Why do I write romance? I’ve been asked that more than once. The honest answer is: I have no idea! That’s just what comes out of my head. I’m not deprived of love in my personal life, which I’ve heard suggested as a reason. I will admit that nearly twenty-five-year-old love is very different than the first flush of new love. All those chemicals popping in the brain make for a heady cocktail that is hard to beat.
I do know when I started writing romance: in high school. My best friend and I read romance novels obsessively, which didn’t seem to hurt her grades but didn’t help mine. In fact, being the pack rat that I am, I still have a bit of what would become To Tame a Rogue Heart that’s written on the same paper with some algebra homework. I still don’t understand algebra.
We read the queens of the genre: Rosemary Rogers, Valerie Sherwood, Kathleen Woodiwiss, as well as the not so great ones, whose names I don’t remember. It was the not so greats that inspired me to write. I have heard other writers say that at some point in reading, they said to themselves, “I could do better than this.” I know I did.
Which began years of scribbling on notebook paper, which, yes, I still have. Then I got a job, got married, went to college, got divorced, met the man who is now my husband, and the writing sort of got pushed out of my mind. It wasn’t dead; sometimes I would still have an idea and think, “I should write that down.” It didn’t happen. I occasionally wrote really bad poetry, but that was it.
My reading tastes changed during this time. Romance novels didn’t interest me, but Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Clive Barker did. I read anything historical, especially American Civil War and medieval England.
Then one day, a switch flipped in my head. That’s the only way I can describe it. One minute, I wasn’t a writer, the next, I was sitting at my computer, channeling the story in my head out my fingertips. I haven’t stopped since, and hopefully I won’t. I still have lots of stories in my head, just screaming to get out.