Why I Write Romance

Don’t tell my mom, but I started reading romance at the age of ten. I’d worked my way through all of the children’s books available in the local bookmobile, so I turned to the adult section, where I spied a book with a woman in a flowing green dress on the cover. The back said something about a pirate. I was hooked from that moment on (and still wish I could remember the name of that fateful book!).

As a teenager addicted to historical romance novels, I often had to defend my reading material of choice, even writing an essay for my tenth grade English class explaining my love for the genre: I read romance, because no matter what happens (and some pretty crazy things happen), you know those two people are going to end up together.

For this anxiety-prone child of divorce, that was the ultimate comfort, the idea that two flawed people could encounter all sorts of obstacles and still stay together, still find everlasting love.

As to why I write it? Because as an adult, I continue to seek that comfort, that security, that promise every day. Also, I’m a bit of a control freak. Plus, I really love witty repartee between characters. So an encouraging, reassuring story (with funny/witty parts, or so I hope) dictated entirely by me? Sign me up!

Romance provides escape, yes, but it also provides hope, and reminders that no matter what obstacles may come, Happy Ever After might be just around the corner. I hope my books entertain, amuse, and give that sense of hope, that sense of promise we all need, that second chances are possible, and that when life seems its bleakest, a new chapter might be waiting to be written. Gosh, that’s super-corny, but it’s true.

Writing, I’ve learned, also allows me to explore my own thoughts and beliefs through watching/learning what my characters do.

In A Man of Character, I examined the ideas of fantasy versus reality, perhaps in part because people have long challenged romance as presenting impossible ideals.

In A Matter of Time, I delved into whether feminism is compatible with wanting to prioritize love and marriage. (For the record, I am an ardent feminist who happens to be madly in love with my husband and who finds my identity in that relationship, and I’m good with that. So my answer to that question is a resounding yes.)

In A Scandalous Matter, I switched up the feminist theme by asking if romantic relationships negate individual independence, through the eyes of a heroine and hero who believe the two ideas are incompatible. (Spoiler alert: I disagree.)

And in my forthcoming The Demon Duke, admittedly a bit of a Beauty and the Beast story (my favorite Disney tale!) I looked at how we judge others and how we judge ourselves, and how we must make peace with who we are before we can be truly happy.

In each of my books, a main theme is finding one’s place in the world. How ironic that in becoming a writer, I’ve finally done just that. I know where I belong now, where my heart feels happiest, and it’s in writing romance.

I’ve come full circle, and I’m incredibly blessed.

Now, to you: What makes YOU read (or write) romance? I’d love to know! 


An earlier version of this blog post appeared on Tina Glasneck’s Celebrate With A Book site. I’m grateful to her for being fine with me posting it here, as well.

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It’s A Man of Character’s Bookversary! #Giveaway

Margaret Locke A Man of Character
That’s me the first time I ever held one of my books in my hands.

Holy cow. It’s A Man of Character‘s Book Birthday. That means I’ve been a published author for one year. Say what?

It’s been quite a ride, and I’m absolutely thrilled so many people have joined me on it.

I treasure every single Facebook exchange, email correspondence, tweet convo, and review left. Every. Single. One.

Because I couldn’t have imagined a year ago I’d have fans. Or that I’d publish two books in the space of a year, with the third debuting July 6th. Or that I’d final three times in the 2016 HOLT Medallion Awards

I’ve met amazing readers. I’ve met amazing writers. I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’ve learned lots more.

And I’m so very grateful for all of it.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? I sent one out this morning with TONS of giveaways as a Book Birthday present to you! You can check the newsletter out here: http://eepurl.com/b3gE8L

** Please note if you email me to enter a giveaway (or two or three or seven), I take that as consent for you to be added to my newsletter list. But don’t worry – I only email when I have actual news (such as a new release or a sale), and I try to include a giveaway every time!

MUCH LOVE to all of you. I wouldn’t be here without you. THANK YOU. 

A Man of Character and A Matter of Time

#VaLoveFest 2016 at the Virginia Festival of the Book

EJML
With the fabulous Eloisa James! Squee!

Two weeks ago, I was privileged to attend the #VaLoveFest panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book, but couldn’t post until now because of an editing deadline. #AuthorProblems.

If you’ve never been to #VaLoveFest, mark your calendars for the next one (March 2017), because WOW do you ever get to see big names (Eloisa James and Maya Rodale, anyone?) and hear amazing insights into all aspects of romance.

Here are a few pictures and quick summaries from each session, for those not able to attend.


Panel 1: Series Writing: For Women, by Women, with Betsy Ashton, Ellen Butler, Avery Flynn, and Tracey Livesay

L to R: Avery Flynn, Betsy Ashton, Ellen Butler, panel moderator Kim Dalferes , and Tracey Livesay
L to R: Avery Flynn, Betsy Ashton, Ellen Butler, panel moderator Kim Dalferes, and Tracey Livesay.

Tracey Livesay on how she plans out a series (or doesn’t):

Betsy Ashton takes a highly organized approach:

Avery Flynn affirmed:

Ellen Butler sometimes writes more in a series because:

These women shared great insights about the joys and trials of series writing. And Avery Flynn summed up how many a writer feels upon completing a book with this gem:


Panel 2: It’s Raining Men, with Grace Burrowes, Cristin Harber, and Marliss Melton

ItsRainingMen
Back row: Panel moderator Kimberly Kincaid and Grace Burrowes. Front row: Cristin Harber and Marliss Melton.

Grace Burrowes nailed the description of a romance novel hero:

And how does a romance author craft the perfect hero? Marliss Melton had this great tip:

Though we were talking men, it’s true every hero needs a heroine. So how does an author choose? Here’s what Cristin Harber had to say:

At the end of the panel, I think authors and audience agreed with Grace Burrowes‘ statement:


Panel 3: Screening of Romance Industry Documentary Love Between the Covers, followed by a talk with Eloisa James and Maya Rodale

Eloisa James and Maya Rodale talk the state of the romance industry following a screening of Love Between the Covers
Eloisa James and Maya Rodale talk the state of the romance industry following a screening of Love Between the Covers.

If you haven’t yet seen Love Between the CoversI highly recommend you seek out a screening. It’s a fabulous inside look at the romance industry; a celebration of a genre written largely for women, about women, and by women (though with male readership at 16% and rising, and an increase in gay romance, we’re not without our male counterparts!).

Both Eloisa and Maya agreed:

and that:

After the documentary, Eloisa and Maya graciously signed books, and I snapped a picture of Regency Royalty:

L to R: Regency romance authors Eloisa James, Joanna Bourne, Maya Rodale, Grace Burrowes, and #VaLoveFest organizer and Regency romance author, Sue London
L to R: Regency romance authors Eloisa James, Joanna Bourne, Maya Rodale, Grace Burrowes, and #VaLoveFest organizer and Regency romance author, Sue London.

Panel 4: Getting Published With Women’s Fiction & Romance, with Jenny Gardiner, Tracee Garner, and Linda Grimes

Tracee Garner, Linda Grimes, and Jenny Gardiner
L to R: Tracee Garner, Linda Grimes, and Jenny Gardiner.

Sunday, we turned our focus even more to the business side of books, discussing paths to publication in women’s fiction and romance.

Tracee Garner encouraged us:

Indie author Jenny Gardiner shared lots of great insight, including:

Traditionally-published author Linda Grimes acknowledged:

Regardless of which path one chooses, all three authors agreed:

and

and


We capped off the day with a Crime Wave and Romance Group Book Signing at Barnes & Noble. It was a marvelous weekend!

BNDisplay


Thank you so much to all of the authors and panel moderators who gave so generously of their time, energy, and knowledge.

Thank you to #VaLoveFest organizer Sue London, for making it all happen.

And thank you to the Virginia Festival of the Book, for including us in the celebration of authors, readers, craft, and basically all things book!

With the charming Maya Rodale!
With the charming Maya Rodale!

Everybody needs a cheap romance at least once in their life, right?

A Man of Character can be yours for less than $1, but only for A Matter of Time…Don’t miss out on your chance to fall in love with the magic this Valentine’s Day!

amanofcharactersmallA Man of Character: http://bit.ly/AManOfCharacter – Check out this whimsically magical romantic comedy, in which a bookstore owner must choose between fantasy and reality after discovering the men she’s dating are living versions of fictional characters she created long ago.

A Man of Character is a HIT!!! Margaret Locke’s first novel is a true gift to any of us that enjoy romantic comedies with a whimsical twist.” – Annie McDonnell, The Write Review and chicklitplus.com

amatteroftimesmallA Matter of Time: http://bit.ly/AMatterOfTime – A fun, emotion-packed Regency time-travel romance in which a modern-day Austenite’s dream comes true when she lands in the arms of an authentic Regency duke, only to learn some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when he proves less than a Prince Charming…

“A love story and so much more, A Matter of Time should be on every fantasy, paranormal, contemporary and Regency romance readers “to read” list. I would definitely recommend this novel – you will be charmed, captivated, have a few good laughs and shed a few tears as you cheer Eliza and Dev on to find their happy every after ending.” – Marcy, Keeper Bookshelf

2015: A Year of Giving Thanks, Meeting Romance Idols, & Making New Friends

2015 has been a very good year for me. I am so thankful. 

This year, I:

2covers

Eloisa James with Margaret Locke
The ever-charming Eloisa James and I.
The fabulous Sabrina Jeffries!
The fabulous Sabrina Jeffries!
With Pamela Morsi!
With Pamela Morsi!
With the gracious and knowledge-generous Valerie Bowman
With gracious & knowledge-generous Valerie Bowman.
MLockeCMaxwell
With the exuberantly charming Cathy Maxwell.
Sue London getting silly at the West Virginia Book Festival
Sue London getting silly at the West Virginia Book Festival.

vrw

  • met a ton of new people, and, even more amazingly, new fans! I, little ol’ Margaret, now have fans. What, what? But, yes, I do, like the oh-so-fabulous Annie, who even had lunch with me when she was in town.
Annie is a riot, y'all, and we had so much fun at our far-too-brief lunch in October!
Annie is a riot, y’all, and we had so much fun at our far-too-brief lunch in October!
Long-time friends supported me, too, including my grade-school friend Heather, whose animals apparently also want to read A Matter of Time!
Long-time friends supported me, too, including my grade-school friend Heather, whose animals apparently also want to read A Matter of Time!
Some fans read my books out loud to their babies!
Some fans read my books out loud to their babies!
... While others forced their kids to do things like this!
… While others forced their kids to do things like this!
  • solidified relationships and friendships within my Shenandoah Valley Writers critique group and more, and basically surrounded myself with writer friends the whole year through.
Maggie and Rebekah helped me celebrate debut day!
Maggie and Rebekah helped me celebrate debut day!
And these fine characters cheered me on, critiqued my work, picked me up when I felt down, and celebrated my successes!
And these fine characters cheered me on, critiqued my work, picked me up when I felt down, and celebrated my successes!
  • had the loving support of my family, including my very own computer-science-professor-in-shining-armor husband, who read BOTH of my books, just to support me (and help me find typos). He’s that awesome of a guy.
My real-life romance hero.
My real-life romance hero.

Yes, it’s been a very good year. 

And I owe so much of that to you all.

  • Thank You Word CloudThank you to everyone who took a chance on A Man of Character (and now again on A Matter of Time!).
  • Thank you to the friends and family who’ve supported me, and the new readers who’ve picked up one of my books this year.
  • Thank you to the book bloggers and reviewers who graciously gave their time to review my books.
  • Thank you to Tessa Shapcott, my editor, for her invaluable guidance, and to Joy Lankshear, my cover designer and formatter, for making my books look better than I ever imagined they could.
  • Thank you to the fellow writers I’ve met on Facebook and Twitter, whose companionship brightens my day every day, and whose wisdom is lighting this crazy, twisting and turning path I’m on.
  • Thank you to the people who’ve liked my books enough to join my street team, Locke’s Flock, or to review them on Amazon or GoodReads, or even just to tell someone else about my books and/or me. All of those seemingly little things make a HUGE difference.

Simply put, I wouldn’t be here without you, and I wanted to express my gratitude as 2015 closes out and 2016 gets ready to begin.

What does the next year hold?