Happy Valentine’s Day from Greatthoughts.com and Simon and Schuster. Welcome back to our We Love Reading Week with daily book giveaways.
As the highlight of our We Love Reading Week, it is an honor to welcome Santa Montefiore with a guest post on love. Montefiore is the bestselling author of 11 books. Her most recent, The Woman From Paris, came out last week.
Here is Santa with a post that is aptly titled Love:
Love by Santa Montefiore
I am sitting in my office listening to Neil Diamond’s beautiful soundtrack to the movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I’ve just started my new novel, and I have chosen this music to write to. It is uplifting, moving and deeply inspiring. I shall play it continuously for the next six months, so that every time I hear it I am transported into my novel, to my imaginary island off Cape Cod in the seventies, and to the English countryside during the Second World War. It shall carry me through my adventures and help me to write to the very best of my ability.
I always choose my music carefully. I’m drawn to composers like Ennio Morricone, John Barry and Howard Shore – creators of the greatest movie soundtracks that make us weep in our seats! I need to be transported when I write. I want to forget where I am and live the emotions of my characters. I want my readers to live them, too.
So, what is it about beautiful music that moves us? The answer is simple: love. It’s the same when faced with a golden sunset, a bluebell wood, the soft feathery flakes of snow illuminated in the light of a streetlamp. Our hearts are filled with love and we’re uplifted. We breathe it in, soak it up and let the feeling transport us. Beauty brings out our better selves. It soothes pain and touches us deep within our souls. It’s that glorious sense of love that renders material things futile; after all, nothing material lasts. Love lasts. It’s why we’re here and the only thing we’ll take with us when we die. I firmly believe that. We’re here to learn about love.
Love, in its purity, makes us better people. I sobbed in the movies Les Miserables, Out of Africa and The Notebook because of love. I howled at the end of the novels: Bridges of Madison County, Memoires of a Geisha and Sashenka, for nothing else but love. Lost love, enduring love and love found. Whenever we’re moved to tears in our lives, whether by stirring music, literature, loss of a loved-one or the sight of our child in the school Nativity play, it’s because of love. Without love we wouldn’t feel anything at all, just an aching sense of loneliness and longing. Love drives us deeper and makes us more compassionate, more caring, less selfish and happy.
Of course, love, like everything, has its opposite half. Love, when ego-driven, can be possessive and cruel. In the twisted belief that we are acting out of love we can even kill for it. But that’s not love. That’s Ego. I need, I want, I have to have – and if I can’t have it I’ll destroy it so no one else can have it. That’s what makes love so fascinating to write about. We’re flawed, but we’re all here to learn, to grow and to become better people, through love.
So, the major theme of all my novels is love. Not just romantic love, but love in the broadest sense. In the purest sense. And as I listen to Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, my heart expands and I am uplifted and touched and reminded of the only thing that really matters.
The Woman From Paris by Santa Montefiore
Ok, so now you are all huge Montefiore fans like I am! Rather than my describing Montefiore’s new book, The Woman From Paris, I thought you should hear it from her.
I love this quote about The Woman From Paris: “Santa Montefiore really knows these people inside and out. I couldn’t put this book down.” – Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey
Each day this week, we will giveaway 5 books. Simply leave a comment here to enter to win. For additional entries, follow us on Twitter, @gr8thoughts, on Pinterest, greatthoughts and enter your email address to the right to get our posts via email. Also, make sure you are watching the action on our Facebook page as we have lots of fun there. Feel free to leave comments every day. Our giveaway contests will close at midnight on Friday, February 15, 2013.
What are you reading and where are you going?