This is my first ever post on the lovely Casablanca Blog. For the last few weeks I’ve been agonizing over what to write about. Should I do an “about me” post… or one about my book? I tried, but it came out just…blah.
But then I was invited by the AWESOME Shana Galen to do a post on the “Sisterhood of The Jaunty Quills” blog. I told the tale of how my guilty pleasure (romance novels) became my livelihood. You can read it here. It was a really fun post and inspired this one.
Over the years I’ve realized that my story of keeping my love of romance novels secret is not an uncommon one. In fact, it seems that most of us started out that way.
I can’t remember exactly how I came upon my first romance novel. Likely it was at the library in the 10 cent book bin. I do remember that I was thirteen and I’m pretty sure it was a medieval romance. Either way, I was HOOKED. I’d ride my bike to the library almost every day to get more. At home, I’d keep them under my bed, and at school, I’d tuck them in the bottom of my backpack and read them inside of either my textbook or a Michael Crichton hardback.
I’m sure my mom knew my secret pretty quickly, but she mercifully remained silent… except for the time she caught me reading her copies of Anne Rice’s erotica trilogy. That was hilariously awkward.
It was inevitable that someone at school would catch me with my secret stash of romance novels… indeed, it happened several times. But the scenario was not what I expected:
Some girl (usually the one seated beside or behind me) would give my backpack a pointed look. I’d glance down to see the corner of a damnably pink or fuchsia book cover sticking out.
Before I could stutter a lame excuse, (“I was framed!” Or “How did that get in there?”) she would whisper, “Have you read “so-and so?” Then we’d get into a conversation about the books we’d read and eventually covertly swap books like contraband drugs.
Thus began my initiation into what I call “THE UNDERGROUND ROMANCE CARTEL.” All over my high school campus, there were girls like me. Once we found each other, we’d begin recommending and swapping books (discreetly, of course). Through the “Cartel” I discovered Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, and so many other wonderful authors. I also discovered that I was not alone in my love for a “happily ever after.”
I’ve since abandoned my shame for loving romance novels, especially since I now write my own.
But I will never forget my first years as a romance addict.
So, how did you come upon your first romance novel? How did you get your “fix?” Did you have an underground cartel too?
Three randomly drawn commenters will receive an ARC of my upcoming debut novel, BITE ME, YOUR GRACE.