When did you first fall in love with romantic fiction?
Can you remember your first love?
Image from Cascade Publishing.
Wait for Marcy by Rosamond Du Jardin. To Marcy's older brother's friend Steve, she has always just been "Squirt." But now she is fifteen and all grown up with a new white formal hanging in the closet, just waiting to be worn! Will Steve be able to look past the Marcy he's always known and see how she has changed?
I was fourteen when I fell in love with romance. I asked for a typewriter for my birthday and wrote my first book. I'm still working on revisions.
A Rose In Winter by Kathleen E Woodiwiss sucked me into the romance genre. OMG, nothing topped 450+ pages of Erienne Fleming and Christopher Seton fighting attraction and propriety in the northern climes of Yorkshire. I fell in love with Christopher and held him up as the epitome of dashing hero for years.
But, A Kiss of Adventure by Catherine Palmer showed me what romance - real romance - was all about. She did a spectacular job of writing a wonderful romance willed with adventure, mystery and faith. Not too much of any one thing... a perfect book that drew me in and convinced me I wanted to write the complete package found in Inspirational romance.
Oh, here’s a surprise—Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell! The moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, kicking off my “romance-writing career” at the age of twelve with a 150-page single-spaced manuscript that blossomed into my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure.
The first romances I "fell in love with" were all classic historicals -- a trio that I read in junior high school: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
What did they have in common? Strong--yet flawed--heroes and heroines who overcame great obstacles to find love. And although Scarlett's story wasn't a happily ever after ending, I think we all felt we knew her well enough to be assured when we closed the book that Rhett wasn't off the hook yet!
I had never read romance until I discovered, read and fell in love with LaVyrle Spencer's historical romances. Her unforgettable characters leapt off the page and into my heart where they played with my emotions, making me laugh and cry and sigh. LaVyrle Spencer's books are keepers.
Way back when—think Dark Ages—I tried to read a romance but didn’t get farther than a few chapters before I tossed it aside and returned to the straight suspense stories, often devoid of a love interest, that I devoured in those days. A number of years later when I was a busy mom with little ones, a friend gave me a dog-eared copy of a book she adored—Shanna, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. The saga swept me away to another time and place and gave me a new appreciation for romantic fiction. I went on to read all of Woodiwiss’ books and, years later, joined the Georgia Chapter of Romance Writers of America, where I learned the craft of writing. Inspirational romance and inspirational romantic suspense are my favorite genres these days, and my favorite authors are Seekers, of course, but I’ll never forget my first love was Shanna.
I read Harlequin books all through college, but it wasn't until I read A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux that I got back into reading as an adult. That one book led to my addiction to romance novels. Which led to trying to write one. So thank you, Jude Devereaux, for sending me along a path that led to writing and to my new career!
Mary Higgins Clark--The Cradle Will Fall. Not for the romance, though there is often romance in a Higgins Clark novel, but because I went on a spree of reading everything she'd ever written about that time. I remember looking at that book, closing the cover and just staring at it and wondering how she did it. Trying to figure it out. How did she make words on a page a roller coaster ride. Then I read it again, and read everything and I'd try and dissect it. Hard to do with a roller coaster ride. But I was thinking analytically, how did she make this book happen.
I consider Walter Farley and Clive Cussler to be the other influences, authors who wrote in a way that was so transporting that I was left wondering how it was done. It's one of the reasons that I think the best way to study writing is to read great books. Figure out how an author made them work.
And I made my books a romance just cuz that's what I love. Black stallions, underwater adventure(Cussler) and murder (Higgins Clark) not-withstanding.
The first romance that I can remember reading was Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. As a tired mom of two small children, I didn't usually feel all that attractive or romantic, so I relished the escape from the mundane. Sometimes I overindulged, but the world of a romance novel held so much more allure than my everyday life.
I could read all day long. Not advisable with two kids under 3.
I was but a young gypsy when I fell in love with Michael Taggart in Jude Deveraux's Sweet Liar. He ruined me for any other man!
Practically Perfect and Star Spangled Summer by Janet Lambert. She wrote great teen romances about a military family. I was hooked instantly and never got unhooked.
"Janet Lambert wrote 54 popular girls fiction books between the 1940s and 1960s. Her books continue to be enjoyed by her readers around the world."
-Ruth Logan Herne
Popularity of Romance Fiction from RWA Romance Literature Statistics
(source: Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2010)
- Romance fiction generated $1.36 billion in sales in 2009.
- 9,089 new romance titles were released in 2009.
- In 2009, romance was the second top-performing category on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists, beat only by the movie tie-in category.
- Romance fiction sales are estimated at $1.358 billion for 2010.
- 74.8 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008. (source: RWA Reader Survey)
Readers and Writers: Share your first love with Seekerville for a chance to win a special Valentine's Day gift of Seeker book/s from the Seekerville Rocks Romance poster above. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.
Happy Valentine's Day from Seekerville!