Why read romance? Why do I write romance?

When I was in school, my best friend, Sharon, was a voracious reader, going through about a book a day. She read…:gasp:…Harlequin romances!!! Our school had book fairs twice a year where you literally could buy a Harlequin for fifty cents. You could also get little books of Peanuts cartoons the size and shape of a mass market paperback for fifty cents, but Sharon would actually check the numbers of the romances and make sure she read every single title.

It was just annoying to me. They couldn’t be GOOD books if you could read them in a day. I mean, come on, that’s just common sense.

I, on the other hand, was much more selective in my reading. My parents belonged to a book club – Doubleday or Book of the Month or something like that – and our home was full of the clearly superior, HARD COVER books. I read through my mother’s collection of Victoria Holt books and fell absolutely in love with the Gothic. I didn’t realize at the time that these were considered…:gasp…romances!!!!!! I absolutely ADORED On the Night of the Seventh Moon and kept my old copy for years. I think I will have to read it again soon.

Anyway, I got older and moved on. I knew I wanted to write but I didn’t really know what I wanted to write about.

Then after three years in the Army and four in college, I found myself living with my parents out of work at 25 years old. My sister, three years younger, who graduated from the same college on the same day (about five seconds before I did) had moved out, getting a job in Carlisle, PA as a newspaper reporter. She left behind a book, How to Write a Romance and Get It Published, although hers was an older edition than is available now. She left it to me and I read it. Of course, it made writing romances sound easy and I knew they HAD to be because, well, they were just romances.

However, I started reading a few and getting involved with romance writers and discovered that writing romance isn’t as easy as I thought (it took me about 17 years to get published) nor are the books, especially these days, as simple or naive as they once were.

Now, I LOVE romances and I don’t really read much outside it. I do read fantasy because I love them, too, and some cozy mysteries, but my first love is the romance novel. I don’t read all the subgenres. I stay away from erotica and I tend to avoid Westerns. They just aren’t my cup of tea, but pretty much anything else I’ll try. I’ve found authors I love and those I can take or leave.

I hope someday to write a Gothic romance. We lived in Germany for two years and our street was called Weissdornweg or in English, White Thorn Way and I KNOW that could be the name of one of those big houses with a heroine running away from it through the night with the mist around her ankles. Now, if I could just find a plot to go with that picture….


Caroline, who commented on Little Bitty Lies, please contact me again. You won!

Come on, people! Join in the fun! Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Finding Home (Harlequin Next)and you have a chance to get a free copy. Stop back in then!