Can an author escape having a blog? Probably not. Especially not in the romance world where the distance between author and reader seems to be shrinking thanks to Twitter and Facebook. So here we go. Time for my own blog!
I started writing romance because, like so many other authors, I was a reader first. I remember the first time I got my hands on a romance novel. I was a pre-teen at one of those remaindered bookstores that was dedicated to selling of the entire inventory of every bankrupt Crown Books in Los Angeles. Books are in my family's blood, so when my mother let my sister and me loose it was only natural that we should start poking around the stacks. Then 12-year-old Julia wandered into the romance section and fell in love.
The book that did it was a Zebra Regency Romance called Taming Lord Renwick. I can't explain why the absurd cover featuring a Jane Austen stand in gazing into the eyes of a mulleted man in britches did it for me. Oh wait, there's a giant White Bengal Tiger lying next to them. When you're 12 anything with tigers on it is an instant win. Then and there I decided I had to get my hands on what I would eventually come to call "romance crack."
And crack it was. Yes, there is a White Bengal Tiger. Yes, there is a mullet. But get this... Lord Renwick is BLIND so his tiger is really a giant, scary seeing eye dog. Romance crack!
From there it was a slippery slope. I've always read fast, but I found that I could rip through a romance in a few hours. From Zebra Regency I made a big jump in steaminess to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I discovered I have a deep love of Westerns thanks to The Trouble with Josh from Harlequin. When I picked up Nora Robert's Midnight Bayou I was officially an addict.
During all those years of reading I started scribbling. I'll tell the story of my first unfinished manuscript another day (it's only somewhat horribly embarrassing). It took until I was in graduate school for me to decide to give writing a romance novel a serious shot. I looked up from my very serious master's project and thought, "I've got to do some fun writing or I'll lose my mind." The scribblings that I made that first night would three years later wind up in my first book.
That first book is a historical, and it's the one that landed me my wonderful agent Emily Sylvan Kim. Agent Emily encouraged me to try my hand at contemporary romance too, so I've now got a book I'm rewriting for submission. If you had asked me a year ago whether I thought I would have two books and an agent under my belt I would have laughed so hard I would have teared up. That will teach this skeptical author.
Like any unpublished author I'm waiting for The Call. One day I hope to join the ranks of women and men who write the wonderful romance novels that keep me reading late into the night when I should have turned the light off. For now, however, I am eternally grateful for the romance community on Twitter who has been nothing but supportive while I'm waiting.
So, here's to new beginnings and white tigers and cracktastic fiction!