Bay series: BAREFOOT IN THE SAND and BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN. I promise you’ll kick off your shoes and fall in love! But bring the Kleenex just in case.
Roxanne St. Claire is a bestselling author of thirty novels of romance and suspense. A five-time nominee and one-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award for outstanding romantic fiction, her books have also won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense for two consecutive years, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, five Awards of Excellence, the Aspen Gold and many others
Prior to launching a full time career as a novelist in 2003, Roxanne spent most of her professional life as a marketing executive and public relations consultant. She is a graduate of UCLA, an active member of several national writing organizations, and a lecturer on a wide range of writing-related topics. She lives in Satellite Beach, Florida with her husband and their two teenagers, and if you know her, you call her Rocki.
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