I’m going to go ahead and make a wild guess that many of my readers enjoy romance. Safe bet, do you think? Well, I do. Both think it’s a safe bet and enjoy romance! And if you want to talk romance, who better to rendezvous with than Pepper Basham, the Queen of Swoony?! Okay, so it’s an unofficial title, but I think anyone who’s read one of Pepper’s novels would know that swooning and Pepper go hand in hand.
So join Pepper and me today for a Romance Rendezvous!
~ About the Author ~
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, released in April 2016.
~ Pepper’s Books ~
~ Rendezvous ~
KATIE: Pepper, thanks for being my guest today!
PEPPER: Katie, you know it’s always an honour for me to get to spend time with you. I’m so thankful for your love of books and your amazing encouragement for those of us who try to write them. (I also love that I can write in Brit/Aussie speak in this post because I’m chatting with you)
Haha! Yes, you can! And thank you for your kind words. 😊 It’s my pleasure, I can assure you!
So, you’ve been called the Queen of Swoony by some of your readers. I want to know, what makes Pepper Basham swoon?
Ha! What a fun question for which I probably have no answer. Hmm…Tenderness makes me swoon. You know what I mean? A gentle touch to the face, finding my hand in the dark just because, dancing together in the kitchen to jazz, a deep voice near my ear, and…um…kissing.
Lol! First question in and I already need my fainting couch! *swoon* I know exactly what you mean. I actually think the longer you’ve been married the more those little tender moments mean. (I’m coming up for 16 years this year, and I know you’ve notched up even more than that—but not many, I hasten to add!) It’s so easy to get overtaken by the hustle and bustle of day to day life, so to have someone take the time in the middle of all that for a gentle touch or a hand squeeze, those little stolen moments are little reminders that we’re cherished, even amidst the chaos! But I’ll never say no to a kiss . . . or a few . . . 😘
That said, what are some of your favourite bookish swoony moments—from your own books or from other authors?
Jody Hedlund’s book A Noble Groom – the rain kissing scene.
Siri Mitchell’s Kissing Adrien…um… ADRIEN – but also his wonderful way of knowing Claire so well and showing her his affection (and she’s clueless), Laura Frantz’s Courting Morrow Little – Morrow and Red Shirt’s first kiss…okay, any of their kisses 😊 Several of Denise Hunter’s books/scenes.
As for my books? David and Catherine’s wedding night. Reese and Dee’s first kiss is so…wow! Just the whole moment leading up to that kiss makes me happy. I love Eisley and Wes, but I think one of my favourite swoony moments in JTWYA is when he asks her to be ‘friends’ and takes her hand…oh, and when Emily falls asleep on Wes. That’s super swoony.
Just a moment . . . I’m adding a few books to my TBR 😉 . . . Okay, back with you. And yes! David and Catherine (The Thorn Bearer) is SUCH a beautiful story, and for those who like their romance with a nice dose of comedy, Reese and Dee (A Twist of Faith) and Eisley and Wes (Just the Way You Are) will provide you with plenty of laughs along with the swoons. And maybe light a few fires while they’re at it! 😉
Some people look down on Christian romance novels, and I’ve even heard some people ask how Christians can justify reading them. What value is there in Christian romance novels, in your opinion?
I guess I’m preaching to the choir here, Katie, but if God uses an epic romance to display His love for His people, He must really value the whole idea of it! We are all searching for belonging – to be truly appreciated for who we are, and one of the deepest relationships we can experience is that of a love between two people…romantically. That connection is a powerful force that changes, inspires, and molds us in many ways. Heart stories speak to hearts. I hope, in a similar way that Jesus told stories to display deeper truths, we can glean from the beauty of romantic stories a deeper appreciate for the Ultimate Romance found in Christ’s unfailing love for His people.
Yes, I probably am the choir, but hopefully there will be others out there who will appreciate the message too! The Bible often uses the imagery of a bridegroom and a bride to describe Christ and the Church. If the love between a man and his wife can be so wonderful here on earth, how much more wonderful is Christ’s perfect love for us?!
Romance novels can come in lots of shapes and sizes, from romantic comedy right through to romances that deal with deeply wounded characters and heavy topics like addiction. You’ve written romances that fall on each end of the spectrum, but do you think there are some elements that are common to every good romance?
Oh yes!! In whatever time period of history, at the core of a good romance is that idea of…well, I think, belonging to someone. An idea of being ‘found’, so to speak, if that makes any sense. It can come in all different shapes and sizes, but at the heart it’s the same. One person ‘sees’ the other person in a way that changes things for them. They’re both okay on their own, but they find something in their togetherness that they can’t find on their own.
Of course, I want to say that kissing is a universal romantic theme – just because I enjoy it in stories so much, but more than that I enjoy watching two people (regardless of time period/genre) move from friendship to the sweet romance to an endearing appreciation/cherishing of each other…well, that’s a timeless beauty of its own.
*sigh* Yes! Belonging in the sense of being someone’s to cherish; of knowing that there is someone who has your interests at heart. We kind of move from desiring that through a parent/child relationship, to desiring that from a romantic relationship, don’t we?
Now, we can’t talk romance without kissing (obviously)! What do you think makes for a good literary kiss?
Clearly, I’ve already been talking kissing, Katie. 😊 (I’m sure you’re not surprised)
(Um . . . no, I’m not! Silly me for thinking I’d have to actually introduce the topic this far through the interview!)
It really depends on the story, I think. Does the situation fit the characters? Also, I think the emotions built around the moment are actually more important than the physical action of kissing (I know! GASP! I wrote that for all the world to see). (LOL from Katie!) Kisses are not the CORE of the romantic moment, but they’re kind of like the pinnacle 😊 – the reward of the emotional journey.
Yes, the icing on the cake, or the cherry on top. I think the most memorable kisses for me are not about the kiss itself, but about the emotions that lead to it and influence the way it takes place. You have to lay the groundwork!
Now, this was the point at which I was going to ask about some of your favourite literary kisses, but I think we’ve already covered those. 😉 So as much as we might like to linger, let’s move along.
There are varying opinions on how much is ‘too much’ in Christian romance novels, and personal preference plays a large part in that. Where do you draw the line, and why?
Again, each book seems to have it’s own correct answer for this – but also I do have a distinct line. I go into the bedroom with my characters but don’t stay very long. For example, for one story the beauty of this redeemed romance allowed for a wedding night scene…and since God blesses married Christian unions, the story became more beautiful by showing the first few moments of the new husband and wife finding freedom to express their love for each other in this new way. I don’t feel comfortable sharing too much of that moment in the scene, but taking a tiny glimpse into that beautiful expression of love (with clothes still on, btw) fit into the heart of that particular story.
Christian romance is beautiful, and I love celebrating that beauty through characters who are doing things God’s way. Right now, my gauge is this question: Does this scene glorify God through the natural heart to this story? If my almost 16 year old daughter reads this, will it impact her view of God or me in a negative way?
I think if we write the ‘too much’ for the sake of heat and passion – then we’re writing it for the wrong reasons. Does that make sense?
Yes! Perfect sense! And I remember the scene you’re referring to. There is something incredibly beautiful about the freedom a husband and wife have to express love so deeply, and it was a particularly sweet moment in that story, for so many reasons!
Before you go, can you give us a little hint as to what kind of a romance we can expect from your next release, Charming the Troublemaker, coming in November?
Oh. MY. WORD!!! This story is so fun!!! The romance is definitely spicy, but also sweet! Be prepared for some pretty awesome kisses, but more than that, there are several moments of tenderness that make me swoon more than the passionate kisses. #AdorkableAlex is WONDERFUL!! And definitely watch out for any closets!! 😊
Haha! You and your closets! I’ve had a few sneak peaks at this story, and I am DEFINITELY looking forward to getting my hands on it!
Are you a romance reader? Why or why not?