New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Romance Author
Celebrate Romance with Read-a-Romance Month!
August 11, 2014
When I was fourteen, I was dragged by my mother to an all-female family reunion in Bangor, Maine. I was furious, of course, as most teenagers would be, that she had the nerve to take me away from the epic happenings with my friends and decided I would let my displeasure be known at every turn. Eye rolls abounded – and since most of these distant relations were total strangers to me, I needed a place to hide. STAT. There was nowhere to go in Bangor, however, that didn’t involve socializing or being ensconced by nature and I’m not nature girl.
My grandmother had come to Maine with an arsenal of books. At random, I picked up HIDDEN FIRES by Sandra Brown and closeted myself in an unfamiliar room with an uncomfortable twin bed and started reading. And I read and I read…and my chest started to ache and my eyes started to tear. Why couldn’t I put this book down or even think about anything else?
As soon as I finished, I begged my mom to take me into downtown Bangor so I could buy more romance books. Since my first experience was with historical, I stuck with it and picked up more Sandra, some Kat Martin and Lisa Kleypas. Suddenly this family reunion wasn’t so bad! First of all, I felt like I had this amazing secret that no one in the room was privy to. As we sat around the dining room, passing around childhood snapshots and drinking tea, I felt like I had this major event waiting to unfold back in my room in the form of books.
Secondly, everything looked new to me. On the third day of the reunion, we went to Acadia National Park, which I had been dreading because nature. But when we started walking through the trees and looking out over beautiful valleys, I remember thinking, this would be such a great place to fall in love! The hero and heroine would totally kiss passionately right here. Right. Here.
Romance changed my life that week. It was as if I found something that existed in the world that could give you unqualified happiness and ask nothing in return. Over the years, authors like Julie Garwood have unwittingly encouraged me to hold on to my heart until the right man came along. Others have empowered me to explore my sexuality in a safe manner. All of them have offered something different by writing romance and I’m grateful every single day.
Here are some questions I answered for Read-a-Romance Month!
1 - Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
I will always maintain that driving across the country at age eighteen to live alone in New York City when I was definitely not ready was probably the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done, but it’s too long of a story. More recently, when I was 26-years old, my husband I decided we wanted to have a baby. I was excited about this new, HUGE step, but I also wanted one last crazy weekend before it ever happened. So my best friend and I flew to Tennessee for Bonnarroo Music Festival in 2010. It was inspiring and eye-opening, which I really didn’t expect. I’ve never witnessed such acceptance from so many different types of people. Hipsters, hippies, preppies, old, young…everyone was in this same moment of hot weather, alcohol and euphoria from listening to their favorite bands. I had the misfortune of pitching my tent beside the all night disco tent and I wasn’t even mad about it. By the end of day four, I was filthy, exhausted and exhilarated. I’d made new friends and looked up at this huge, amazing sky, so different from New York. There was this one moment at an Avett Brothers concert where it started to pour rain and they kept playing right through it. Everyone in my section was dancing in the rain and it just felt really special. My best friend and I bonded and by the time I got home, I was like, okay let’s do this baby thing.
2 - Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
I think at some point, everyone wants to write a book. We all have moments or fantasies crawling around upstairs that we would love to translate onto paper and see if someone else finds it as magical as we do, right? But I didn’t know I could actually be a writer until I finished my first manuscript. As in, when I wrote THE END. I’ve never been a disciplined person and the whole time I wrote that first manuscript (which will never be published) I thought, “Any minute now, you’ll be distracted by something else and enter a new, shinier phase.” But I didn’t and I finished it. I knew then that if something (anything) could hold my attention long enough to see it through and still be excited about it, I could do it. I could be a writer.
3 - Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
There are so many. I think every single book I read lights a spark in a different part of my brain that will burn brighter than the other sparks at some point and demand attention. But the first one that popped into my head is the final book of the Nora Roberts Circle trilogy, called Valley of Silence. I adore her trilogies. By the end of them, I feel like I know those characters better than I know myself. In this one, I just FELT every single word and I didn’t know how she was going to make everything all right. The sacrifice made by the hero…I still think about it. The ending was beautiful and I just remember sobbing happily and hoping I could write something like that someday. I haven’t yet, but here’s hoping ;)
A writer I recommend...
Tara Sivec’s Chocolate Lovers Series
This series got me through a tough time – it’s funny as hell and heartfelt. Love it.