Ana muses about a book series that influenced her life:
The Oz books were my favorites when I was seven through twelve years old. I have 40 jumbo hardcover books on a special shelf downstairs. Uncles and aunts always knew what to get me for Christmas--and they must have kept count, for I never got a duplicate.
I was an escapist kid. I loved the Oz series for its magical world the characters, including flying monkeys and Munchkins. The original author, L. Frank Baum, wrote the first fourteen books. The publisher then found other authors to pen subsequent stories. In truth, I never noticed the change in storyteller.
The Oz books led to my love of science fiction, especially Asimov and Heinlein, who didn't shy from sex and romance in his books. He led me to fantasy, which often was strongly sensual. From there I found Bertrice Small, a pioneer of modern steamy historical romance. (Sadly, she passed away a few weeks ago.) Her books were lengthy, and she had a formula that cast a spell upon my imagination.
After a ten year stretch, where I read every used romance novel I could lay my hands on, I read one that irritated me. The ending was rushed, un-set-up, and unsatisfying. I think the big-name author had a deadline to meet, and so did the publisher. I vowed that I could write a romance and set out to do that.
The product of that was my WIP, which was a good first attempt, but not at all ready for prime time. I've kept at it, and know one thing for certain. Writing is the next best thing to reading a super good book.
On second thought, it's better.