Give romance a chance with Lady Jane’s Salon

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First Posted: 6/2/2014

This one is for all the ladies who love sneaking a peek behind the cover of a bodice ripper while visiting Barnes & Noble, who are hopeless romantics, and who maybe snagged a romance book off their babysitter’s shelf at the age of 13 and never looked back.

Lady Jane’s Salon Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the area’s first monthly romance fiction reading series, a satellite of the original Lady Jane’s Salon in New York.

Author A.C. James – the aforementioned who really did snag her first romance novel at such a young age – is part of a group of women who are bringing the Salon to the area, with the next one happening June 5.

“Romance is a very big genre, and this gives readers the chance to interact with some of their favorite authors, or maybe meet authors they haven’t heard of or read yet,” James, who writes paranormal romances, said.

The Salon is held at Bartolai Winery the first Thursday of each month (except December and January), and the proceeds from the cover charge will go to Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge.

In addition to authors Andrew Grey and Megan Erickson, who will appear at this month’s salon, New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart will be in attendance. Hart dabbles in everything from horror to romance, and the Weekender caught up with her recently, fresh off the release of her latest book, “Flying.”

WEEKENDER: Of all genres, why is romance the one you concentrate on most as a writer?

MEGAN HART: It goes back to when I first started reading romances in high school. I loved reading lots of things, but romances were fun. Who doesn’t like to read about good things happening? Even though in romance you go through bad things, like relationships being a mess, fights, they do fall in love, and falling in love is awesome and amazing. I don’t know anyone in the world who doesn’t like the feeling of falling in love. Reading romances spurs that, that experience.

W: Some people have a tendency to call romance novels cheesy…

MH: I think cheesy is in the eye of the beholder. People who say that romance novels are cheesy are probably the people who aren’t reading them. Certainly, in any genre or kind of book, you’ll have ones that are better written than others. It’s really hard to say why one book catches the attention of people over another. What I write, some people might see as cheesy, even though I don’t think it is. It’s always hard to say.

W: What makes a good romance novel?

MH: For me, I try to focus on realistic stories. I do write romance, but I also write a lot of other things as well. Through all of those genres, I feel as though my voice is still pretty similar. I try to write and focus on realistic stories and details, so I don’t tend to write plotlines that some people might consider cheesy, like the billionaire boss and secretary sort of themes that get the reputation of being less literary or fluffy. But, hey, what’s wrong with fluff? What’s wrong with fun, with those fantastic ideas? I think reading is meant to take us away and tell a story and provide fun and entertainment.

W: What’s your advice to someone who’s never read romance, but would like to?

MH: Just start. Just do it. There can be this idea that reading romance is somehow something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, but I don’t know why anyone would be embarrassed about reading romance versus horror or sci-fi. Go with what you like. The worst that could happen is you don’t like it, and it’s just not for you.

W: What can we expect from your appearance at Lady Jane’s Salon?

MH: I’ll be reading from my latest novel, “Flying,” which is erotic fiction. Nothing super graphic. I’ll leave the good parts for people who want to buy the book.

W: Do you have to walk a fine line as far as wording goes when writing erotica?

MH: It’s so easy to go over the top with language. People who think that type of story is still all about passionate purple love monsters and throbbing members are not the people who read it. The choices are very important. The fact is, there are really very few very good words to describe body parts. When I write erotic scenes, the key is not necessarily “Tab A goes in Slot B” and what that’s called, but about the emotions that are happening in the scene. The emotional connection is easy to describe, but you’ve still got to talk about what’s actually happening to the people. There are clinical terms that are not romantic, and other words that are too harsh and throw people out of the story, and still others that are silly and just don’t work in the context. It’s definitely a challenge, making the right word choices.