Your First Romance
As I didn't believe in love, romance was the very last genre I read in the village library. Being a speed-reader, I had run through all the others (including the book on how to rewire light sockets) so I hadn't much choice. It was either read romance or read nothing.
I picked up a Barbara Cartland. It had a horse on the cover (at 12 years old, I was a horse freak) and a sheik (very exotic for this sheltered gal). I gobbled it up. I didn't understand why the heroine talked… like… this… I didn't know why she kept fainting. I DID know I loved it.
I read another and another and another. I read all of Barbara Cartland's 300 plus backlist (including the book on honey). I then moved onto other authors.
But Barbara Cartland's novel was my first (I can't remember which one). It changed my life and I'll always have a soft spot for them. I recently wrote a manuscript with a blonde, violet-eyed heroine as a nod to Barbara Cartland.
We always remember our first.
"My first romance novel was a Karen Robards historical called "Loving Julia" that I swiped from my mother's dresser when she wasn't looking. I can't remember how old I was, but it was way too young to be reading romance novels yet. This was a pygmalion style story with the hero thinking he would pull a fast one over on society by passing off his dead brother's pickpocket bride as a member of the ton. I liked that it was forbidden and racy (though maybe not by today's standards), and that first book got me reading something other than the horror and science fiction I was used to, inspiring me to try and put the two together in my own writing."
The Immortal Series...Immortals to Die For
The Trouble With Destiny…Available now
"The very first romance novel I ever read was Nevada Nights by Ruth Ryan Langan. It's a western romance from the mid-1980s that features all those fabulous stereotypical 1980s romantic tropes. Convent raised heroine, mysterious gunslinger hero, long lost family, and a very soap-opera-like plot. I read it when I was around 14, and it was the first "grown-up" book I read in one day.
Despite being enthralled by Nevada Nights, university sort of sucked all the fun out of reading for me. Also when I walked out with 2 dipolmas, I carried with me a new healthy disdain for the romance genre. However, I quickly realized that if I was going to be a good public librarian, I had to change me tune. So I scoured reviews online, and started reading some of the better reviewed ones. The first book I picked to read in my romance experiment was Watermelon by Marian Keyes. I was 23 years old.
Certainly that book is more chick lit than romance, but it really was a light bulb moment for me. It was funny, smart, and had a nice happy ending. It was nothing like some of those older romances I read as a teenager! So I kept reading, and soon discovered that romance had come a long way baby. Not all the heroes were Alpha jerks. Heroines weren't getting "forceably seduced" in every book. And not every heroine was a damsel in distress in constant need of rescuing. Wow! I was hooked, and haven't looked back since.
I'm not sure how all this influenced me, but I do know it's made me better at my job. While I used to disdain romance, I don't anymore. For that matter, I don't turn my nose up at any genre. I encourage people to "read what you like." Don't listen to what others say. Reading should be fun. It should be a pleasurable experience. It should never be a slog."
Fighting For Truth, Justice And The Right To Read What You Want
"The first romance I ever read was ANGEL IN SCARLET by Jennifer Wilde. I loved the cover - it had a woman in this red flowing dress and was all dramatic swirls of fabric. The story was interesting, but more of a woman's journey story - the heroine was a seamstress who married first for money and next for love and finally realized that her best buddy all along was the guy for her. It wasn't a huge surprise to discover afterward that Jennifer Wilde was a pseudonym for one Tom Huff - some men think that being best buds is the ideal romantic relationship. At any rate, it was lushly written and full of adventure as well as period details. I really enjoyed it - although I'm a bit afraid to hunt down a copy to read it again - it was the beginning of an addiction with historical romances, which is probably why I first wrote historical romances.
I do think that historicals give a writer a taste for setting and sensory details. People tell me that they feel they're right on the spot when they read my books, and I'll credit that to those big fat historicals that I gobbled up so quickly."
Kiss Of Fate
"First romance I really remember are the Elizabeth Lowell Desire's about the
ranch - Fire and Ice, Granite Man and two others I can't remember and I
think about those books every time I start writing about a group of men who
are friends. She did such an amazing job of making me so excited about the
next book in the series, she set up her heros like no one else. The tension
and drama in the male friendships are incredible. And then she goes and
writes sexual tension between the hero and heroine like no one else. Those
are amazing books."
The Story Between Them
"The first true romance I remember reading was The Wolf and the Dove by
Kathleen Woodiwiss. The story was more emotional and sensual than anything I'd
read before, the characters bigger than life and riveting. In my opinion it
was a perfect balance, a yardstick to shoot for as an author."
What was your first romance novel?
Kimber Chin credits romance novels for her belief in love. This belief allowed her to find the man of her dreams (aka the Hubby). 15 years later, she's still in love. Every month, Kimber Chin gives away her favorite Romance eBook on http://businessromance.com/