Gateway to Romance: Lea Darragh

by Lea Darragh

It wasn’t always books that lured me into the delicious world of romance, or writing for that matter. Stories of lovers are sometimes enticed from watching people. Listening to and absorbing the inner workings of the mind, the language of the heart that isn’t always decipherable to those who don’t pay attention.

And sometimes it’s music. A song playing over the speaker system as you drive to and from a life you begrudge because you’d rather be spilling your every romantic thought onto a page. A line written in beautiful scripture that even though it was barely five words long, still transported you to a story that completely overtook you.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams…And all I loved, I loved alone…All my soul within me burning…But we loved with a love that was more than love – I and my Annabel Lee…

Poe is gorgeously bewildering, and incredibly inspiring to say the least. As simple a kiss, I was addicted.


That’s not to say that I never felt so compelled to tell a story based solely on a book I couldn’t put down, or a hero I was easily intrigued by. That absolutely happened. Many times. Most notable was, or is, my obsession with one book in particular. The Bronze HorsemanPaullina Simons.

bronze horseman pb

I’m convinced I sound like a broken record when I say this, but that’s how this book left me; completely wrung out, emotionally and mentally. Broken. And I loved every second of Tatiana and Alexander’s story, but more than that, I was in awe of the way words strategically arranged on a page can draw out every single emotion a person can feel. How wonderfully creative.

I wanted to do that, to provoke thoughts we may not have otherwise entertained, or challenge views and morals we think are unbreakable, so ingrained in us that we’ll never be swayed. I wanted to push boundaries that The Bronze Horseman so easily pushed with me. It’s the number one book I would recommend for its deep and intense romantic themes, as well as being written in a way that has the reader believing, because, though it’s fictionalised, it’s based on true moments in history. It could be real. And that’s what we want when we read, isn’t it? To believe any one of us could have played these roles.

From a writer’s perspective, a gateway into romance, or any other genre, won’t always come from a book, or even from any of the reasons I’ve shared. It’s a subjective compulsion. A deep-seated need to get out what is trapped within us. Maybe it’s a cathartic experience, which it most often is with me. Whichever way the fiercely defiant monster is awakened, go with it on its journeys. It’ll take you places you never thought were possible. And from a reader’s perspective, if a friend offers a book and tells you your life will never be the same after having read it, believe them. Despite the fact that if I had picked up the book and looked over the cover, turning it in my palm to scan the blurb, finding it as bland as I first did, essentially judging it by its cover, I would never have then segued into the romance world. It changed my life. I hope it changes yours.

Happy reading : ))

Lea Darragh’s latest book explores the healing power of forgiveness and love in unexpected places.

It’s Valentine’s Day Again…

and we know what that means – you’re all desperately seeking fabulously romantic books to read. Without further ado, may we present:

Books seeking readersCountry story seeks romance reader wanting to be whisked to remote rural town in Snowy Mountains. Must like tall vets with genuine shy smiles. Sympathetic nature regarding runaway city girls searching for a fresh start vital. (Interest in cute pigs of use but not essential.)

Express interest here.

Super fit and active book, seeks plenty of hot times with an open-minded reader. Sharing a love for the beach, mountains, delicious food and fruit salad would be beneficial but not essential.

Express interest here

Fun, wacky, chaotic book seeks fun, wacky, chaotic reader who likes fun, wacky stuff, and chaos. And strippers. Male strippers. Or one, at least. Must also like to ride on emotional rollercoasters and go from laughter to tears, and not be afraid of ghosts. Bonus points if you can dance and sing a pitch perfect rendition of All The Single Ladies.

Express interest here.

This grown-up tale is ready for romantic comedy readers who like quick-witted heroines and smart-assed heroes who grew up watching Star Trek. A flair for following quips that speed along like a Formula 1 race is an advantage. Must face the fear of claustrophobia and deal with reappearing horrid ex-husbands. Prospective readers may laugh at funky wedding cakes, quibbling bridesmaids, and a bride who sounds like Foghorn Leghorn. Knowledge that love doesn’t end after forty is crucial. Drooling while reading ice cream scene is obligatory and reader may want to be supplied with napkins.

Express interest here.

Superhero fantasy with a touch of farce seeks reader with offbeat sense of humour and appreciation of the simple pleasures in life – pizza, beer, and repeats of Buffy. Must not take oneself or others too seriously, and be open to wild rides through the crime-fighting universe. Ideal date: breaking into an “unbreachable” containment facility for kicks before taking on a frenzied band of circus performers threatening to destroy the city.

Express interest here.

This sexy romance is looking for a partner to trip the light fantastic and shake their groove thang.  This fish out of water tale feels most at home amid the sequinned backdrop of competition ballroom dancing.  Readers who like the sex appeal of Latin dance and the idea of an unlikely hero won’t put a foot out of place with this ensemble story.

Express interest here.

Exotic romance seeks reader with a taste for adventure and a sense of justice to ride the sand dunes of Africa together. Must have heart and believe in true love.

Express interest here.

Angsty, yet adorably cheesy romance, searching for a patient, dedicated reader. A love of the wine country is a must, and of course, a partiality to divine food, great music, and a charming winemaker who’s ripe for the picking. Show me your unwavering resolve and trust and I’ll give you everything you’ve been searching for.

Express interest here.