I remember the roadtrip where Pearl and I discussed Lisa Valdez and her debut novel; PASSION. The impact this novel had with its emotional soaring romance, and of course the unleashing of all that passion through the pages struck me dead center in the heart. Historical Romance is the genre of my teen age years, it is a genre where fewer and fewer authors demand my full attention but I can tell you that Lisa Valdez is one of the authors that reignited a burning torch with me for this genre.
Today PATIENCE hits the shelves and I just had to invite Ms. Valdez to my Spring-Fling week to share her kind of romance. Graciously she accepted the invitation and she is here in my Realm today.
So without further ado, here's Ms. Valdez, grab something to drink, something to nibble on and snuggle in your favorite chair or couch...
What does romance mean to Lisa Valdez?
To me, romance is two people who are uniquely suited to one another. Romance is two people who risk being vulnerable because there is something in the other person they intuitively trust. Romance is those same two people learning that they are entirely safe with each other. Romance is also eroticism. For me, there’s no disconnect between romance and eroticism because, for me, eroticism doesn’t exist outside of a romantic framework. And that framework is two people who are destined to love one another forever. Their brains may not know it, but their bodies and hearts do—and this is demonstrated in the most moving, soul-wrenching sex they’ve ever had—it’s never, ever “just sex” in my books. If it’s happening, then it’s happening because that man can only be fulfilled by that woman. And that woman can only be fulfilled by that man. Their romance wouldn’t happen with any other person—the things they do together, they wouldn’t do with any other person—and the things they reveal to one another they wouldn’t reveal to any other person. Romance is also demonstrated in small, intimate ways. Mark tying Passion’s bonnet in the very way she likes it. Passion making Mark hot chocolate. Matthew bringing Patience her breakfast, and Patience making scones for Matthew because she knows he always wakes hungry. All these “small” things (and there are oh, so many) are actually demonstrations of love. And, finally, romance is two people who make each other better individuals—two people who would never be their best selves if not for the other person. …satisfied sigh… Yes, that’s what romance is to me.
What does romance mean to Matthew Morgan Hawkmore and Patience Emmalina Dare?
Well, for all my characters, romance is what I’ve already said. But specific to Matthew, romance is dominance and giving. If he can give Patience what she needs, if he can fulfill her and make her happy, then he will be fulfilled himself. He is constantly looking to her—constantly seeing to her—constantly gauging what she needs. This is the dichotomy of dominance. Many people think dominance is about control, and in many ways it is—but it is also about giving. As the one in the dominant position, Matthew is responsible for Patience’s pleasure. Everything he does is for her. Even when he denies her, it’s for her. He tells her there is no pleasure for her but through him—but the other half of that is that there is also no pleasure for him but through her. He is the giver; she is the receiver. And if he can prove himself worthy of her—then he will be a worthy man. The “small” things: Romance is Patience’s calm voice in the moonlight, reassuring him that everything will be all right. Romance is the way she defends him and stands by him—the way she always assumes the best of him. Romance is the way she trusts him with herself. And romance is sitting with her in a warm kitchen over tea and scones that she’s made for him.
For Patience, romance is trust and submission. She trusts Matthew and, through her submission, she begins to feel things that give her hope for the dreams she put away long ago. She is not weakened by her submission, she is strengthened by it. Indeed, she is saved by it. Her relationship with Matthew is a romantic partnership—a romantic partnership in which she has an equally important, but divergent, role. A role that is more than it seems. Everything is by Patience’s leave, so who, really, is the one in control? She is. And this is the dichotomy of submission—and the romantic beauty of it. So if Patience can truly and completely trust Matthew, and if he can prove himself worthy of that trust, then she can have a kind of happiness that she never even knew existed. The “small” things: Romance is dancing with Matthew. Romance is the safety of his arms. Romance is found in all the beautiful, reassuring things he says to her. Romance is the way he helps her to dress and the way he always rises to her challenges. Romance is in his dark eyes which seem to look inside her and see all her hidden need. Romance is Matthew himself for he awakens Patience from a dreamless and hopeless walking sleep.
A brief taste of PATIENCE:
Patience’s mouth curled back into a smile as he withdrew to finish his scone. It was such a sweet and endearing smile—one he hadn’t seen before. His heart beat a little faster. Ah, Patience, your walls are crumbling.
“If you keep smiling at me like that,” he said, “I will soon be robbed of all my wit, and you will have naught in me but a dumb and drooling mute who trails incessantly at your heels in hopes of the smallest favor.”
Patience laughed. “Somehow, I doubt that.” She leaned close and would have kissed his cheek, but he turned to catch it on his mouth instead. Her lips were soft and warm. She lingered a moment before withdrawing with a sigh and a smile. “In fact, if anyone is in danger of such a fate, it is I.”
“Are you?” Matthew swallowed the last of his tea. “Excellent.”
Patience laughed lightly. “Oh, you’d like me witless, would you?”
“No. Witless would be boring. But I wouldn’t discourage you from trailing incessantly at my heels. Of course”—he traced his finger along her collarbone—“you couldn’t do that from London, could you?”
Patience grinned and shook her head. “Were I constantly in your presence, you would become bored with me.”
Matthew felt a surge of hope. She hadn’t voiced a flat refusal. “Patience, I would happily spend my every waking moment with you.”
Her smile faded but her eyes were soft. “Never having spent your every waking moment with me, how can you know that?”
Because I love you. Because we are meant to be together—forever. “I just know. But why don’t we put it to the test?” Mat¬thew gently fingered the thick curl that had fallen forward from her upswept hair. “Agree to stay with me, and I’ll prove my point.”
Patience regarded him for a long, silent moment. Her beautiful gaze was tender.
Matthew’s heart quickened. Slowly, he closed the small gap between them. “Say yes, Patience,” he murmured against her lips.
Giveaway: Lisa Valdez was generous enough to offer a signed copy of PATIENCE to one lucky commenter, how awesome is that! :) Winner will be anounced on April 12th 2010.