Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Author - - Katharine Ashe

We are delighted to welcome debut historical author, Katharine Ashe as today's special guest!  Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her husband, son, two dogs, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European history, she has made her home in California, Italy, France, and the northern US. RT Book Reviews awarded her debut historical romance, SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS, a “TOP PICK!” review, calling it “a page-turner and a keeper.” Please visit her at www.katharineashe.com

Falling In Love

I fall in love easily, frequently, and oftentimes hard.

Before I continue, allow me a qualification: I define Love broadly. As a graduate student I was trained to mistrust multiple uses of the same word for different purposes. When applied to love, my friends, this is sheer hooey. Love is grand, wide, all encompassing, and generous. It cannot be confined to an individual act of passion, one type of emotion, or even a single ecstatic spiritual experience. Love is lots of things.

Now, back to falling in love.

I have a quick, eager eye for an attractive, strapping chap. This is not love. This is The Biological Imperative. Or perhaps something else. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that about twenty-five years ago I believed this was love.

I’m not talking about those guys I passed at the ice rink or movie theater any random Friday night. No, this applied to the boy whose locker number I memorized and to whom I never spoke except through my older sister’s boyfriend. It also applied to the boy that sat behind me in math class—first algebra, then geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus—to whom I did speak quite frequently but who always dated other girls. It applied to the gorgeous exchange student I ran track with, and the boy with the perfect manners and a thick Georgian accent who moved to town just in time to ask me, the only girl in my class of 300 without a date yet, to our winter dance. And it applied to the basketball star to whom I sent a Homecoming boutonniere of red carnations, not anonymously, because I wanted him to know I adored him even though we’d never met, and he thought it was a joke from his friends.

Why did I think these were love? Because my adolescent heart felt, and it felt fully. It pounded when I anticipated seeing him. It fluttered when he turned the corner. It seized up when he met my gaze. And it ceased functioning when he spoke to me.

I am an addict. I barely drink, rarely gamble, don’t smoke, haven’t touched drugs, and don’t even own an iPhone. All of these temptations pale in comparison to my addiction. I am addicted to the feeling of falling in love. To the emotions of letting my heart go, the achy longing, the sizzling anticipatory high, the nervous energy, the deep, delicious yearning.

Just as in high school, I still fall in love a lot. Not with actual men (except my husband). I fall in love with romance heroes. Give me a great adventure, an ROTFL comedy, a sweet hometown story—any novel with a handsome, smart hero with a heart of gold and the willingness to laugh at himself, and I’m hooked.

But I do not limit this to fictional heroes.

I fall in love with puppies. And dolphins. Actually with just about any sea life. Also, horses. Sometimes caterpillars, and always butterflies. Yesterday I gave my heart to the elephant on YouTube painting a picture of an elephant holding a flower. For this too, I believe, is love. When I encounter these, my heart tightens, my eyes water, and my soul stirs.

I also fall in love with oceanscapes, crowded city streets, spectacular architecture, graceful willow trees, stately oaks, elegant pines, beautiful writing, and tall ships. I fall in love with my seven-year-old son every time he cracks a joke, speaks thoughtfully upon a matter that concerns him, or pretty much breathes.

I am a sucker for falling in love. It fills me up, and I love to be filled up.

In my debut historical romance, SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS, the hero and heroine struggle not to fall in love. She is a reformed society jade. He is (pretending to be) a French priest (he’s actually an English viscount, keeping the secret for good reasons). But they know their struggle to stay apart is futile because more than anything, they both want to fall in love. They long for it, they seek it, and they will not rest content until they have fallen, fast and hard. Simply, they need each other.

I think this is the root of the joy of falling in love. The seeking makes it worth everything, the hoping to find, to meet the need, whether that need is a life partner or a brief dalliance, a sunset or a roller coaster ride.

What about you? Have you ever fallen in love with someone or something? What does it feel like? 

Tell us your falling in love stories.  One lucky commenter, randomly selected, will win a signed copy of Katharine's terrific debut book, Swept Away By a Kiss!


  1. Congrats on your debut release, Katharine. For me there was a feeling of being at peace and the confidence that everything is all right and will work out.

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  3. What a great blog--and one to which I can totally relate. I fall in love every day too, and some of my longest love affairs are with the creations of particular authors. I read my first Emily Dickinson poem, my first Jane Austen book, and my first popular romance novel the summer I turned ten. I've been falling in love with Dickinson's poetry, Austen's prose, and the heroes of popular romance fiction ever since.

    Swept Away by a Kiss is my book of the day. I began reading it yesterday, and I'm loving it.

  4. Thank you, ladies, for inviting me to visit the blog today. I'm so very glad to be here.

    Simply lovely, Jane. That's true love, for sure. :)

    Kirsten, sigh! What a beautiful portrait of falling in love you paint--dreaming inspired by a worthy hero. Mr. Darcy is so imperfectly perfect, he's irresistible. And Reading, well, no finer love can a woman have.

    Wow, Janga, that summer must have been wonderful indeed, a whole new world opened up for you. (I wonder who inspired you to it???) I'm so glad you're enjoying Swept Away by a Kiss--thank you!

  5. Good morning, Katharine! Welcome to the Dish. :-) Congrats on your debut. I'm so looking forward to reading Swept Away By A Kiss. I'm sorry our paths never crossed at RWA. Hopefully we will meet next year.

    I love falling in love! That heady feeling of "falling" is like nothing else. Yes, those boys from my adolescence, my husband (who makes me fall in love with him frequently), my children, my dogs... the list goes on. Of course, books must go on the list. I often fall in love with a story, and more often fall in love with the characters, especially a sexy hero. ;-)

  6. Gannon, I couldn't agree more! I think this is why women read romances - to relive the sensations of falling in love every time they open a book. I know that's why I do!

    I love the whole idea of capturing that first glimpse of him, the nervousness when he returns it, the anxiety of wondering if he'll try to make contact - the anxiety of wondering if he'll call back for a second date. And then the inevitable tumble - be it hard and fast or slow and steady - into that wonderful realm of bliss we call love. Ahh...nothing quite like it.

    I have felt that way about a boyfriend or two, my now ex-husband, my daughters, our cats, and too many books to count! There is nothing quite like the experience of falling in love, no matter what - or who - is the recipient!


  7. Falling in love is like having the sun break through the clouds on a cold rainy day.

  8. Good Morning! Katharine, what a beautiful blog. I love falling in love and, like you, I do it quite often.

    When my 4-year-old grandniece spontaneously hugs me and says, "I love you", my heart fills with so much love I think it will burst.
    When a sweet puppy snuggles in my arms, I dissolve into a gooey puddle of love. When my rescued dog gives me the look that says, "As long as you're here all is right with my world", my heart and eyes both overflow with love. And, of course, I'm shameless when it comes to falling in love with the heroes in the wonderful books I read.

  9. Its cold here. In August? The sky is a gloomy grey and at any moment it is going to rain.
    How depressing … I was rather bummed out , and then I read this:
    “I define Love broadly… It cannot be confined to an individual act of passion, one type of emotion, or even a single ecstatic spiritual experience. Love is lots of things.”
    Then I read the rest of the blog.
    Okay. I guess that I can find something to love about a rainy day. Perhaps curl up in a comfortable chair with a good book …
    I have to tell you Ms Ashe, reading your blog was like having the sun break through the clouds on a cold rainy day. It made me feel better. It made me feel …
    Gosh-sun-clouds-breakthrough? Could it be that I am in love with your writing? I don’t know. But I am very Intrigued by it. And I suspect that I am not the only one. Congratulations upon the release of your debut novel, Katharine.. I look forward to reading it!

  10. Hi Katharine, and big congrats on the debut of your release!

    I really enjoyed your blog. One of the first times I remember falling in love was when I watched Casablanca for the first time when I was in high school. How can you beat a foreign, exotic locale, Bogart and Bergman, WW II, romance mystery and intrigue, and most of all, "As Time Goes By?" My heart broke for Rick and Ilsa when she got on the plane, but as they say, they'd always have Paris. And the last scene when Rick and Louis are walking off and hearing Rick say "Louis, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship." never fails to bring a smile to my face.

    In fact, my love of this movie is so strong that when I was at a videa rental store years ago, and I saw a group of girls walk in and overheard one of them saying they'd never watched Casablanca before, I immediately directed them to the Classics section so the situation could be rectified immediately!

  11. Falling in love is the feeling that anything bad can be overcome.

    That's how I feel at the end of agreat romance novel =)

  12. Gorgeous, JulieJustJulie! Thank you for that image!

  13. JulieJustJulie, I just read your second comment. Thank you so very much. I hope your rainy day brings you great happiness. :)))

  14. Thank you so much for your lovely welcome, Gannon and PJ! A sexy hero can steal my heart so easily. And like you, PJ and Margay, the sweet warm furry ones we share our homes with fill my heart with make me rejoice to be alive some days. :)

  15. Marvelous, Lisa! I've done that for Moonstruck and a few other movies I adore, as well as books. It's deeply satisfying to share these loves--even makes me giddy!

    Oh, Scorpio, me too!!

  16. Speaking of getting giddy … any plans for that “ heretic priestess and the inquisitor-knight to whom she burns to surrender“ story?

    My verification word: Herateme.

    Sounds like the name of a Ptolemaic Princess!

  17. HI Katharine!!

    I think I had a new crush every year when I was growing up! LOL I was definitely a text book fickle female. And of course the guys never liked me back. Talk about teen angst. ;)

    Maybe that's why I fell in love w/ romance novels and the guaranteed "Happily Ever After". My hubs is of the opinion that all the yrs I've spent devouring books warped my logic on men. LOL Yes, it's all fictional heroes' fault real men don't measure up in a woman's eyes.

    I love to fall in love w/ a new hero every chance I get! (Especially since I don't have to wash their undies or clean up the bathroom after them!) *wink wink*

    Fun post, Katharine! Thanks for the smile. :)

  18. Congrats Katharine! I am definitely saving this for my TBB list!

    I know I have fallen in love when I want to see something or someone again. It could be a friend, relative, animal, or even a chocolate or product or place!

    Sometimes I will buy too much of something because of this! Haha. With people, hopefully I am friendly and not too clingy. =)

  19. Congrats on your review Katharine!

    In my life i have to refer to Jane Austen "A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.". This quote is the story of my life i believe. ^^ For me it's the feeling of excitement. Love is to think of losing a person and immediately feel like crying. My test to see if i'm imagining the feeling or if it's real and to imagine the person/animal gone. If i'm teary i do love the person/animal. If not it's just infatuation that won't last.


  20. Congratulations on your debut novel. No falling in love stories, just the love of reading. It gives you glimpses of new people, new places and different eras.

  21. JulieJustJulie, someday, I hope! I am simply dying to write that book. Ptolemaic princess-LOL!

    Sarah, marvelous! At one time in high school (my most fickle phase), I had a list of six to ten boys at any time that I wrote in the order of which boy I adored the most on any particular day. For instance, if I saw G in the hall and he smiled at me, he became #1 that day, but C superceded him if he sat next to me at the soccer game. You get the picture. I kept it all very neatly organized in my diary! And yes, I do believe that reading and writing romance allows me to still do that while married to one lovely man. ;)

  22. Oh, Jessica, isn't that the case? The desire to be with the beloved--whoever or whatever it is--can be so strong, so moving. Sigh!

    Melissa, I love to hear from other weepers--I mean people who weep from deep feeling whatever it is. And separating from a loved one must be the hardest a person can endure.

    Penfield, today, driving around my old home town with my mother, I took a picture of the library in which I first learned about the world. Those musty basement stacks and hidden moldy corers will linger in my memory when everything else has faded away, I suspect, because before I had visited the world, I'd seen it there.

  23. Welcome Katharine!!! I'm so happy that you are with us today!! I know I'm a little late to the party but it was "A DAY" at work today and the kids have soccer shortly.

    I fall in love easily, frequently, and oftentimes hard.

    This is me. Really it is. I'm forever falling in love with someone on tv or the radio or in the latest book I'm reading.

    I am an addict. I barely drink, rarely gamble, don’t smoke, haven’t touched drugs, and don’t even own an iPhone.

    Yep, that's me again.

    I fall in love with my seven-year-old son every time he cracks a joke, speaks thoughtfully upon a matter that concerns him, or pretty much breathes.

    Oh yes, this is me too! Mine are 8 and 12 and my heart expands with every hug, kiss, look, touch.

    Wow, who knew we were so much alike!!!! I can't wait to get my copy of SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS. And you know, that title pretty much describes the hubby and I's first meeting. But that story is for another day!! :-)

  24. Buffie, I love it!! And thank you for your lovely welcome to Romance Dish. It's been such a fun day!

  25. Katharine, thank you so much for being with us today. I love all these comments!

  26. Congratulations on your debut, Katharine! I picked up a copy at my local B&N during my many errands today. Can't wait to read it! :)

    Oh, how I love this blog. I, too, fall in love every day, whether it's with the hero of the book I'm reading or my real life hero and kids. Sigh. Thanks for reminding me of how important it is!

  27. Congratulations on your release.
    I fell in love with my husband at age 13, ran away and married him at age 15. We've now been married 41 years and have four children.

  28. Andrea, thank you! I'm so glad. :)

    Andrea I, what a fabulous love story. Congratulations!!

  29. Falling in love is easy but people don't let themselves to do so many times, I think. I once saw a guy help a woman pick up stuff that has fallen out of her purse. He was kind of cute and she was fairly pretty. He tried to catch her eye (which was more than reasonable as he was helping her), but even though she thanked him, she refused to look at him. Now, I know that perhaps she was distracted or feeling kind of foolish for dropping her stuff, but I was sort of hoping that she would look at him fully when she thanked him. There could have been a connection, if only for a moment. Oh well. Her loss, I'm sure.

    As for me, I fall in love with my neighbor's dog every time I see her (she's always happy to see me because I used to give her treats). It makes my heart sing to see her happiness. I also fall in love with my young niece and nephew although not as deeply as when then were really young (they're 9 and 6, now, so they're small persons instead of cute toddlers).


  30. My first real love was with my now husband. I had known him since grade school and throughout H.S. and did not like him much. Met up with later with a group of mutal friends and fell for him. It might of been the first time he took me for a drive in his Trans Am. LOL! I know its kinda corny but its my love story! Thanks for sharing with us today!