Journalist Tamara Lush's Latest Book Brings Steamy Romance To The Newspaper Industry

Jul 16, 2019

Who says there's no romance left in the newspaper industry? 

"Constant Craving" follows the story of Justine Lavoie, a journalist and publisher of the St. Augustine newspaper, in her quest to save her publication from financial doom. The making-or-breaking of her family's legacy ends up in the hands of Rafael Menendez de Aviles, Miami’s richest man, who could ruin or help her. 

There's an agreement and the terms seem simple: For one month, Rafael -- who is also presented as "Justine's first and only love" -- gets to do anything he desires with her. And in return, Justine's business might live to see another day. 

Justine and Rafael's story is a combination of second chance romance and smoking-hot chemistry. "I always like to say that in my novels my heroines get three things: They get their dream job, they get a man who gives them lots of orgasms and they get a puppy," said Tamara Lush, author of this month’s Sundial Book Club title. 

Lush weaves both steamy-sexy scenes and the future of a dying city newspaper into an engaging romance story. She joined Sundial and talked with host Luis Hernandez about her book, self-publishing and writing during the MeToo movement. 

This interview has been edited lightly for clarity. 

WLRN: Are romance novels fantasy?  Is it the fantasy that women want?

LUSH: I think for some women it is. I also think for some women it's about falling in love over and over again and that feeling of falling in love because that's a really wonderful feeling. But there's also something else about romance novels that I think many women are attracted to and that's that the woman always gets what she wants in a romance novel, whatever her obstacle is.

Usually in a good romance novel, the woman has an obstacle other than needing to find a man. Justine has an obstacle. She wants to save her newspaper. In a romance novel the woman gets what she wants and for many women maybe that's not that common. I always like to say that in my novels my heroines get three things: They get their dream job, they get a man who gives them lots of orgasms and they get a puppy.

I always like to say that in my novels my heroines get three things: They get their dream job, they get a man who gives them lots of orgasms and they get a puppy. - Tamara Lush

You're a reporter and you're part of the long lineage of reporters who became authors. Why did you want to write fiction?

I've always loved romance ,ever since I was a teen. I read steamy books. I cut my teeth on Jackie Collins and Sidney Sheldon and Jacqueline Susann -- all those big book of the 80s what they used to call 'bunk buster novels.' I loved those glitz and glamour sexy novels of the 80s. Then I became a reporter and really focused on nonfiction for my entire life, but I always read romance so I wanted to write a romance. I just sort of never dared to. I have to say that the rise of e-readers and the rise of indie publishing -- all of that gave me the courage to do it.

I'd imagine there's a lot of different types of romance novels.

For romance novels there's one criteria: to end the story in a mutually satisfying, happy and satisfactory way for the couple. 'The Notebook' by Nicholas Sparks isn't a romance. If somebody dies at the end it isn't a romance. So romance is a very specific thing. You can have all sorts of permutations but as long as everybody ends up happy at the end that's a romance is it...The whole point of a romance isn't the ending. It's the journey.

Let's talk about this book 'Constant Craving' and this journey. Where did the idea for the book come from?

This story actually is an allegory for the newspaper industry. It's really about somebody who loves the business of journalism and newspapers and who finds that she has to do certain things that she wants and maybe doesn't want to do to save her newspaper. It came from really my experiences in journalism over the last 20 plus years and seeing what happens to newspapers around the country.

Want to join read along? Join the Sundial Book Club.