Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It's All Her Fault
Prior to 2001 I'd never read a romance novel. My reading tastes ran more toward Stephen King, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Krantz, Belva Plain and Agatha Christie. I should add, however, that I stopped reading Stephen King after The Shining kept me awake all night.
Then in 2001, a fanfiction message board I was on was plagued with several cases of plagiarism. Someone posted an engaging story that captured everyone's attention and praise. She commented that she'd paid her way through college writing for Harlequin and we were all in awe.
Then someone recognized her story as a Harlequin romance novel with the character names and locations changed. Because my town has a good used book store that's heavy on romance, I volunteered to try and find the book in question so we could be sure before we publicly accused this person of plagiarism.
It was plagiarism all right. She copied the book nearly word for word, changing Emily and Beau to Lois and Clark. Our little writing world was shocked and the author was quite gracious when she saw that we were policing the matter by removing the plagiarized material, banning the person from the message boards and posting strong warnings about passing off someone else's work as your own.
But something else happened. I didn't stop reading "The Five Minute Bride" after the first page and I'd confirmed the crime. I kept on til I'd turned the last page. I loved the story and the happy ending. Where had these books been all my life?
I went back to the UBS and hunted down all of her backlist and read those. Because she'd done a series with two other authors, I found those books and read them too. Then I found those authors' backlists and things just sorta got out of hand.
I was hooked, and I've never looked back. So if anyone's to blame for my romance novel obsession, it's Leanne Banks for writing such wonderful books. That's her in the photo. This was taken at the Readers for Life literacy signing last week in Washington, DC. I added her latest Silhouette Desire to my collection and in the process of touching base with an old friend, I got to meet one of my writing idols.
Janet Evanovich is the author of the popular Stephanie Plum series of books and one night in the hotel lobby, Leanne introduced me to Janet. It was my big fan-girl moment of the conference. I shook her hand and gushed, "I'm a Morelli cupcake." Those of you who read the books will understand. Those who don't should read the books. *g* After I'd taken sides in the "Morelli or Ranger" debate, she reached into her purse and presented me with a small pin that has the words I Y Morelli on it.
Squee! Now I'm an official Morelli cupcake.
So who or what turned YOU onto romance? Do you remember the first romance novel you read? Morelli or Ranger?