Archive for 'fellow authors'

“How Jane Austen Continues to Inspire Romance Authors”

In honor of one my all-time favorite authors, whose birthday is today, I’m reupping a little think-piece I wrote with great pleasure for Bookish. Hope you enjoy it!

How Jane Austen Continues to Inspire Romance Authors

More than 200 years after their publication, Jane Austen’s books still speak to us — still make us think, laugh, and swoon a little, too. The novels themes of love and marriage also continue to inspire historical romance novelists everywhere. What is it, exactly, that keeps her work so relevant to us writers, as well as to the romance community at large? I suggest it’s because Austen embeds her stories with enduringly powerful ideas and motifs. Here are a few of them.

Intelligence is a game-changer
Set in an era during which women were all too often viewed as decorative objects, Austen’s heroines — despite intense familial and social pressure to conform — think their way through things. For Mansfield Park‘s Fanny Price to reject Henry Crawford? Astonishing! Today’s historical romance readers expect heroines to make self-affirming choices too, whether it’s through book smarts, emotional intelligence, business acumen, or any of the other various qualities that denote solid brainpower.

Appearances can be deceiving
Oh, that dashing John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, literally sweeping Marianne Dashwood off her feet. But, alas, he’s got a rotten core. And what about cold, condescending Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice? Turns out he’s hiding a good heart and a passionate nature. In the high-stakes game of love, people can go to great lengths to conceal their flaws, fears, and desires. Our historical heroines often struggle with the same dilemma — how to sort out the real from the false — as they fight for what they want and deserve.

Laughter is sexy
Among Austen’s wide range of characters, those who deploy humor are often cited as favorites. Consider witty, playful Elizabeth Bennet in P&P who famously declares, “I dearly love a laugh,” and Northanger Abbey‘s adorable Henry Tilney. As “Advice Goddess” Amy Alkon says, we’re instinctively drawn to people who make us laugh: “Humor is a reliable, hard-to-fake sign of genetic quality.” Today we still love a laugh, as the many fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Tessa Dare — three of the best-known purveyors of fun historical romps — will attest.

People can change
Austen herself said that Emma Woodhouse was “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Emma is a tough sell. She’s annoyingly smug and bossy. But not only does Emma learn some hard lessons about herself, she’s able to take this information and become a kinder, wiser person — leaving us confident that she really has earned her happy ending. And that’s what we want from our historical characters too. We love seeing them change, grow, and flourish, both as individuals and as a firmly bonded couple.

Still waters run deep
My two favorite Austen heroines — Persuasion‘s Anne Elliot and Mansfield Park‘s Fanny Price — are quiet, sensitive, and deeply emotional. Others may think they’re pushovers or take them for granted, but it’s their unwavering moral compass, their steadfast inner strength, which ultimately gains them their hearts’ desires. This trope is an eternally popular one, and for good reason: Who doesn’t root for the wallflower, the introvert, the underdog? There’s something very special about the against-the-odds happily-ever-after.

Happiness matters
In Austen’s day, marriage was often a woman’s only bulwark against deprivation, degradation, or worse. That her books are wedding-obsessed reflects a very real and practical response to her world. Yet she also, radically, makes the case for personal happiness over pragmatism. Elizabeth Bennet really should accept icky Mr. Collins’ proposal for the sake of her family’s security. But she doesn’t, and that is a stunning act of subversion. This bold championing of happiness over every other consideration is why romance novels continue to not only outsell other genres, but also to joyfully illuminate the human heart and mind.

These images via Wikimedia commons.

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JQ’s Veterans’ Day giveaway!

From the wonderful Julia Quinn:

During the month of November, Julia Quinn and Waxcreative Design will give away 100 books to service members, veterans, military spouses and Gold Star family members. . . . We will choose 100 winners at random to receive the Julia Quinn novel of their choice.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your service.

Click here for more info and to access the entry form. Please note: this giveaway closes on November 15.

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Tomorrow!

Writerspace is hosting its epic annual Halloween Mash on Facebook — that’s Thursday, October 28th. With loads of authors and nifty prizes, including two Kindle Fires, signed books, gift cards, and more — plus live chats, by post and video!

Graphic: Writerspace Halloween Mash

Participating (and fabulous!) fellow authors include Sabrina Jeffries, Janna MacGregor, Robyn Carr, Anna J. Stewart, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jayne Ann Krentz, Christina Dodd, Melinda Curtis, Nina Crespo, Meg Tilly, and Rebecca Zanetti.

And I’ll be giving away a signed print copy of The Worst Duke in the World, the latest in my Penhallow Dynasty series.

Graphic: "Attention, Bridgerton fans: if you're ready to delve deeper into the world of historical romance, The Worst Duke in the World is a fun place to start." -Popsugar, shared via LisaBerne.com

Interested? Click here for more info, and to register.

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Save the date . . .

. . . for Writerspace’s super-fun Halloween Mash on its Facebook page, Thursday, October 28th! Featuring dozens of authors and great prizes, including two Kindle Fires, signed books, gift cards, and more — plus live chats, by post and video!

Participating (and fabulous!) fellow authors include Sabrina Jeffries, Janna MacGregor, Robyn Carr, Anna J. Stewart, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jayne Ann Krentz, Christina Dodd, Melinda Curtis, Nina Crespo, Meg Tilly, and Rebecca Zanetti.

As for me, I’m giving away a signed print copy of The Worst Duke in the World, the latest in my Penhallow Dynasty series.

Graphic: "Enchanting": Entertainment Weekly on The Worst Duke in the World by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Interested? Click here for more info, and to register.

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Editors Unedited: shop talk!

Graphic: Editors Unedited featuring Lucia Macro and Lisa Berne

Podcast alert! If you’d like to listen in on a conversation between my amazing Avon editor Lucia Macro and me, in which we yak about the creative process, how I came to write You May Kiss the Bride, why romance novels have claimed their well-deserved place at the literary table, my upcoming The Redemption of Philip Thane, and more, click here!

 

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Newsletter alert!

I’ve got a newsletter going out on Tuesday, chock-a-block with the latest about The Redemption of Philip Thane . . .

The Redemption of Philip Thane

. . . and a giveaway of Sophie Jordan’s delicious new book! Open internationally, of course.

If you haven’t already subscribed to my newsletter, would you like to? There’s a super-simple, spam-free form on my site. And while you’re there, feel free to stop by my contest page: a $20 Amazon gift card is up for grabs! Open internationally as well. :)

Graphic: Lisa Berne newsletter

As a subscriber, you’re AUTOMATICALLY entered into all my newsletter giveaways!

 

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Newsletter alert!

Super-excited about my next newsletter — coming soon! — which will feature an exclusive interview with fellow Avon author, the wonderful Caroline Linden, and a giveaway, open internationally, of her newest book, A Scot to the Heart, the second title in her acclaimed Desperately Seeking Duke series. (Isn’t the cover AMAZING?!?)

Cover image: A Scot to the Heart

Plus I’m sharing the latest on my next book, The Redemption of Philip Thane, which releases on December 28th.

Graphic: "How many times can a rake get it wrong," shared via LisaBerne.com

If you haven’t yet subscribed to my VIP newsletter, would you like to? There’s an easy-peasy spam-free signup form on my website. And remember — as a subscriber, you’re automatically entered in all my giveaways!

Graphic: Lisa Berne newsletter

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“If I sound like a superfan, it’s because I am”
Graphic: A Month of Book Love, shared via LisaBerne.com

Graphic by Sharlene Martin Moore / Graphics by Sharlene

I was honored recently to serve as host-for-a-day at the Romance of Reading page on Facebook, helping kick off its “Month of (Book) Love” celebration. I had great time chatting with fellow bookworms there — it’s truly one of the nicest  and most interesting literary groups on FB!

I was also honored by the introduction given by Bobbi Dumas, the group’s cofounder and a freelance writer, romance advocate and the dynamo behind Read a Romance Month. Bobbi graciously gave me permission to include it here on my blog:

When I was reviewing professionally, it was always thrilling to discover a debut author who really knocked your socks off. They were few and far between in those days . . . One such author I discovered was Lisa Berne, and her first book, You May Kiss the Bride, was breathtaking.Cover for You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

I’ve read all of her books now, all set in the Penhallow Dynasty series, and they are wonderful.

Moreover, Berne is a bit of an anomaly in historical romance these days. A bit less sexual, and a bit less of a modern gaze than is the current fashion.

All of her books feel more realistically “of their time” in a way, and yet the heroines maintain a subversiveness in them that gives them agency and power in being exactly who they are, while moving their love stories forward by twining with the hero in unexpected ways.

If I sound like a superfan, it’s because I am. I love the lyricism of her writing, the wit and insight she brings to her characters, and the daring choices she makes that definitely fall outside of the box of today’s typical historical romances . . . She’s different in brilliant and delightful ways, and I for one always look forward to her releases with joy and excitement.

* * *

By the way, here’s the nifty lineup of authors for March at the Romance of Reading!

Graphic by Sharlene Martin Moore / Graphics by Sharlene

 

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“Common mistakes made by the inexperienced romance novelist”

Was I guilty of any of these? I leave it to you to decide!

Comic by Tom Gauld: "Common mistakes made my the inexperienced romance novelist," shared via LisaBerne.com

Shared by the lovely Julia Quinn!

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“What an astonishing thing a book is”

The wonderful Mary Balogh shared this, and I had to, too!

Graphic: "What an astonishing thing a book is," shared via LisaBerne.com

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