Showing posts with label Judith Arnold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Judith Arnold. Show all posts

Guest Post: Author Judith Arnold on Writing Reality Romance

 Writing Reality Romance Was a Novel Experience
For an Experienced Romance Writer
By Judith Arnold
After publishing 86 romance novels, Judith Arnold was asked to write her first Reality-Based Romance ™ which would tell the true love story of a real-life couple.  In this guest blog, Judith talks about what it was like to write “Meet Me In Manhattan, her 87th romance novel about the true love story of New York couple Erika Fredell and Ted Skala.

            I was thrilled when HCI Books invited me to write one of the launch titles for True Vows, their new line of romance novels based on real people.  Being the first person to do something is always exciting.  You’re a pioneer, venturing into the unknown.  No one can compare your work to former True Vows books, because there are no former True Vows books.  You’re the first, setting the tone for all who follow.

So yes, I was thrilled…but also apprehensive.  Since selling my first book, a Silhouette Desire, in 1983, I’ve seen eighty-six of my romance novels published.  I’ve written comedies, dramas, novellas, single-titles—but True Vows was an entirely new concept: romance novels based on actual, living couples.  HCI Books even came up with a name for this brand-new genre: Reality-Based Romance ™.  

In all those previous eighty-six novels, I had made everything up.  I’d created the characters, the stories, the conflicts.  Could I write a novel in which the characters were real people?  Could I shape a dramatic, passionate romance story out of an actual courtship?  

            Once I learned about the real-life romance of Ted Skala and Erika Fredell, I knew I could.  Ted and Erika’s romance was a classic reunion story.  They’d fallen in love their final year of high school, spent the summer after graduation infatuated with each other, and then parted ways amid much heartbreak when Erika headed off to college.  Sixteen years later, they both wound up working in Manhattan.  Ted was in a serious relationship with another woman, but he couldn’t bring himself to take the next step with her.  Erika had dated but never fallen in love, and she’d accepted the likelihood that she would remain single for the rest of her life.  And then Ted and Erika met for a drink, a meeting that made them question the directions their lives had taken, the choices they’d made and the deepest yearnings of their hearts.

            I love reunion stories—the idea that a flame you thought had burned to ash years ago might in fact have been smoldering all those years, only to flare anew when you and your former lover find each other again.  I’ve written fictional reunion stories before, but Ted and Erika’s story actually happened.  I turned it into novel, adding characters, juicing up the dialogue—if only we could speak as cleverly in real life as characters do in novels!—and shaping the story so it followed a dramatic arc, with all the elements readers expect in the best romance fiction.  But Ted and Erika are real people, which adds an entirely new element to the reading experience.  (In fact, you can see a photo of me with Ted and Erika by clicking here.)

Writing Ted and Erika’s story was a joy.  I was completely swept up in its epic drama, the wild passion of their teenage love and their more complex, nuanced emotions when they met again as adults.  If you love reunion stories as much as I do, you’ll love Meet Me In Manhattan.
            To try out Reality Romance, you can read the first three chapters of “Meet Me in Manhattan” for free, by clicking this link.

From Tracy: Intrigued by what you read?  One lucky commenter will win a copy of Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold.  Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on the previous post before 11:59pm (pacific) on 9/14/10.  Winner will be announced on 9/15/10.  Good luck!

Please join me in giving a big thank you to Judith Arnold for being my guest today!

Review: Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold - Book Tour Info and Book Giveaway

Welcome to the True Vows Book Tour!

Introducing True Vows, a daring new series from HCI Books — that will rock the romance world and redefine memoir forever. It’s Reality-based, or RB Romance™ where the inspiration of each novel is ripped from the headlines and based on personal interviews with real couples whose love stories read like the best in romantic fiction. Esteemed authors Judith Arnold, Alison Kent, and Julie Leto are beloved story-tellers whose distinctive styles have won them large and loyal followings. Readers trust them to deliver compelling, page-turning reads, and beginning this fall romance readers will not be disappointed. They will be captivated by the unexpected—an experience that transcends anything that’s ever been offered in the genre before.
When fantasy meets reality anything can happen. Believe it. It’s true.

Today I’m reviewing Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold

You can get more information about the True Vows book tour here – as well as a list of all of the sites the tour will be on.

Ted Skala and Erika Fredell were the perfect New Jersey high school sweethearts. Like many teens Ted and Erika spent plenty of time in parked cars under the stars, but there was so much more between them than the chemistry that ignited their courtship, and Ted couldn't imagine a life without Erika. By graduation he was ready to get engaged. Erika, however, was ready to spread her wings and faraway she flew to college. She broke his heart. She sailed the world.

Fast forward 15 years. Living in Manhattan, Erika successfully climbs the corporate ladder but her love life stinks. Ted is also living the life of a successful businessman in Manhattan, and he's involved in a serious relationship. Problem is, he still can't get Erika out of his system. When fate intervenes and their paths cross, the result is emotionally explosive and that old black magic is back with the force of a super nova. But Erika once ravaged his heart: How can Ted ever trust her again? And now that he's seriously involved with another woman, how can Erika hope for a second chance with the man she never should have let go?

Ted’s had a crush on Erika for two years. But Erika’s was too into her horses and her horse competition and Ted didn’t think that she’d have time for him. Now they’re seniors and Erika has a crush on Ted as well. A mutual friend finally gets the two together and they spend a fun yet intense summer together before Erika leaves New Jersey for college in Colorado.

Although the two are in love Erika knows that she needs to stick with her plan for her college and her life even though that means leaving Ted behind. Unfortunately this does not end well for Ted and he’s left heartbroken.

The book tells the story of Erika and Ted and their time together during that one hot summer. It touches on the events in Ted and Erika’s live that bring them both to Manhattan 15 years after their breakup. Then it tells us how Ted and Erika finally decide to live happily ever after.

I gotta tell ya I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading the book. It’s not like I could finish reading and then say to myself – yeah, that was good, but I would have liked to have had it end this or that way. I mean, it ended the way it ended because it really happened that way! Lol

The love story: They were so cute together when they were in high school but I just never felt that Erika was on the same wave length as Ted. His was more of an obsessive love – which he admits when he’s an adult – and it was kind of creepy to me. He had a hard life, which seemed more or less self-induced, but he got his shit together and made something of himself which was very admirable.

Though the story starts with Ted contacting Erika after 15 years and them meeting for a drink in a local restaurant it then went back 15 years and took us to the time of their high school days. I have to admit that I was surprised that we spend so much time in the past and hearing what happened to them during the time they were apart. I have to admit I would have liked to have seen more on the romance end from after they met and were adults.

Also, reading a real life romance through an author made me think – is that what the person really thought, or said or did? Is the author taking creative license? How do the secondary characters feel about being talked about in the book? I have to say that it was a little distracting for me.

In the end it was a cute book. As for the real life couple…I have to say that I hope they’re extremely happy in their relationship for many years to come.

Rating 3.5 out of 5

I also have one copy of Meet Me In Manhattan to give away to one lucky winner (US/Canada only, No PO Boxes). Just leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm on Sept. 14, 2010 and I’ll announce the winner on Thursday, Sept. 15.

What I Read Last Week

Greetings to all!

And...Happy Labor Day to those in the US!  I hope you're enjoying the holiday and hopefully you, like me, have the day off.  Talk about a lazy day.  Wow.  I wish I could say I'm being uber productive today - besides laundry - but I really hate to lie to my friends. lol  None of us want to leave the house because it's been so stinking hot here.  I want to know when I moved to the sun.  I must have blocked that out somewhere along the way but that's apparently where I live because it's hot like the sun here!  It's been over 100 - F (that's over 38 C) every day this past week.  Right now says it's 90 here but the thermometer that's in my back yard - that's in the shade - says it's 100.  That's actually cool. lol

So what happened in Tracyland this week?  Not a whole hell of a lot.  We went to my youngest daughter's back to school night and met her teacher.  I loved her!  She's fun and funny but has her shit together.  She seems like a great teacher and my daughter likes her a lot - super important!  The teacher also loves math which makes her a perfect match for my youngest since she loves math as well.  (I know, she's sick, she gets that from my hubby *shudders*) lol

Anyway, on to what I read this past week:

First up was Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith.  This is one I read for The Book Binge.  It was the story of a graduate student who goes looking for her ancestry and winds up with a lot more than she bargained for. The book has a lot of history in it, and even though it's not my thing I really enjoyed it.  4.25 out of 5

Next was another book for The Book Binge called Marriage in Moonlust by Kate Hill.  This is about a woman who is given to the local vampire family as their monthly blood sacrifice but she ends up falling in love with one of the vampires instead.  A little rushed on the love but not bad. 3.25 out of 5

Next was Savage Sanctuary by Jacqueline Barbary.  This was a story of a shapeshifter that is on the run and the man who runs the sanctuary that he's taken to.  They fall in love and face trials and tribulations.  3 out of 5  You can read my review here.

Next was Sureblood by Susan Grant.  This was a sci-fi book about warring clans in space and the leaders of those clans that fall in love.  Pretty good book.  I had some issues with it but on the whole I liked it.  3.75 out of 5  You can read my review here.

My Tracy's TBR challenge read for the week was The Name of the Game by Willa Okati.  This was the story of a gay man, Clay, who is in love with his straight cop roommate, Seth.  Seth is in the relationship from hell with Sophie the psycho and it's decided that Seth will tell Sophie he's gay to get out of it.  It works to a point, but then Seth starts really having feelings and desires for Clay.  This was a good book but it was a bit much on the dramatic for me.  The men had Sophie to deal with but then they threw in speed dating for Clay as well as some other issues.  And did the characters ever work?  Uh, not that I could tell.  I just found it really wasn't my cup of tea. 3 out of 5

Next up was Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold.  This here is an absolutely true romance.  That's right, the book was written about the true life romance of Ted and Erika.  It's also part of the True Vows series and  I'll be posting my review of the book on Wednesday as part of the book tour so check back.

Mistress of the Night by Charlotte Featherstone had been in my ereader waaaaay too long so I finally decided it was time to read it. I originally bought it based on the info about the tortured hero - I love those.  And boy was Blaine tortured.  You see he had epilepsy and back then it was not a illness that was A-ok.  If you had the "falling sickness" then you were thought to be possessed by a demon and Blaine was afraid that his secret would get out and he would be committed to Bedlam.  He vowed to never get married and never have a child.  But he fell in love with Madeline and he couldn't seem to keep himself away from her.  I really liked the book a lot.  Blaine could be a right bastard at times while pushing Madeline away and yeah, I hated him for it, but he was so afraid.  The problem was, he was so afraid that she'd find his secret out and be repulsed by him that he ended up living in hell because he couldn't be with her the way he wanted.  Very good book but if you read it be prepared to hate Blaine at times along the way.   4 out of 5

And last but not least I re-read Lord of the White Hell book 1 by Ginn Hale.  And you know, it was just as great the second time reading it as it was the first.  I re-read in preparation for reading book 2 and I wanted to completely refresh my memory.  Man I just love Javier and Kiram.  Good people.  I reviewed this back in June - you can read my review here if you're interested. 5 out of 5

My Book Binge review that posted last week:
Seduced by a Highlander by Paula Quinn

Happy Reading