Debra remembers the first romance series she ever read.
Back in 1988 a friend loaned me one of her Harlequin Superromance books. (I have to confess...I never gave it back.) The book was called Mariah (by Sandra Canfield) and it was labeled as Calloway Corners: Book One. I immediately fell in love with the book, and it remains probably my favorite 'line' romance of all time. I still page through it from time to time, and it's extremely tattered and torn. For whatever reason, the storyline spoke to me. I've read it so many times (sometimes in its entirety, sometimes just passages here and there) that I have many of its lines memorized.
Not only did I love the principal storyline and the hero and heroine, but I loved that secondary characters were introduced who would eventually star in their own books. As the series proceeds, we get glimpses of prior characters as they are woven through the new stories. The series features four books, each by a different author. Each book is named for a Calloway sister: Mariah, Jo, Tess, and Eden. All of the sisters and their future love interests (Even if they don't know it at the time.) are introduced and have bit parts in the first book, so we get to know a little about them before we delve into their individual stories. And although I've read the other books in the series, Mariah remains by far my favorite and the only one I've read multiple times. There's just something about it: the phrasing, the voice, the storyline, and for me it has exactly the right amount of sensuality for my taste. (Although it's been a while since I've read the others. It might be time to revisit them...)
It was the interaction between the books that inspired me to write my own series. (I'd decided long before then that I wanted to write a romance 'someday'.) I loved how the books were stand alone, yet connected. I loved that after Mariah's story ended, I still got to hear more about her and how her HEA was going. I modeled my Corral series after this format. Each book can stand alone, yet the characters' lives are woven together, and we get those peeks into what happened after I wrote 'the end' at the conclusion of each story.
For that, Mariah and the rest of the sisters at Calloway Corners will always hold a special place in my heart.
Until next time,
P.S. As I was scoping Amazon for a cover to post, I found four more books labeled "Return to Calloway Corners". It seems like each original author penned a new book (Well, back in the 90s) using the same setting but now named for a male lead. Interesting. Other than mentioning the original sisters in the 'teaser', there doesn't seem to be a connection, other than the setting, to the original stories. But I guess I'd need to read them to know for sure.