Thursday, February 3, 2011

Under the Influence

I have to say off the top of my head I can't think of a particular writer who influenced me to become a romance author. Sure, I've always dreamed of having shelves full of my titles like Sandra Brown, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Nora Roberts have of theirs, but initially it wasn't one writer who influenced me.

Rather, it was a line of books. While my friends in high school were busy keeping up with Sweet Valley High, I was devouring four new Harlequin American novels each month. A little thrill of excitement always danced through me when the box would arrive on my doorstep each month. Those silver-toned books were so beautiful to me. They didn't, of course, last the entire month. I usually raced through them within a week of their arrival, eager to read about seemingly ill-suited heroes and heroines who would overcome impossible odds to be together.

Truth be told, for a high schooler, they were quite racy. In fact, it's probably a good thing my mom didn't discover romance reading until I was an adult. She would have more than likely freaked out to know exactly what her teenaged daughter was reading.

But early on they started a spark inside of me and the urge to someday write 'one of those' books. I even attempted some writing in high school. Sad, sad attempts, but a learning process to be sure.

That spark and that urge are still there. I still want to tell stories about sexy heroes and spunky heroines who overcome emotional obstacles to be together and find a true love that lasts a lifetime. I've been fortunate over the past few years to have some of those stories published. Hopefully, there will be more in the future. Who knows, maybe a shelf full of them. And maybe someday I can influence others to become writers. Wouldn't that be fun?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


THIS CAN'T BE LOVE: Love Romance Cafe's Best of 2010 Contemporary Winner


  1. Yes,it would be great if you do influence someone to follow in your footsteps.
    I used to love the Harlequin too but then in England they were called Mills and Boon, still are but with the Harlequin logo added. I loved those books as did you, but I confess to being a bit older when I got into romance. I was a bit of a serious kid. I wish I had found them earlier but I thought romance was not for me, real and on the page!

  2. You're off to a great start, Debra. I wonder if young readers relate to different subjects or themes than older readers? Any thoughts?

  3. Since high school I've always been a romance reader, although I can't say what initially prompted me to pick one up.

    I cut my teeth, so to speak, on Nancy Drew when I was younger.

    That's an interesting question, Ana. Romance seems to abound these days, even in YA material. "Twilight" is all about romance and even the Percy Jackson series has a little element of romance among the action. Harry Potter winds up with a girl as well! And, I guess even Nancy had some romance in her life with Ned Nickerson! But perhaps those are simply the stories I gravitate towards because they DO have a touch of romance in them.

  4. Must confess I stopped reading Mills and Boon in the mid-70's when they merged with Harlequin and the format changed. Previously, M&B had been in hardback, mainly for libraries, and were aimed at the middle-aged, even older generation as 'Pleasant Books' (chaste kisses only!). Suddenly that all changed, with graphic sex scenes which amounted virtually to rape until, of course, the heroine surrendered to the arrogant, domineering male. Since returning to writing, I've bought quite a few M&B/HQN and it seems that their target these days is very definitely the younger generation, concentrating more on sexual anticipation and fulfilment, rather than on 'romance' per se.

  5. Hi Debra,

    From what I've seen and experienced via blogs the thing aspiring writers look for most from favourite authors, is that a fav author blog is regularly updated and, that said author takes the trouble to reply to comments. Blogging is an important part of an author's marketing tool-kit. People who love your writing will search out your writer domains, and for fans the personal touch can mean so much more than a mere silent web presence!

    Hee hee, if all your novels have heroes like Zach the fans must be stacking up by now! ;)


    Hi Paula,

    Hmmm, I've just purchased a HM&B Tudor historical by one of their bestselling authors. In all honesty it reads like a rough first draft, and there's absolutely no sense of Tudor time and place. It sounds more like a Regency adapted to Tudor setting. Dreadful waste of money! Most annoyed.

  6. I started reading romance in high school too. Probably should not have, with those raging hormones and my first serious boyfriend at 16, who eventually became my husband. :) Still, I've loved romance ever since.

    Only one novel out so far, but like you, I hope to write many more in the future. Good luck!

  7. Francine, I've always thought that M&B/HQN 'historical' books (most of them anyway) are more like 'modern novels in fancy dress'.

  8. Francine, Ah...Zach is yummy, isn't he?! And, seriously, how disappointing is it to pick up a book that's poorly written?

    Paula, I have to say, as a reader and a writer I go for the spicier side of romance. I guess I feel cheated with a fade to black or behind closed door scenes. That said, erotica is too detialed for my taste. So, I guess I fall right in the middle. But there has to be something more to the story than just sex. The relationship and the romance have to be there, too.

    Hi Mysti, I love that your high school boyfriend became your husband! Keep at that writing...let's see a shelf full from you some day, too!

  9. Agree completely, Debra. Fade-out is unsatisfying (pardon the pun) but, like you, I'm not comfortable with detailed erotica which can become graphic to the point of clinical! Sex as part of a loving relationship is what I aim for, too.