It’s the fall of 1990. Denim shirts paired with spandex tights were all the rage. New Kids on the Block were in every pre-teen’s ears. How high you could tease your bangs and the color of your scrunchies determined how popular you might be with your peers. It’s late October and I’ve just turned twelve years old. I find myself irresistibly drawn to my mother’s bookshelf. Eyes wide as saucers, fingers running softly along their worn spines, the pull is far too strong, and I take them off the self.
They’re all so lovely.
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
And then it catches my eye like a faint glimmer in the autumn sunlight pouring through the window.
Ashes on the Wind by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
It’s just beautiful. Cream colored and worn along its edges as though someone had read or carried it around too often. A stunning array of pastels and the title inked in a dusky rose. The gorgeous fiery redhead held half-heartedly by the much older man with his hair greying ever so slightly at his temples. I eagerly turned the book over, but there was nothing on the back but the title. There had never been a time before this that I wanted to know what went on between the pages of a book so badly before.
Pushing myself up, nearly tripping over my feet, I breathlessly run into the kitchen with the book pressed tightly to my thundering chest and ask, no, beg my mother to allow me to the read the book. My knuckles were white from holding it too tightly. My mother smiled at me.
“You found my books,” she said, taking the novel from my hands and turning it over in her own.
“Can I read it, mom?” I could feel my heart hammering in nose, my throat tight with anticipation.
She stared at me for a moment. Looking back, I can’t even imagine what was going through her head having her twelve-year-old daughter asking to read something–well–for lack of a better explanation, for an adult’s eyes only. It was coming only months after getting my first period. She must have been dying inside, but she handed the book right back to me and told me to enjoy it.
“It’s a beautiful love story,” she said before turning back to make dinner.
I ran back to my room, threw myself down on the bed and began to devour this book! It took four days, but I read it all–sweat through parts–cried through some–had to ask my mother about a lot, which she very diplomatically answered–but I read it. Alaina and Cole’s love story was a revelation to me. It opened me up to a world of words and passion that I never even thought existed before.
There was a voracious hunger in me after that that I couldn’t explain, and I needed MORE. I bought every book I could get my hands on with my allowance.
Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
The Falcon and the Flower by Virginia Henley
The Conqueror by Brenda Joyce
Any and every Harlequin I could get my hands on. New, used or so old they were falling apart.
I needed to read them all and by the time I was fifteen, I was secretly writing my own at my clunky Hewlett Packard. Romance Novel’s weren’t just something I enjoyed in my pastime–they were my life, and I wanted to be just like those authors I loved to read so much.
As I got older, I found myself more drawn to a certain type of novel. If you can take a guess at what it is, I’ll give you a shiny gold star!
If you thought Paranormal Romance, you’d be one thousand percent right! I started by reading a lot of Anne Rice. I shared my love for Vampires closely with my mother and we often read the books together, each reading a chapter aloud to one another until the book was over. Then we’d see the movie if there was one.
Eventually, I got my hands on an anthology. I can’t even remember the name of it, but it had love stories with ghosts, vampires, time travel–you name the paranormal phenomena and this book had a story about it. After that, all was lost. If it went bump in the night with a little bump ‘n grind thrown in, I was all over it!
I fell in love with The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison and The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. Monsters you couldn’t help but love. These authors were amazing and my idols. So much of them inspired me to write what I’m writing now.
That was how it all began for me, my undying love for Romance Novels. I suppose I should thank my mother who never said no and always allowed me to grow at my own pace. If she had said no to me that day, I probably would have hidden the love I had for these books. Instead, she urged me to write. She encouraged me to pour my heart out on paper and to never be afraid of what the world would think of me.
BEST. MOM. EVER.
I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse into how it all began for me. It was a bit of a trip going back in time with you to that day. Thanks for sharing it with me.
it all began. . .