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Valentine's Special Look.

Byline: JT ..HDLN: Romantic? June wrote the book

WE all need a little bit of love and for many of us it's found on the adjective-filled pages of the romantic novel.

It's the chance to escape from the humdrum and hectic lifestyles in the real world, says Liverpool author June Francis.

"We all need a little love in our lives, a little romance," adds June. "It's what makes the world go round, in my opinion.

"And not only can you escape from the stresses of the modern world into one of romance, you can also learn from reading romance about relationships, how to cope with aspects of them and, maybe, even act out some of the scenes found in the books themselves!"

June speaks from absolute experience.

She is the author of 21 novels, many romantic fiction, and June is also a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

It aims to promote and encourage the various types of romantic fiction, from the tender to the more modern ("or sexy") romantic novel to the historical book.

It also nurtures new writers, with its major award, the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, the shortlist of which is announced today, open to all authors who have just published their first romantic fiction.

"It's strange because people often snigger at romantic writers," says June, 65, from Litherland. "I think they think it's easy to write, but it's not. But most romantic writers would rather be writing about romance than crime. It's about love whether that's between two people orfamilies or friends; but they can still be gritty too or soaked in mystery and adventure."

But June, who also writes Liverpool-based sagas and who has two new books out later this year, doesn't have to look at the pages of her novels or her computer screen for love in her life.

She has been married for 42 years and says husband, John, is far more romantic than she is.

"We still hold hands, we're still very close and like to spend time together. John is not a flowers and chocolates person and yet, when I had been working really hard on a book recently, he boughtmeabouguet of red roses and on his Christmas card-although it turned out to be a birthday card!-it had the words 'darling wife, I would be completely lost without you. I'm glad I start and end each year with you'which is why he had bought it. "We'll spend tonight with a special meal at iome." Let no-one dare say 'romance is dead'.

The earliest English romantic novels appeared in the 19th century. Pride And Prejudice (1813), by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights (1847), by Emily Bronte, and Jane Eyre (1847), by Charlotte Bronte are regarded as classics.

Romantic novels are most popular in the USA where they generated EUR1.63billion in 2002.

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TRUE ROMANCE: June Francis with husband John
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 14, 2007
Words:481
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