Become A romance writer? Really?
Have you ever noticed that romance author bios have a common theme—a variation of "I've been writing since I could hold a pen…"? It makes me feel like I belong on Sesame Street in a "One of These Things is Not Like The Others" segment.
Because my journey began not with a pen but with a book.
The first book I ever read that I couldn't put down was Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret?, the 1970s classic by Judy Blume. Like an addict who craves his drug of choice, I couldn't get enough of the thrill of hiding under my bed covers, flashlight in hand, reading a book well after I should have gone to sleep.
In the summer between eighth and ninth grades, my addiction moved on to romance novels, thanks to my grandmother, who left them lying on her coffee table. For better or worse, I was hooked. I would trade books with my friends, borrow from the library, and haunt secondhand bookstores. I wasn't picky. Even after I married, I'd find myself, on too many mornings to count, rushing around to get ready for work because I'd gotten sucked into a romance story over a bowl of cereal and lost track of time.
I'd even floated the idea of one day writing my own romance novel. If these authors could do it, surely, I could, too. English was my best subject and I wrote business reports for a living, after all.
On a whim, back in the early '90s, I took a wonderful night class from a multi-published Harlequin author. Armed with my new knowledge about the building blocks of romantic fiction, I tried crafting a romance set in the Old West, despite knowing nothing about horses. In fact, I had an aversion to the enormous creatures ever since one clamped its teeth on my shoulder at an Octoberfest when I was ten.
The realization of how much time I'd need to invest in becoming a decent writer—that the words didn't just pop out, much to my dismay—caused my fledgling dream to crash land. Hard. And then my wonderful husband and I had two children—both enormous blessings, but they took every ounce of energy. I threw myself into being the best mom I could.
Finally, in 2020, I decided to test the wings again and had no excuses. The kids were grown and self-sufficient (sort of). The world had come to a screeching halt, isolating us in our homes. What else was I going to do with all my free time? So, I took a few online classes, joined a writers' group, scoured author websites, and read countless books and articles.
Two and a half years later, I'm a better writer (I hope) with a renewed passion for the craft. I have the rough draft of my first manuscript well on its way to completion (yes, it’s taken me a while) and new friendships founded on the love of writing. The flight has just begun.