The Joy of Romance

I'm thrilled because August 1 marks the start of Read-A-Romance Month, a month long online celebration of romance and the romance genre created by the brilliant Bobbi Dumas. This year, I'm even more joyful because the uber awesome and indomitable Sonali Dev actually mentioned me in her RARM post. SQUEE! Thank you, darling!

So here's my contribution to RARM 2015:

I read and write romance because it brings me joy.

One of the first things I fell in love with in Texas are the long stretches of desolate roads ribboning into the horizon under a wide open sky. I'd get in my truck, turn the radio on and take off. The exhilarating rush of freedom filled me with joy. A joy that made me grin and feel invincible.

But recently, after Sandra Bland and her ill-fated Texas traffic stop, I have lost that particular joy. Now when I drive, especially along almost empty stretches, my heart hammers a frantic beat as it climbs into my throat and I keep checking for law enforcement. I'm not Black, but I'm not White either. I'm brown with a Muslim name. More importantly, I'm a woman.

Sometimes I think most of the world has declared a war against women.

I know I need to reclaim my joy, master my fears, and live. So I seek refuge in romance.

Romance knows no boundaries: people of all colors, all orientation, all religious identity, all economic strata, from different worlds and of various abilities, fall in love. That is the root of all conflict and also hope.

Experiencing two characters falling in love fills me with hope. I dream with them about a wonderful future, I swoon at that perfect dialogue and first kiss, I wonder how these two will overcome the roadblocks in their relationship and how they'll be better together, I shed tears for them and cheer them on.

No matter how tough things get, the hero and heroine may falter and stumble, but they never give up the love they feel for each other. Heroines and heroes are strong, unique and celebrated as individuals and together.

When they finally earn their Happily-Ever-After, I'm filled with hand-clapping, twirling joy.

When the world seems to be falling apart, romance shares an important message: "Love Conquers All."

I know the stories I read and write are fiction and they can only hold me for a little while. I know the glass is both half-full and empty, but I choose to celebrate the water within the glass and the love within the pages. Sometimes, you just need that bit of a respite, a reminder of what is important, to catch your breath and continue to live life with joy in your heart.

Recommendations: Here are some authors who have helped replenish me -- Sharon Shinn, Marjorie M. Liu, Patricia Briggs, Nalini Singh, Jeffe Kennedy, and Sonali Dev, L.J. Charles and Sabaa Tahir and so many more.

Q and A:

1 - Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.

Mina: Wildfire won the 2014 Prism award for best first book. The first time I held the award in my hands, surrounded by my family and friends, with chocolates (I was at the KOD Death by Chocolate party) waiting for me was when I experienced sheer, perfect joy.

2 - Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

Mina: The Llano River. A beautiful river to play in, water so clear you can see fish, rocky outcrops to climb and explore, wildflowers in bloom. This was where my DH first said "I love you" to me and where we've spent countless family reunions. It always brings me joy.

3 - Tell us about a sound that brings you joy (or a memory attached to sound — music, laughter, wind chimes… ?)

Mina: My daughter's unrestrained giggles.

4 - What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu, a paranormal romance, was life changing for me in terms of reading and writing. It’s partially set in China and the hero, Hari, is Indian and a tiger shifter. I not only loved the story (still do), but it also opened my mind to the reality that yes, you can have stories set in Asia, with Asian heroes and Asian foundations. It made me realize I could write my stories.

5 - And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~
Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) - trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Mina: Chris Pine! 

Leave a comment telling me what brings you joy (and your email or twitter handle so I can contact you if you win) and you maybe randomly picked to win a signed copy of WILDFIRE.



Author Mina Khan, originally from Bangladesh, is now a proud West Texan. She writes fiction dealing with identity, feminist issues and multicultural influences.

She’s also worked for about 20 years as a journalist, covering business, technology, politics, and government in Bangladesh and the U.S. Now she writes a weekly food column for her local paper.

To sign up for Mina’s quarterly newsletter with release updates and inside information on the stories, please check out: 

An Ode To My Cats

My mother said
I live in a House of Cats

Cats rule the roost
And I
No longer own my house.

I chose to take her words
As a compliment.

My cats make
The faux Persian carpet
That much prettier.
My cats
make my house
Into home.

(Tramp -- DH found her as a tiny, scrawny kitten on the farm. Her mother had died and she was all alone. She's our Alpha Kitty)

(I fell in love with Yoda, when I was helping a friend find homes for her cat's kittens. He's lovable rogue and I should have named him Hans Solo.)

Missing: Gypsy, a calico, who is impossible to photograph and the late, sweet Buckets, who is greatly missed.