I flat-out love talking books, but my favorite people in the whole world to chat with are romance readers. To a certain extent I think all avid readers are a passionate lot, with a wide variety of experiences and opinions – but romance readers hold the market share. Those who aren’t savvy about the genre like to paint all of us with the same broad brush, but the truth is we’re all very different people, with very different tastes. However, there are two things that romance readers share in common, across the board. One, we all love our happy endings and two, we can all pinpoint how we got hooked on the genre.
I was turned on to romance as a high school freshman – so around 13. Because I was in band, I had many friends older (and eventually, younger) than I was. One such older friend gave me a copy of Nevada Nights by Ruth Ryan Langan to read when I found myself getting shuffled off on a family road trip. This particular historical western romance is full of 1980s goodness (or badness, depending on your point of view) that all long-time romance readers will be able to spot a mile off. Gently raised convent heroine? Check. Mysterious hero posing as a gunslinger? Check. Long-lost family members who aren’t all that pleased the heroine has returned? Check. This book also has the distinction of being the first “grown-up” book I read in one sitting. I reread it several years later, only to discover it didn’t hold up very well (uh, at all) – but I could easily see why I was so enamored with it as a teenager. It was exciting, there were naughty bits, and it had a soap opera plot that would make telenovela junkies swoon.
After this brief flirtation, which also included A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux (I liked the ending), I happily went back to my poison of choice – gothics and mystery/suspense. Then it was off to college where the inevitable happened.
“Romance? Ick! Only frustrated housewives and dippy teenage girls read that trash!”
I know, I know. It’s a period in my life I’m not proud of.
Fast forward a few years, I’m out of library school, and have been put in charge of purchasing adult fiction for 7 libraries. The problem being that I was in way over my head. My college years were spent taking classes geared towards academic librarianship, which meant my popular fiction knowledge needed some serious updating. It was through an e-mail loop that I heard about The Romance Reader (http://www.theromancereader.com). I checked out some of their reviews, and was really blown away by how funny and articulate they were. Not to mention that they made some of these romance novels sound really darn good! So I started picking up some of their highly-rated books, and it didn’t take long for me to get well and truly addicted. Twelve years later, and I’m still hopelessly hooked.
What about you? Who turned you on to the romance genre? How did you get hooked?Remember, 5 randomly chosen commenters will win a FREE book every week – good luck!